Virginia Foodie festival-goer, throw on your stretchiest jorts and flower crowns and hit the road for food festivals a-plenty. If you’re hungry – especially in the upcoming summer months – all you’ll need to do is find the nearest event to get your eat on. No matter which type of cuisine you find appealing, there’s a street fair or festival waiting to satisfy, so learn how to Conquer them like a pro.
Come Hungry – It may seem obvious, but you’ll need lots of room to get the most out of a food festival – so no snacking beforehand! Sampling several different vendors will allow you to find a favorite, and if you fill up before you head to the event you’ll be ready to call it quits after a single plate. Nobody likes a quitter.
Commit to Trying Something New – Sure, you could stay in your comfort zone and just eat corndogs, but where’s the fun in that? Head to festivals like SWEETLIFE, a late spring festival in Columbia, MD. Make a point to hit up their food trucks and tents, featuring some of the finest farm to table eats a festival has ever seen. The diverse group of vendors they invite contains offerings like lobster rolls and handmade cakepops.
Bring a Buddy – Summertime events are more fun with your BFFs, but bringing company to a food festival also doubles your tasting possibilities – provided your pal is okay with swapping. Additionally, a more dedicated friend may also be able to get you safely home after happenings like the Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival, distinctive for it’s “all you can drink” VIP option. Held on June 4th and 5th in Centreville, this vino-lover’s dream features a whopping 30 wineries showcasing their products.
Make it a Habit – While some annual food festivals in Virginia and its surrounding areas are can’t-miss, others are smaller yet no less compelling. Take the Thursday Jams at Abingdon Market Pavilion – a fun weekly opportunity for locals and visitors alike to relax, unwind and enjoy music on Thursday nights. What it lacks in the frantic everywhere-at-once feeling found in unique annual festivals, it more than makes up for it with features like a well-designed beer garden. Stop by May 29th through August 28th, but note that there are no shows on July 3rd or August 7th.
Try a Few Veggies – Selective dabbling in vegetarian menus is the new black in food festival-dom, so why not try some leafy greens instead of red meat? Bashes like the LAVA Music Festival – held in Suffolk on May 27-28, is gaining fame for their diverse and tasty vegetarian options for concert-goers. Local favorites The Flying Pig, The Thirsty Frog and Bro’s Fish Tacos serve up delicious goodies alongside great tunes for the omnivores attending.
Got a Case of the Funds-R-Low – Food festivals aren’t necessarily expensive, and they can certainly be enjoyed for less than the cost of a dinner out. Broad Appetit – held in Richmond on June 5th, lets thrifty food-lovers have the time of their lives for only $3 a plate. This local-food-driven celebration of taste is designed to give everyone an affordable chance to experience the local gourmet culture and fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
Still hankering for food and filled with wanderlust? Check these festivals out!
Mount Vernon Farm to Table Dinner – June 3, Mount Vernon
Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival – June 4 & 5, Centreville
19th Annual Cajun Festival & Crawfish Boil – June 11, Purcellville
NOVA Summer Brewfest – June 18 & 19, Centreville, VA
Innsbrook Taste of Virginia – July 2nd, Glen Allen
Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival – Aug 13, Leesburg
40th Virginia Wine Festival – September 17 & 18, Fairfax
Blue Ridge Highlands
The Howling Craft Beer & Music Festival – May 27-28, Abingdon
Mountain Adventure Weekend – June 4, Floyd
Stuart Beach Music Festival – June 9-11, Stuart
Virginia Cheese Festival – June 11, Blacksburg
Hops & Howlers Craft Brew Fest – June 18, Abingdon
The Black Dog Jazz Festival – July 9, Floyd
Strawberry Festival – May 28, Heathsville
Pungo Strawberry Festival – May 28 & 29, Virginia Beach
Rhythm, Brews, & BBQ – June 25, Kilmarnock
The Bayou Boogaloo Music & Cajun Food Festival – June 24-26, Norfolk
Pork, Peanut, & Pine Festival – July 16 & 17, Surry
6th Annual Summer Brewfest – July 8, Norfolk
Trashy Ribs & Brews Festival – June 18, Orange
Afton After Hours – June 25, Afton
Watermelon Wine Festival – July 2, Concord
Hanover Tomato Festival – July 9, Mechanicsville
LOCKN’ Festival – Aug 25-28, Arrington
Shrimp & Wine Festival – Sep 10, Brookneal
Poetry Night @ Café Zata – Every 4th Friday of the month, Richmond
Saturday Soul Social – Every 1st Sunday, The Hippodrome, Richmond
Virginia Herb Festival – June 11 & 12, Middletown
Rock n’ Ridgeview at Ridgeview Park – Select Thursdays in Summer, Waynesboro
Vintage Woodstock Festival – June 24, Woodstock
Covington Cork & Pork Festival – June 24 & 25, Covington
Winchester Greek Festival – Aug 20 & 21, Winchester
17th Annual Apple Butter Celebration – September 17, Skyland
Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival – Sep 17 & 18, Winchester
Rocktown Bites – Saturdays & Selective Thursdays, Harrisonburg
43rd Annual Virginia Pork Festival – June 8, Emporia
LakeFest – July 16, Clarksville
Virginia Cantaloupe Festival – July 22, South Boston
Shine & Wine Festival – Sep 24, Chase City
French Summer Wine Tasting – June 3, Washington DC
Dine-N-Dash – June 15, Washington DC
Around the World Cultural Food Festival – June 18, Washington DC
Atlas Brew Works Bluegrass Jam Session – 3rd Sunday of every month, Washington DC
Live Music w/ Brent Peterson at Clyde’s of Georgetown – Every Wednesday in summer, Washington DC
Karaoke @ Sticky Rice DC – 10:30 pm on Thursdays, Washington DC