Feeding America’s Middle: June Food Festivals Around the US

Food Lovers, Offbeat, USA — By Alex Resnik on June 4, 2010 at 7:00 am

June is a time for renewal: the sun starts shining every day, barbecues come out to grill, and refreshing summer beers start stocking the shelves. Americans are a people who, like it or not, like to eat… a lot. With those two facts in mind, we scoured our top-secret Interweb database, with food, wine, and beer festivals in mind. We were not disappointed.

Of the hundreds of food festivals to be found throughout the month of June in cities across America, we’ve chosen 20 of the best. Whether it was a unique take on a local food, a strange pairing, or just a downright important culinary event, we’ve listed it here. Behold, a veritable cornucopia of feasts, fests, and food!

Philippine Food Festival San Francisco CA, throughout June

Among the countless varieties of Asian cuisine on offer at San Francisco Bay Area restaurants, Filipino food sometimes loses the spotlight. It’s not that the archipelago of vastly different cultures and cuisines doesn’t have a whole lot to lay on the taste buds, as evidenced by the dishes on offer from the 15 restaurants participating in the Philippine Food Festival hosted by the Philippine Consulate in SF. Balut pâté crostini and lechon paella – an entire roast pig stuffed with paella – are just a couple of the offerings that should get people excited about Philippine phood.

Image: SF Weekly

Napa Valley Wine Auction Napa Valley CA, June 3-6

A celebration of not only Napa Valley’s wines, but its personalities, food, and the Valley itself, the Napa Valley Wine Auction is more than just an auction. There will be an outdoor marketplace with more than 100 vintners pouring their finest releases, and dozens of Napa Valley restaurateurs and artisan food purveyors plying their specialties. After the official auction on June 5, there will be a dinner party and dancing under the stars, again hosted by renowned Napa vintners. Proceeds go to charity, with more than $90 million donated over the last 30 years.

Hog Happenin’ Lincolnton NC, June 4-5

The first food festival of its kind to “combine the animal with the mechanical,” the Hog Happenin’ mixes two things beloved to any God-fearing American: bikes and barbecue. Whether you show up on your hog or ready to put one in your belly, Lincolnton North Carolina is the place to pig out. The Hog Happenin’ is a big deal, drawing greasers and eaters from all over the Southeast. Not to be confused with the nearby Hog Days Festival in downtown Hillsborough North Carolina.

Image: hoghappenin.org

Chili and Brew Fest Snowmass CO, June 4-5

The International Chili Society holds its two annual chili competitions and tastings in Snowmass, while microbrewers face off in a prestigious summer ale competition with two brew sampling sessions for festival-goers, featuring 50 plus breweries. A new addition this year is the European and exotic beers tent, boosting the event to one of the nation’s largest beer events. Sample some super spicy selections; swill some soothing summer suds.

Rhubarb Fest Aledo IL, June 4-5

19 years old and growing strong, this unique festival will feature more than 2,000 homemade rhubarb pies for sale, rhubarb sampling, and even rhubarb wine. 12,000 free rhubarb seeds will be given away, and there will be crafts, music, entertainment and more all set in Aledo, Illinois’ historic downtown.

Image: Quad-City Times

Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival Little Chute WI, June 4-6

Cheese carving demonstrations, cheese tastings, a cheese breakfast, cheese competitions and awards, and a cheese curd eating contest make the 22nd annual Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival the premier destination to honor Wisconsin’s cheesy traditions. The family-oriented event will also host music, amusement rides, kids’ entertainment, a walk/run parade, and a petting zoo – that should make up for all the cheese curd.

Gourmet Latino Festival New York NY, June 4-12

Billed as “The first world-class, socially conscious celebration of Latin gastronomy and culture,” the Gourmet Latino Festival will host the best Latin chefs, renowned mixologists, and tastemasters, who will come together to share the diverse foods, cocktails, wines and coffees of Latin America. Over the week, events will give visitors the opportunity to taste authentic foods, while seminars will work to educate on the region’s vast epicurean specialties.

Image: newyork.joonbug.com

Taste of the Nation Various Locations, throughout June

Since 1988, Taste of the Nation has brought together the most creative culinary minds across the country. Each spring and summer, pioneers of modern American cuisine, national celebrity chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion at nearly 40 events across the United States and Canada with one goal in mind: to raise critical funds needed to help end childhood hunger. 100% of supports Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger. Taste of the nation is going on at various locations around the country in June.

Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Various Locations, throughout June

Brew it. Taste it. Sip it. Pork it. This is the motto of the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival, an annual event that takes place in various locations around the country. In June, catch the festival at the Richmond Raceway Complex in Virginia on June 5th, and at Maryland’s National Harbor on the 18th and 19th. From bourbon tastin’ to beer chuggin’ to pork pickin’, it’s an event of the season for down-home aficionados. Don’t miss the VIP bacon session!

Image: insiderspassport.com

Horseradish Fest Collinsville IL, June 5-6

Since 1988, the International Horseradish Festival has celebrated the multi-faceted and vastly under utilized horseradish root. Live music, food booths, a root toss, root golf, a root sacking contest, a craft fair, a Bloody Mary contest, the Little Miss Horseradish Pageant, a horseradish recipe contest, a children’s area, and the annual Horseradish Root Derby fill out the calendar of events at this quirky tribute to the spicy tuber.

