As soon as your local coffee shop starts advertising its pumpkin-spice latte and cider donuts, you know you’ve reached the end of ice cream sandwiches and boardwalk fried glory. But, along with the crisp fall weather comes incredible fall flavor. We’ve rounded up the best all-American culinary festivals around the country, so no matter where you live, you can get to at least one of these foodie-filled havens.
Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival
When: September 16th–18th
Where: Newport, Rhode Island
With the incredible Newport mansions as your backdrop, you’ll feel like Jay Gatsby for a weekend at the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival. Events include a guided Vintner Dinner and a Sunday Buffet Wine Brunch at the Rosecliff, seminars on everything from the wines of South Africa to Pinot Noirs around the world, and a Newport After Dark party complete with dancing and DJ. Several area restaurants are hosting wine dinners as part of the event—make sure to reserve your spot at the table before they sell out.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair
When: October 15th
Where: Santa Rosa, California
Set in wine country U.S.A., this festival hosts tastings from over 100 wineries. Their Professional Wine Competition is the largest regional competition of its kind in the country, and their Amateur Wine Competition allows hobbyists and newcomers to demonstrate their skills. But the can’t-miss event is the famous World Championship Grape Stomp. Teams of two compete for the grand prize—and major bragging rights. Tickets are available here, and all ages are welcome (but attendees must be 21 and over to enter the Tasting Pavilion).
National Apple Harvest Festival
When: October 1st-2nd and 8th-9th
Where: Arendtsville, Pennsylvania
Celebrating its 58th year, the National Apple Harvest Festival is annually held over the first two weekends in October and includes hay rides, antique cars, contests, crafts, food stands, live music, orchard tours, and other attractions. Don’t miss the apple-pancake patio or apple-syrup making. Call ahead for advance ticket sales; all ages are welcome.
Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival
When: October 13th-16th
Where: Manhattan, New York
Perhaps the top culinary destination in the U.S., NYC hosts its fifteenth annual festival benefitting hunger relief by bringing together food legends from around the world and America’s favorite TV-personality chefs. The four-day affair offers ticketed events such as intimate dinners, walk-around tastings, master classes, brunches, late-night parties, demos, and a variety of family events. Featured personalities include Jet Tila, Rachel Ray, Antonia Lofaso, Carla Hall, Duff Goldman, and more. Tickets are available here.
When: October 15th–16th
Where: Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Nothing says small town like this two-day shellfish festival on New England’s coast. Traditionally, locals and visitors gather for tennis, a road race, an arts-and-crafts fair, various family activities, sustainability seminars, and the famous Oyster Shuck-Off. The winner must shuck 24 oysters in the shortest amount of time, while still maintaining aesthetic presentation. As this year is the first time the event has been held in person since 2019, daily attendance is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance.
Texas Monthly BBQ Fest
When: November 5th-6th
Where: Lockhart, Texas
In Texas, the barbecues don’t stop with summer. The Texas Monthly BBQ Fest celebrates all things BBQ, with dozens of vendors firing up the grill. While the event itself is free, attendees can purchase a VIP wristband ($50 for Saturday’s event and $120 for Sunday’s BBQ World Fair) for access to exclusive tastings, free food, drink tickets, and more. A portion of the proceeds from all wristbands go to Feeding Texas, an organization dedicated to decreasing food insecurity in the state.
Harvest on the Harbor
When: October 27th-29th
Where: Portland, Maine
Harvest on the Harbor has been featuring the finest local food and drink in Maine since 2007. With a focus on independent and local restaurants, this event offers festival-goers a chance to sample cuisines that they won’t find anywhere else. From the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition, where seafood lovers can meet the chefs duking it out for the coveted title, to a Halloween themed cocktail making class, there’s plenty to do (and eat!) at this three day coastal celebration.
Carol McPherson contributed to this article.
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