One of the best things about the summer is that most people will want to come together and enjoy the beautiful outdoors of the country, and this also means that there are a lot of people who are also passionate about food coming together. The summer is perfect for food and drink, and these food festivals are the perfect way to enjoy a day or two of relaxation and indulgence. Wherever you are in the country you won't be too far away from a great festival, and here are twenty of the best worth looking at.
Food And Wine Classic, June, Aspen
Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Colorado Rockies, this Aspen festival is a wonderful blend of celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations and the sharing of some of the best ingredients and dishes that this part of the country has to offer. The festival also comes with plenty of other things to do as well, with a charity fun run, and plenty of evening events to allow everyone to let off a little steam in the fantastic parties.
Boston Seafood Festival, August
Facing on to the Atlantic Ocean, Boston is a real maritime city, and although it has a history of tea parties, this festival is one that really celebrates the fantastic seafood that is caught all around the area. There is a great range of seafood available, from shellfish through to beautifully cooked fish, and the lobster events are also a real highlight, while there is plenty of entertainment including dancing, live music and great cooking demonstrations.
National Cherry Festival, July, Traverse City, Michigan
A great tradition in this part of Michigan, the celebration of the cherry blossoms and anticipation of the harvest to come has led to this event celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2015. The 'Cherry Queen' is the winner of the local pageant, who opens the event, and as well as the natural cooking events and tastings, there are a range of other events including cherry pit spitting and pie eating competitions, as well as an impressive airshow.
Kentucky Bourbon Festival, September, Bardstown
There have been people distilling bourbon here for over two centuries, and Bardstown's festival has been held since 1992 as a good way of celebrating the heritage and developments in this tasty drink. There are plenty of tastings available along with vendors offering great food, while there are also live music performances and the famous barrel rolling relay between the town's distilleries.
Taste Of Chicago, July
Held in Grant Park in the city, this is the world's largest food festival, and celebrates some of the best in cuisine in the city, including Polish sausage, Chicago pizza and hot dogs, served by over 70 vendors to over three million visitors who come to the festival to enjoy the food along with the great music events during the five days.
Happy Harry's Ribfest, June, North Dakota
Held in the town of Fargo, this festival draws chefs with an expertise in cooking ribs from across the state and beyond. Along with the chance to try ribs cooked in a variety of different ways and with different marinades and sauces, the festival also has live music and a carnival.
Spinach Festival, September, Lenexa, Kansas
This event is held in the town that was hailed as the 'Spinach Capital of the United States' in the 1930s, and this legacy is actually prominent in the festival which has a good range of historical exhibits. There is also a recipe contest to see how creative people can be in including spinach in cuisine, while the annual 'World's Largest Spinach Salad' is over 150 pounds!
Copper River Wild! Salmon Festival, July, Cordova, Alaska
This two day event is designed to promote the fantastic salmon that are caught in this part of the world, and the two day festival has plenty of cooking demonstrations, and with the cooking comes the tasting of this fabulous ingredient too. There are two nights of great live music, arts and crafts events and some great running races on the Saturday morning that will really get your appetite going!
Pittston Tomato Festival, August, Pennsylvania
Taking its cues from 'La Tomatina' in Spain, one of the big parts of this event is the tomato fight where thousands of people pelt each other with tomatoes that are a little past their best. There is also a fun run and a parade during the festival, and naturally there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy tomatoes in all kinds of different dishes.
A Taste Of Colorado, September, Denver
An end of the summer festival that combines food, music and entertainment, this lovely community celebration features over fifty of Denver's favorite restaurants and food producers providing a good selection. There is also a carnival with plenty of rides and live music stages, down to the calmer arts and crafts markets with nearly three hundred stalls.
Los Angeles Food And Wine Festival, August
This four day event is aimed at those who enjoy the finer end of food and wine, and brings together some of the best chefs, sommeliers and wine experts in the city for a culinary experience. There are wine samplings and food tastings, along with a series of celebrity chef demonstrations during the four days, while the after party events are well worth staying out for.
Maine Lobster Festival, July, Rockland
The Atlantic coast of Maine is a great spot for seafood, so it is no surprise to see one of the state's iconic ingredients being celebrated with its own festival. There are plenty of chances to try the local lobster, while there is also a grand parade, and in the Rockland harbor there is a lobster crate race, as people try and dance across the unsteady floating lobster crates to get as far as they can before falling in the water.
Feast Portland, September
The Pacific Northwest is one of the areas of the country where great food and the restaurant scene is truly thriving, and this festival brings together some of the brightest chefs and food producers in and around the city. Starting off with the Sandwich Invitational competition for people to design the best sandwich, there are a series of cooking classes, big events and smaller intimate dinners to enjoy.
Austin Ice Cream Festival, August
Held in the city's Fiesta Gardens, this event celebrates everyone's favorite cold sweet treat, and is a great family event that has plenty of the local producers involved. There are home-made ice cream competitions, popsicle sculpture competitions and the ultimate 'brain freeze' ice cream eating competition.
Central Coast Wine Classic, August, Pismo Beach, California
A five day festival running from Wednesday to Sunday in mid-August, this festival celebrates some of the great wines that are produced in California and offers some great culinary pairings during the event too. There are chef demonstrations and tasting events, while the annual wine auctions raise a lot of money for charity during the event.
Georgia Peach Festival, June, Fort Valley
Peaches have been grown in this part of Georgia for nearly a century, and play an important part in the local economy, with this festival celebrating that role. There is a wonderful pageant and plenty of musical entertainment, while one of the highlights is the annual attempt to make the world's largest peach cobbler.
Hatch Chile Festival, September, New Mexico
The Chile capital of the world is home to this festival that celebrates the hottest crop in the country, with a traditional event that has a great community spirit. The carnival and parade is a great opening to the event, while the chile eating contests and the watermelon eating contests are among the highlights of the schedule, and there are plenty of vendors cooking up the local chile in many different dishes too.
Slugburger Festival, July, Corinth Mississippi
Many people will not be too familiar with the slugburger, which is a type of burger made with beef combined with soy to make a patty, which is a food that was designed to be tasty and inexpensive. This festival celebrates these burgers, and has plenty of opportunities to try different recipes, along with competing in the singing competition for the chance to be 'Slug Idol'.
Lower Hudson Valley Craft Beer Festival, June, Nanuet, New York State
This one-day event celebrates some of the best breweries in New York State, and brings together people who enjoy the varied brews that are produced in the region. There are live music performances throughout the day, along with over fifty breweries offering tastings, and some great barbecue vendors offering tasty snacks and meals to enjoy too.
Watermelon Festival And Rodeo, July, Naples, Texas
First held in 1945, this annual event is held to mark the importance of the watermelon to this part of the country, and is a wonderful community event. There is a large parade that travels through the town, while there are also plenty of watermelon eating contests and events to help this weekend go with a bang.
Gilroy Garlic Festival, July, California
Held during the last weekend in July, this three day event is dedicated to one of the most divisive foods in the world, and all of the different ways in which garlic can be enjoyed. The flame-ups see garlic calamari being speed cooked in huge flaming iron containers, while there are also plenty of live music events over three stages, and displays showing off how best to cook with garlic.