Food brings people together and has a seemingly unnatural way of making a bad day better. Luckily, the U.S. is full of it - so full of it, in fact, that there are a countless number of festivals to mark the occasion of, well... food.
There's no reason why everyone shouldn't be marking down their local food festivals on the calendar since there's no bigger joy than attending a festival solely devoted to local favorites. With that being said, there are some food festivals out there that are much bigger, and far more encompassing, than anything most of us are familiar with. Festivals devoted to entire cuisines, cooking styles, and even harvests dot the 50 states throughout the year, many of which go unbeknownst to those who could be their biggest fans. So, what are you waiting for? Get your tastebuds ready and prepare for the ultimate in food festival indulgence.
National Buffalo Wing Festival
Buffalo wings have a pretty exceptional history. The story goes that they were created on a whim, with the wrong meat product. This ultimately led to one of the most popular appetizers in America's history and something that has truly made its way around the globe. The National Buffalo Wing Festival is held in Buffalo, New York - the origin of wings, obviously - in early September.
The festival is still relatively new and has an 18-year history in the area but that doesn't mean it doesn't attract mass crowds. People travel from all over the country to indulge in the best wings that money can buy, with more than 100 wing flavors being featured every year. Guests to the festival can also anticipate cook-offs, wing-eating contests, bobbing for wings, and even pageants.
Food & Wine Classic
Held in Aspen, Colorado every year, the Food & Wine Classic is the stuff of dreams for foodies. Not only is the surrounding area absolutely gorgeous but it's exceptionally beautiful in June when the event is held every year. More than 70 chefs come together at this event to showcase the best of their talents, bringing forth flavors that go far beyond anything you're likely to see in a restaurant.
Experts from both the culinary world and the wine world prepare demonstrations and educational panels, which is captivating in itself. At the Grand Tasting Pavillion, guests have the chance to sample food and wine from all over the world, making it well worth the cost of admission - which is probably why the event sells out so quickly year after year.
Taste Of Chicago
While this festival is called Taste of Chicago, it actually showcases flavors from all over the world. It takes place every year in early July and features plenty of local vendors and iconic Illinois foods as well, with all the best street vendors gathering at the city's waterfront.
Guests can expect pop-up restaurants, chef demonstrations, food trucks, and other local vendors, serving up the best of every cuisine that's represented. The festival prides itself on the diversity of food that can be found in this one spot, making it an absolute dream for food lovers across the board.
Maine Lobster Festival
From the end of July to the beginning of August, Maine celebrates the food that it's known for: lobster. For seafood lovers, it doesn't get much better than this and you won't find more lobster in any one place during the summer months. Anyone who has had the pleasure of eating a Maine lobster can speak to its buttery tenderness, amplified only by the actual butter that's usually served on the side.
This festival offers all of that along with cooking contests, carnival rides, entertainers, and local artisans and craft vendors. To put it into perspective, according to Big 7 Travel, the state goes through a whopping 11,000 kilograms of lobster per festival, and an additional 900 kilograms of butter.
The Best In the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off
This festival has found a home in Sparks, Nevada, and features - you guessed it - BBQ. For fans of ribs, this festival is a must, featuring some of the best rib recipes in the country. It's possibly the biggest rib cook-off in the country and also one that has a strong reputation behind it, which is made even stronger thanks to the all-you-can-eat ticket that grants each person entry.
This also includes drinks, sides, and desserts, with more than 20 flavors of ribs to choose from. By the time the $10,000 prize is announced, guests will be so full of ribs that they'll be ready for a nap - but with such an exciting atmosphere, you won't want to.