A Person Holding a Taco

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Top 13 Best Food Festivals In The US for 2024

Food has always brought people together. We gather around the dinner table, and we meet at restaurants. Almost every special occasion in life is celebrated with a meal. Food also is an integral part of travel. After finding the right hotel, the second biggest concern with a trip is where we want to eat. You can make food the focus of your travels. Here is a list of the top food festivals nationwide for 2024. This year’s list is updated to include 5 additional suggestions.

#1 SoCal Taco Fest

This San Diego festival is all about tacos! With over 25 food vendors from all over Southern California, you will get some amazing tacos, carnitas, desserts, and margaritas. But the fun goes far beyond the food. The Taco Fest has tons of live entertainment that are unique to this event. Check out the Chihuahua races and beauty pageant; this is a big thing. It’s not about pure-bred Chihuahua’s but more about having fun. The pageant encourages owners to dress up their dogs for the event.  And nothing goes better with tacos than Lucha Libre Wrestling. Yep, this taco festival also has live wrestling throughout the day. If those activities aren’t your thing, maybe you would prefer the Margarita Cantina, where you can sip a Margarita and enjoy some live music.

August 17, 2024, at San Diego Waterfront Park

Chihuahua races at the SoCal Tacofest.
#2 Waikiki SPAM Jam Festival

Hawaii consumes 7 million cans of SPAM a year. That’s a lot of SPAM for a state of 1.5 million people. So it only makes sense they would have a festival to celebrate it. The participating restaurants serve up unique SPAM dishes: SPAM tacos, SPAM & Pineapple Pizza, and SPAM nachos. Heck, it looks like they even do a SPAM Poke Bowl. In addition to all things SPAM, the festival features several stages with a variety of live music.

April 27, 2024, Honolulu, Hawaii

Waikiki Spam Jam mascot dancing in front of stage with perfomers on it. At one of the best food festivals in the US.
#3 Maine Lobster Festival

Life doesn’t get much better than five days of feasting on lobster along the Maine Coast. If you agree, check out the Maine Lobster Festival, July 31 – August 4, 2024. This celebration of the mighty lobster started in the 1940s and will attract over 75,000 seafood lovers to the Maine coast. Over 20,000 pounds of fresh Maine lobster will be prepared and consumed over the 5 days. In addition to all the good food, you can check out the crowning of the “Maine Sea Goddess,” take part in the road race, experience local arts and crafts, and see the one-of-a-kind Lobster Crate Race. The biggest event of the festival is The Big Parade, which each year attracts a huge crowd. Featuring a different theme each year, the parade goers are encouraged to decorate floats and even themselves to match the theme.

July 31 – August 4, 2024, Rockland, ME

Live lobster at a stand at the Maine Lobster Festival one of the best food festivals in the US.
#4 Picklesburgh

A celebration of all things brined and fermented seems like a natural in the hometown of the H.J. Heinz Company. The Picklesburgh Festival is young and started in 2015, but it has become a Big Dill. And this is not only about a pickled cucumber; you will find briney cocktails, pickle merchandise, and even a pickle-juice drinking contest. This annual event features food trucks and local restaurants. You could even be proclaimed the Mayor of Picklesburgh. This annual festival used to be held on one of the many downtown bridges, but last year had to be moved to a much larger venue in downtown Pittsburgh. It has become one of the fastest-growing specialty food festivals in the country.

July 19 – 21, 2024, Pittsburgh, PA

Picklesburg food festival with a crowd at the pickle beer stand.
#5 Beignet Fest

New Orleans is famous for these deep-fried square dough pieces served with powdered sugar on top. Sounds good, right? At this annual celebration of these tasty delights, you will find creative takes on the sweet treat as well as some savory and stuffed options. Live music, an artist’s market, and a beer garden can also be found. This is really a family-friendly event, and ticket sales benefit local autism programs.

November 16, 2024, New Orleans, LA

#5 National Buffalo Wing Festival

The Buffalo Wing was invented in Buffalo, NY, in 1964 at the Anchor Bar. Held at the “Home of the Buffalo Bills,” it is a Labor Day Weekend festival. It came about when Bill Murray’s character in “Osmosis Jones” was heading to a Chicken Wing Festival in Buffalo. No such thing existed, so the Buffalo “Wing King” rallied the community to create the festival. Now, you can attend and experience over 100 styles of wings, live music, a celebrity influencer sauce-off competition, and even the United States Buffalo Wing Eating Championship. But the contests don’t stop there; they have a hot wings eating contest, a bobbing for wings contest (in a baby pool filled with blue cheese dressing, very messy), and even a baby wing contest (don’t worry no one’s feeding babies chicken wings, it a pageant). 

