Can’t-Miss Foodie Events to Hit Before Summer Ends
We're talking lobster, chiles and loads of barbeque, people!
Summertime is made for outdoor eats, food festivals and epic road trips. Make the most of this fleeting season by sampling and sipping the goods at these culinary shindigs around the country, before the summer of 2018 is just a warm memory.
The Maine Lobster Festival - August 1-5
There’s no better way to soak up summer than by noshing on fresh-caught lobster straight from its source on the rocky coast of Maine. So head to Rockland for classics dishes like lobster rolls, bisque, and steamed, whole lobster with views of Penobscot Bay. You’ll also find delicious chunks of the cold-water crustacean tucked into more unexpected dishes like risotto balls and won-tons.
Vermont Cheesemakers Festival - August 12
Fun fact: Vermont boasts 50 cheesemakers per capita – that’s more than any other state. Taste these artisans’ delicious handiwork on the picturesque shores of Lake Champlain, along with more local foods, wines, spirits and craft beers.
Chesapeake Crab, Wine & Beer Festival – August 18
This annual “all-you-care-to-taste” event in National Harbor, MD is a crab extravaganza: a staggering 65,000 (!) of the delicately-sweet crustaceans will be cooked up, seasoned, and devoured at this year’s fest, along with lots of sides, beers and live music.
Hatch Chile Festival – September 1-2
Hatch, New Mexico is home to this food-lover’s fiesta showcasing its famous namesake chile. Come to eat them cooked every-which-way, for the delicious aroma of chiles being roasted in gigantic drums, and for the cold beers you’ll want to drink alongside all that delicious heat.
Kentucky State BBQ Festival - September 7-9
Carnivores, take note: over 18,000 pounds of delicious BBQ will be cooked up at this year’s Kentucky State BBQ Festival at the Wilderness Trail Distillery in Danville, KY. Be there to see seven celeb pitmasters share their secrets with meat, fire and smoke, and to see which newbie wins the Backyard BBQ Competition. Depending how brave you are, you can also either take part — or be a spectator — for activities like the Hog Calling Contest, Bean Eating Competition, and Smoking Butt Bike Ride. Best yet, your money goes to a good cause: the fest is actually a nonprofit that benefits Heart of Kentucky United Way.
Feast Portland - September 13-16
If you’ve never experienced a blissful summer in Portland, Oregon, let Feast be your delicious excuse for a visit. Superstar chefs including San Francisco’s Dominique Crenn and local hero Joshua McFadden will be cooking up Pacific Northwest summer bounty at lively events throughout the Rose City during this action-packed weekend. Don’t miss favorite annual events like Smoked!, where more twenty-some top chefs including Chris Cosentino and Andy Ricker will share their takes on the art of cooking over open fire, as well as the Night Market: Ring of Fire, a celebration of the bold food that comes from the adventurous chefs who choose to live and cook along the volcanic Pacific Rim.
This year, you’ll can also don your shoulder pads and leg warmers and crank up the pop and hip-hop for the 80s versus 90s event, where 20 chefs will dish out their takes on what we ate in the big hair era. Sip while you craft with classes like Macramé + Rosé, or run a 5k through Stumptown if you’re feeling inspired to burn off some of the weekend’s calories.
Every year, Feast dollars go to support local nonprofits (the festival has donated nearly $400,000 to date). This year, the money goes to Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and Urban Gleaners to help end hunger in Oregon and throughout the U.S.
The American Royal World Series of Barbecue - September 13-16
If you consider yourself a barbeque enthusiast, you must make the pilgrimage to the 39th annual World Series of Barbecue, held on the Kansas Speedway. After all, this is the world's largest barbecue competition we’re talking about here, with over 500 teams serving up their saucy and lacquered meat creations. Pace yourself with breaks in between the finger-licking deliciousness for the live music and cocktail/beer gardens.
Judging is fierce for the open and invitational competitions. For junior pitmasters, there’s even a Kids Que competition for kids ages 6-15.
Photos courtesy of the event organizers.