As the snow is melting and the temperatures are hopefully on the rise, it’s a great time to start planning a springtime vacation. The start of spring is the signal that many of the country’s best and most interesting food festivals will be taking place shortly. If you’re considering a food-travel related trip, here are a few of the delicious festivals and events taking place annually in the spring.
Every April, head to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast for the annual Crawfish Music Festival. The two-weekend event takes place at the MS Coast Coliseum, where you’ll find great Blues music, midway rides, contests, games, and of course, lots of crawfish. Don’t miss the second weekend if you can, as the highlight of the festival is the crawfish cook-off, complete with trophies and cash prizes.
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Fernandina Beach hosts one of the more unique annual springtime food festivals – it’s part food, part history and even includes a pirate parade. Shrimp is definitely the main event, featuring any type of shrimp imaginable. To learn about why the festival is called the Isle of Eight Flags, visit the Amelia Island Museum of History when you arrive. The pirate parade is only one day, so be sure to check the event calendar to ensure you don’t miss it!
New Orleans, Louisiana
The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience typically takes place in May and is one of the most anticipated food events in the country. Hundreds of restaurants and wineries participate each year, showcasing the best in New Orleans cuisine. Look for some restaurants to feature special dining evenings around the city during the festival. Taste over 1,000 wines from around the world, enjoy promenade evenings in the French Quarter and finish off the weekend with the big gala.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
If you’re anywhere near Virginia Beach over Memorial Day weekend, head to the annual Pungo Strawberry Festival. Partake in strawberries served over 50 different ways, arts and crafts, a pie eating contest, pig races and more.
No line up of springtime food festivals would be complete without at least one BBQ competition. Memphis in May hosts one of the biggest BBQ events, the World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest. The 2016 event is expected to draw over 250 teams from all over the world. Ever wanted to judge a BBQ contest? Plan a year in advance and be one of the first 100 people who register for the judging seminar where you will learn how to judge, sample barbecue during simulated exercises and then take your seat next to the other 500-plus judges!
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas hosts a number of interesting culinary events each year, including Vegas Uncork’d. The annual festival is hosted by high-end luxury resorts and celebrity chefs who come together to put on a series of ticketed dinners and events over the course of four days. These can range from $100 brunches with local chefs to a $1,000 per person omakase charity dinner with Nobu Matsuhisa.
The city of Philadelphia hosts a number of annual food and craft beer related events, but one of the most unique is the Dining Under the Stars series that starts in May. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, State Street shuts down to vehicular traffic and restaurants and shops set up outdoor tables. Live music fills the streets while diners enjoy an al fresco dining experience. Restaurants tend to be more booked up during this time so make reservations in advance if you can.
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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