New Orleans Oyster Festival New Orleans NO, June 5-6

An oyster eating contest, oyster shucking contest, and largest oyster contest make the New Orleans Oyster Festival in the historic French Quarter one of the biggest in the country. The aim is to “educate the country about the benefits of the Louisiana Gulf Oyster, and honor and celebrate the restaurateurs and oyster farmers who have solidified the New Orleans French Quarter’s position as the Oyster Capital of America.” In light of the oil rig disaster in the Gulf, this year all proceeds will go to Save Our Coast.

Image: visitsouth.com

Pink Tomato Fest Bradley AR, June 5-12

For over fifty years the Bradley Tomato festival has celebrated the region’s cash crop of tomatoes that were originally bred to travel well – when the top of the fruit just barely turns pink, it’s ready to be shipped all across the country. It’s one of the oldest running festivals in Arkansas. This year the main draw would have to be the preparation of a 160-foot BLT sandwich, set to break the current world record.

Virginia Pork Festival Emporia/Greensville county VA, June 9

Pulled pork, pork stew, headcheese, pig’s feet, chitterlings, barbecued Boston butt, country gravy: the Virginia Pork Festival celebrates them all – and so many more – every year, for 35 years now. Over 43,000 pounds of fresh pork are prepared by festival organizers every year, so whether it’s pork, ham, or bacon you crave, you’ll find it here.

Image: meona.net

Cereal City Festival Battle Creek MI, June 12

Join Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and Snap, Crackle, and Pop around the “World’s Longest Breakfast Table” at this festival celebrating Battle Creek’s status as home to the original Kellog’s factory, and therefore the birthplace of modern-day breakfast cereal. Community breakfasts, live music, cooking demonstrations, and the Cereal Fest Parade make this a great way to experience a classic middle American city.

National Homebrewers Conference Minneapolis MN, June 17-19

For more than 30 years, homebrewers from around the country have been gathering for the National Homebrewers Conference, the world’s largest homebrewers conference. “The Land of 10,000 Homebrews” pays homage to the humble home beer brewer this June, with tastings, judging, and seminars ranging from “Aged to Perfection: The Maturation of Beer” to “Ramblings on Belgian Sour Beers.”

Image: betterbeerblog.com

Strawberry Days Glenwood Springs CO, June 18-20

The first strawberry picnic was a small neighborly gathering, a chance to get reacquainted with old friends and make new ones, an opportunity to share the bounty of the strawberry harvest and celebrate the warm days ahead. 113 years later, the Strawberry Days Festival is still going strong as the longest running festival west of the Mississippi. Today the festival is still very much about strawberries, but adds an arts and crafts fair along with kids activities to the mix.

NYC Food/Film Festival New York NY, June 23-24

“Watch what you eat” isn’t such a nagging piece of advice if you take it literally. The Food/Film Festival takes a little explanation: “You watch a film, and then while you’re watching the film you’re able to actually eat the food that’s being screened in that film,” summarizes the festival’s organizer. Last year, a highlight of the event was a documentary about mushrooms followed by a 10-course mushroom-inspired tasting menu.

Image: gothamist.com

Japan Society Beer and Sake Festival San Diego CA, June 25

Brought to you by The Japan Society of San Diego and Tijuana (JSSDT); your guess on this group’s origins is as good as ours), the Beer and Sake festival introduces “the masterful brews of Japan – refreshing beer and delicate sake – along with local flavors from the San Diego and Tijuana region.” This year is the first for the Rising Sushi Star Chef award: top chefs from different parts of San Diego will compete live on stage, demonstrating their sushi skills.

6th Annual North American Organic Brewers Festival Portland OR, June 25-27

The aim of the North American Organic Brewers Festival is “to save the planet, one beer at a time.” An ambitious (and enticing) goal. Two of Portland’s beloved industries – organic beer and sustainability – come together in an annual celebration designed to raise awareness about organic beer and sustainable living. Organic beers and ciders from around the world will be served alongside organic edibles and live music. Boozing that you can feel good about – now that’s a good time!

Image: foodgps.com

Pinot Days San Francisco CA, June 27

Sunday’s Grand Festival at Fort Mason in San Francisco will showcase over 220 producers of pinot noir. Festival-goers will be able to sample up to 500 pinots from every important domestic pinot noir region, from the Russian River Valley to the Santa Lucia Highlands, Oregon to Carneros, the Anderson Valley to the Sonoma Coast to the Santa Rita Hills. Focus Tastings feature specific pinot noir regions, allowing attendees to taste 16 wines and to meet the winemakers who create them.

Tags: an entire roast pig stuffed with paella, beer, cereal, cheese, food, food festivals, hog happenin', homebrew, horseradish, june, latino, napa valley wine auction, oyster, philippine food festival, pink tomato, pork, Sake, Wine

    1 Comment

  • Ken says:

    I had no idea there were so many food festivals going now. Too bad none of them are close to L.A.


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