When spring hits, there’s no better place to be than a lively outdoor festival, and the South does it best. From eating contests and family-friendly parades, to slow-roasted barbecue cooking competitions and exciting chef-driven demos—these are six Southern food festivals that will have you coming back year after year.
Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival
April 13-15, 2018
No one celebrates strawberry season quite like the “Strawberry Capital of the World.” Each spring, small-town Ponchatoula, Louisiana, gathers for a weekend celebration honoring the sweet berries. With a parade, live music, an abundance of food, and plenty of games, you’re guaranteed to have a “berry” good time.
Austin Food + Wine Festival
April 27-29, 2018
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and this three-day festival is proof. With more than 40 demos and tastings, opportunities to mingle with renowned chefs, and mood-setting live tunes, this big-city bash is one of the most anticipated of the season.
Vidalia Onion Festival
April 28, 2018
Not every town has a vegetable named after them. Each spring huge crowds pour into Vidalia, Georgia, to celebrate the state’s official vegetable—the exceptionally sweet Vidalia Onion. From Miss Vidalia Onion Pageants and an exciting concert, to the Vidalia Onion Eating Contest and a can’t-miss cooking competition, this festival has something for everyone. vidaliaonionfestival.com
The National Cornbread Festival
South Pittsburg, TN
April 28-29, 2018
In 1996, a group got together to plan a festival that would offer support to the local economy and businesses of South Pittsburg, Tennessee. It only seemed natural to honor the town’s best-known business—Lodge Manufacturing. Now each Spring, cornbread and cast iron lovers flock to South Pittsburg for a weekend of foundry tours, live music, and tons of warm, buttery cornbread.
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest
May 16-19, 2018
Part of the city’s month-long Memphis in May celebration, this four-day barbecue battle is where ‘cue cooks from around the world gather to compete for cash prizes and well-deserved bragging rights. Whether you’re a participating pit master or just a hungry bystander, this mouth-watering festival is sure to be a barbecue blast.
May 19, 2018
Ever had Cheerwine? This legendary cherry soda made its debut in 1917 in small-town Salisbury, North Carolina—where it is still made today by the same family. To commemorate its founding, the town is holding an exciting weekend celebration full of live music, amazing Southern food, craft vendors—and plenty of Cheerwine, of course. Cheerwine newcomers and connoisseurs alike will enjoy this family-friendly festival.