August 31 – September 1, 2024, Buffalo, NY

#6 PA Bacon Fest

People will go hog wild for this festival. Bacon, music, and fun—it doesn’t get any better. Bacon on a stick, chocolate-covered bacon, bacon Bloody Mary, bacon sticky buns, bacon, bacon, and more bacon. They have a bacon culinary contest, racing bacon, and wear your bacon best contest. This is definitely a bacon-loving festival.

November 2-3, 2024, Easton, PA

#7 Cheese Curd Festival

Where would you expect a cheese curd festival? Why Ellsworth, Wisconsin, of course. Here, you will find over 6,000 pounds of cheese curds in every form imaginable: fried, melted, poutine, dipped, sweet, and savory. Combine it with beer and wine pairings, and you have yourself a festival. In fact, you can taste over 20+ craft beers, ciders, and local wines during the Corks and Kegs Tasting Event. As you would expect, the festival culminates in a cheese curd eating contest.

June 21 & 22, 2024, Ellsworth, WI

Large sign that says "CURDS" at the Cheese Curd Festival.
#8 Taste of Chicago

Not only is the Taste of Chicago one of the Best Food Festivals In The US, it is one of the world’s biggest food festivals, with more than 2 million visitors annually. Yep, it’s got Chicago-style pizza, hot dogs, and cheesecake. But it also has much more to offer, including international influences tied to the city’s history as a melting pot of cultures. Plus, you will find great music and a party atmosphere. Look for neighborhood events around the city associated with The Taste of Chicago event, but the main event is held in Grant Park.

September 6-8, 2024, Chicago, IL

Black Bird Near Building
#9 Memphis Food & Wine Festival

The fifth Memphis Food & Wine Festival is scheduled for Saturday, October 19, 2024, from 6 to 10 pm. After a few years’ absence, this high-end food and wine event will return in 2024. Held in the Radians Amphitheater at Memphis Botanic Garden, this is an evening of delicious food and top-tier wine. Tickets typically start around $200 per person.

October 19, 2024, Memphis, TN

#10 South Beach Wine and Food Festival

The South Beach Wine and Food Festival is a star-studded event. If you are a Food Network junkie, you will love this event. It boasts a list of food celebrities, unlike any other event in the country. In its 23rd year, this event is an annual beach party of food and wine. It’s not a stuffy food and wine event but more like the spring break of the culinary world. It’s four days with over 100+ events and well over 500+ food and wine experts and influencers. 

February 22 – 25, 2024, Miami, FL

#11 Charleston Wine and Food Festival

This 5-day event is a truly immersive food experience. Charleston is one of the country’s top food destinations, and this event captures all of what this unique culinary city has to offer. From the Culinary Village, set up in the beautiful Riverfront Park, to hands-on classes. Guests of the festival get a unique and personal experience. But all of this does come at a price, with event tickets ranging from $169 to $1450 for a VIP experience.

March 6 – 10, 2024, Charleston, SC

#12 Lexington Barbeque Festival

2024 marks the 40th year of the Lexington Barbeque Festival, a celebration of Barbeque held in North Carolina. This event has a Pig Sand Sculpture, a Corvette Show, inflatable rides, a dinosaur show, and a wine and beer garden. It’s an event for the whole family. But the real attraction is the BBQ. Lexington Style Barbeque, to be exact. This is not a celebration of all styles of Barbeque; it is a celebration of the hometown style. Lexington-style barbecue is a unique preparation of pork shoulder cooked for nearly half a day over oak and hickory coals until it is fall-apart tender. The shoulders are basted with “dip,” a mixture of vinegar, water, salt, and pepper. 

October 26, 2024, Lexington, NC

#13 Food & Wine Classic In Aspen

This is the big daddy of the culinary world in the US. It’s more of a master class in cooking and a fine wine experience than a food festival. It’s attended by the top names in the culinary field and is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the everyday foodie. No list of the Best Food Festivals In The US would be complete without this amazing event. Passes start at $2950 and top out at $5500 for full access to the events. 

June 14-16, 2024, Aspen, CO

As you can see, these food festivals run the full spectrum, from fun, casual events celebrating certain styles of food to luxury experiences that celebrate celebrity chefs and the best of the best in the food and wine world. You will find cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, top chefs, small-town favorites, craft beer, carnival-type atmospheres, and lots and lots of food. Many of the Best Food Festivals In The US benefit local charities and promote local vendors and local chefs. The other nice thing is that many of these events have no admission fee, making them a great way to spend a weekend. If you love food, wine, and beer, there is a food festival for you. 

Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

    Booking.com and Expedia.com are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

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