This time of year is ideal for getting outside, traveling, and enjoying good food! These festivals from across the United States offer everything you could want—delicious dishes, concerts, shopping, and entertainment. Check out the following events, and pencil them on your calendar this season.
Happy Harry’s Ribfest
Ribs, ribs, and more ribs—plus some good music—is what the Happy Harry’s Ribfest is all about. Local and international chefs from places like Australia, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia will tempt your palate in this event that’s been going strong for more than twenty-five years. Gate admission and parking are $5 each.
National Cherry Festival
Traverse City, MI
Life is sweet at the National Cherry Festival in the cherry capital of the world. Celebrate everything cherry with more than 100 events, including a farmers market, pit-spitting and pie-eating contests, amusement rides, food vendors, a beer tent, and fireworks. Tickets can be purchased separately to see live performances from Boyz II Men and ZZ Top, and a Flight Deck Air Show featuring the US Navy Blue Angels. The majority of the festival’s events are free.
Whiting, a town on Lake Michigan that’s just thirty minutes from downtown Chicago, fills up with approximately 300,000 visitors each year for its Pierogi Fest, a celebration of Eastern European food and culture. Watch the wacky polka parade, visit the wine and beer gardens, enjoy Polish music and polka dancing, fill your plate with pierogi, Polish pastries, and other delicacies, and enjoy fun for all ages.
Maine Lobster Festival
If succulent fresh lobster in pools of butter sounds tasty to you, head to Maine for the 75th annual Maine Lobster Festival. King Neptune and the Maine Sea Goddess will open the festival, and admission is free. This fest offers a bounty of lobster delicacies: rolls, mac and cheese, bisque, and more. There will be a parade, arts and crafts, entertainment, vendors, a marine experience tent where kids can touch and learn about marine life, a steins and vines tasting event, plus a kids’ fun run, 5K, and 10K. A free shuttle will be running throughout the festival.
Milford Oyster Festival
The 48th annual Milford Oyster Festival is free to enter and will have about 30,000 fresh oysters from Milford waters to serve to festival goers. Watch shells fly in the fastest oyster shucker in the world contest, and take in musical entertainment, a craft fair, a kayak race, and an oyster-eating competition. You can also learn more about these tasty mollusks from oyster experts.
Music City Hot Chicken Festival
Celebrate Independence Day with a fire truck parade and live music at the Music City Hot Chicken Festival, a free celebration in Nashville’s East Park. Enjoy hot chicken (a uniquely Nashville dish), cold brews, and other foods from some of the city’s best eateries, and watch teams compete in the amateur cooking competition. All proceeds from the festival benefit the Friends of Shelby Park and Bottoms.
King of the County BBQ Challenge & Music Festival
Enjoy all kinds of barbecue plus a variety of other cuisines, watch up to forty local teams compete in the festival’s barbecue cook-off, listen to local bands, and shop the wares of craft and other vendors. There will be lots of fun for kids, too, including bounce houses, balloons, face painting, and more.
Taste of Little Italy
San Diego, CA
Eat your way through forty-eight square blocks of delicious Italian food at the Taste of Little Italy festival, and delight in some of the best tastes and sips San Diego has to offer. Commemorate your travels with a “taste passport,” and listen to live music underneath the sparkling city lights. This event will highlight a different selection of restaurants each night, so consider coming to the festival both evenings.