Article contributed by Kacey Bradley, The Drifter Collective
The cooler days of fall invite travelers to engage in one of humankind’s favorite activities — eating! Hoteliers and restaurateurs alike know this and will capitalize on the shortening days by hosting a flurry of food festivals. Tourists come from near and far to taste local fare, sip amazing wine and spirits and soak up great entertainment.
The following ten food festivals are sure to tantalize your tastebuds with fabulous new flavors. Whether you check out one or plan a vacation to visit several, be sure to add an extra notch to your belt before departure. You might need to make more room!
1. Wellfleet OysterFest
You can feel good about your carbon footprint when you attend this Cape Cod festival. The founders eliminated single-use plastic from the venue this year. Bring your reusable water bottle, or indulge in an adult beverage or two while you gorge on seafood fare.
You can’t beat autumn in New England for scenic beauty, and the historic town screams picturesque. You’ll find tons of boutique hotels in the area to draw inspiration from when returning home, but book well in advance — the colors of fall draw photographers who take up rooms quickly.
2. Fall for Greenville
The leaves may turn a little later in South Carolina, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying incredible eats and entertainment at Fall for Greenville. The event features music, beer and wine gardens and a U.S. Foods competition to see which chefs bring home the gold.
Got little ones? The festival’s Shipt kids’ area features rides and games. This area remains open during all the festivities.
3. Pickle Day
It may seem odd to devote an entire day to pickles, but Pickle Day truly celebrates New York City’s rich immigrant history. Pushcarts line Orchard in the Lower East Side — reminiscent of the peddlers of yesteryear.
While cucumbers soaked in vinegar and spices play the starring role, a host of other dishes sure to delight foodies are available throughout the area.
4. Greater Baton Rouge State Fair
Got a hankering for some to-die-for gumbo? Head on down to the bayou for the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair. You can sample a selection of jams, jellies and pies submitted for this year’s contest. The fairgrounds inhabit 100 full acres, creating an entire miniature city dedicated to the event.
Eat your way through a po’ boy while you catch the livestock exhibition. Learn how artisans master the tips of their trade. Tons of fun is available for the whole family.
5. Sonoma County Harvest Fair
If there’s one thing Sonoma County is known for, it’s wine paired with great food.
The Sonoma County Harvest Fair is sure to please. The event features a professional food competition starring hot local restaurateurs. Always wanted to stomp grapes a la “I Love Lucy”? Then enter the grape-stomping competition. If homebrewing is more your thing, you can submit your own creation.
6. Sedona Wine Fest
Nestled in the high deserts of northern Arizona, the tiny town of Sedona knows how to celebrate food and wine. The region is famous locally for hotspots like Page Springs Cellars — another excellent place to spend a food-filled afternoon.
Come for the fest, but stay for the scenery — gorgeous red rock national forest land surrounds the entire city. Take your reusable water bottle and hike one of the many trails surrounding the city to burn off those calories.
7. New Mexico Wine and Chile Festival
Do you love all things roasted hatch chile? If you do, head to the birthplace of this southwest phenomenon — New Mexico. Leave the kids at home to attend this adults-only festival of all things spicy and boozy.
Santa Fe features a huge artist community, so if you’re looking for a new work to feature on your living room wall, bring your pocketbook. Works will be on display.
8. Fall Wine Festival at Lehigh Valley Zoo
The rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania erupt in a riot of color during the fall, making it the perfect time of year to enjoy the Fall Wine Festival at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. Animal lovers will adore exploring new labels of chardonnay while enjoying the critters inhabiting the area. The event features acoustic music, creating the perfect backdrop to this pastoral locale.
9. Taste Philadelphia Festival of Food, Wine and Spirits
Philly isn’t only famous for cheesesteaks — though if that’s your yen, you can find one at the Taste Philadelphia Festival of Food, Wine and Spirits.
The event features local up-and-coming restaurants as well as celebrity entertainment. The festivities take place at the Valley Forge Casino Resort, so if you enjoy indulging in the wine and spirits, you can safely get a room for the night.
10. Seed Food and Wine Week
Are you a snowbird flying south for the winter before the first flakes fly? Check out Miami’s Seed Food and Wine Week.
The best part? You won’t have to kiss your dreams of a bikini-ready body goodbye — the event features sustainable, plant-based dishes and includes information on health and fitness. Voted one of the top five food festivals in the U.S., this is one worth basking in the sun for.
Eating Your Way Through Fall
As temperatures cool and thoughts turn to cozy comforts, food festivals offer inspiration for new dishes to add to your own repertoire. What are you waiting for? Hit the road, and bring your appetite!
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Follow her on Twitter to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!