6 Tasty Ways to Keep Your Belly Full This Summer
Best Summer Food Festivals in the U.S.
by Kwin Mosby
Every January, hundreds of people make the pledge to fight the battle of the bulge as a new year’s resolution, and usually those hopes for a smaller waist are abandoned. It’s the Springtime when we revisit those thoughts of looking leaner or fitter in preparation to be beach body ready for the summer. Now, we don’t want you to toss your aspirations aside, but just in case you want to embrace the “foodie” in you, here are a few fantastic festivals where you can eat, drink and be merry… and we’re not checking the scale.
Truckeroo (Washington, DC)
Where: The Bullpen
When: April - October
Foodies looking for a way to sample a variety of tasty cuisines all in one place don’t have to look further. Start your lip-smacking food crawl at Truckeroo, a monthly food truck festival that features live music, cold drinks and more. You name it… they serve it: Spanish tapas, New England-style lobster rolls, cheesesteaks, Laos-style drunken noodles, chicken and waffles, Korean BBQ and California Baja-style tacos. It’s no surprise why dozens of people converge on The Bullpen in the District’s Navy Yard neighborhood for this food festival. Because there’s clearly something for even the most finicky eater here.
Taste of Chicago
Where: Grant Park
When: July 5-9
Sample the best food in the Windy City, including the world-famous Chicago deep-dish pizza! The world’s largest festival features 35 five-day vendors, 16 pop-up restaurants, 16 food trucks, a chef tasting kitchen, and a celebrity chef dining experience every day. The Little Beet Table, Doom Street Eats, Seoul Taco, The Cajun Connoisseur are just a few eateries at the festival. And one of the best perks about having the festival in Grant Park is that you can chow down on some good food, and then, burn off the calories with a leisurely walk along the North Shore and Lake Michigan, easily accessible via the overpass bridge.
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ (Cary, NC)
Where: Booth Amphitheatre
When: July 28-29
This food festival hits several locations along the Eastern Seaboard in the summer, and this year is no different, serving up tasty spirits and food in 11 cities, including New York City, Atlanta, Charlotte, Knoxville and Virginia Beach. So, what’s on tap in Cary, North Carolina? Well, an admission ticket provides you with a sampling glass to enjoy the 60 beers and 40 bourbons served at the festival. And of course, you’ll need some good barbecue to soak up the unlimited spirit tasting you’ll be doing along the way, right? Several on-site vendors will sell a nice spread of barbecue specialties, including pulled pork, ribs, brisket, chicken and sausages. And it wouldn’t be a food festival without a friendly downhome cook-off to see who serves up the best flavors in the South at the Cary Classic BBQ Competition. Just FYI, you can bring kids, but this festival is really designed for adults. Hey… think of it as a fun getaway for parents.
Maine Lobster Festival (Rockland, Maine)
Where: Rockland Harbor Park
When: Aug. 2-6
Chow down for to give back to the community! The Maine Lobster Festival has grown in popularity since the first one in 1947, and it has also raised more than $500,000 for midcoast Maine communities, with proceeds going to support local services, including food pantries, high school sports teams and local emergency services. But let’s be honest the fresh seafood is the real draw here. Lobster dinners, steamed clams with award-winning Cabot butter, breaded shrimp and fried scallops are just a few items served in the Main Eating Tent. Just make sure you save room for the homemade Maine blueberry cobbler. Yum! Now, that’s some good eating.
Austin Ice Cream Festival
Where: Fiesta Gardens
When: Aug. 12
I scream, you scream, we all scream for what? Ice cream! Unless you are lactose-intolerant, this frosty indulgence is the perfect summer treat. And every year, Austin hosts the Ice Cream Festival at Fiesta Gardens with a beautiful view of Lady Bird Lake. A festival pass will get you tickets sample a variety of flavors at more than 20 vendors, including Austin Scoops, Cold Cookie Company, NadaMoo! and Shaved Ice Island. Even though it’s only for one day, this festival is chocked full of fun things to do, such as the Best of ATC Frozen Treats Contest, summer movie in the park, remote control boat racing and live music. Frozen treat yo’ self… and then climb the rock wall to burn off your or your child’s elevated sugar level.
Kentucky Bourbon Festival
Where: Bardstown, Kentucky
When: Sept. 11-17
Lift your spirits! Head to the “Bourbon Capital of the World” for the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Yep, the people of Bardstown have been making bourbon since 1776, and today, this festival draws more than 53,000 people from around the world every year. Explore flights of bourbon on Samuels Field, sip on a Petal Pusher (bourbon cocktail) in the Spirit Garden, and attend a Bourbon Cocktail Mixology workshop to learn how to make a few mixed drinks on your own. But wait, there’s more! The festival also has several fun activities and vendors to keep non-bourbon drinkers happy, such as the World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay, the Whiskey City Cruisers Vehicle Show, arts & crafts booths, and guests can watch hot air balloons light up the night sky at the Balloon Glow. And don’t fret, there’s a food court if you need a little sustenance halfway through bourbon samplings.