Food Festivals Worth Traveling For
Four gourmand getaways to book now
Featuring a multi-day itinerary of eating, drinking, and education in some of the country’s most beautiful destinations, food festivals have been establishing themselves as one of the best reasons to skip town for the weekend. It only helps that festival teams across the nation are finding more culinary angles to celebrate now than ever before, securing local and visiting talent for curated, high-caliber programming that leaves guests feeling as entertained as they are nourished. The fact that several of them support high-need causes in the hospitality sector is all the more reason to raise a glass. Spanning states and seasons, here are four worth traveling for now.
EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival (through November 18)
Visitors can travel the globe without setting foot outside of the States at this annual food and wine festival, which first descended on Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park more than 20 years ago. The event has only grown since, featuring more than 25 marketplaces offering bites and sips that span the cuisines of more than 6 continents.
Guests can sample through flavors while enjoying an impressive array of wines, as well—more than different 40 options are available throughout the fest. Download the My Disney Experience app in advance to plan out your culinary journey—thereby allowing you to focus on the day’s other adventures, from family activities (such as character-themed scavenger hunts) to live entertainment (featuring performances by the likes of Sheila E. and Hanson).
Jackson Hole Food & Wine Festival (March 7-9, 2024)
This festival was founded in 2016 as a way of showcasing Jackson Hole’s growing culinary scene and embracing the local community—all while drawing big-name chefs from across the nation. Guests are encouraged to select two events to attend throughout the weekend—a task that sounds easy enough, until met with the ace lineup (e.g.,a Champagne and caviar tasting, a high-end spirits tasting, a cooking demo and lunch).
The action happens across venues—at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Four Seasons Resort & Residences Jackson Hole, and in various spots throughout town—and those staying in Teton Village can squeeze in some skiing, too. Looking for reason to return before 12 months’ time? Mark your calendar for June 20th-22nd, when they host their summer festival (benefitting the same local organization, Hole Food Rescue).
Aspen Food & Wine Classic (June 14-16, 2024)
What started as a wine tasting to encourage tourism during the region’s shoulder season evolved into this internationally renowned festival, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. Taking place in various venues throughout downtown Aspen, the annual fête brings together thousands of culinary enthusiasts for an impressive, three-day lineup of tastings, dinners, and panel discussions featuring some of the country’s most eminent food and wine talent (think Carla Hall, Gail Simmons, Bobby Flay, Stephanie Izard, and Andrew Zimmern, among others).
Register on the 2024 festival website for updates, and plan to book as soon as details are released in January (last year, tickets sold out within hours).
Chicago Gourmet (September 2024)
The Illinois Restaurant Association founded this fest in 2008 to spotlight Chicago as a world-class food city—and 15 years (and many seminars and tastings) later, it continues to do just that.
Though 2024’s fest details have yet to be announced, guests can expect that it will be just as exciting as years past, featuring highly anticipated gatherings like Tacos & Tequila, Late Night Gourmet, and the ultra-luxe Grand Cru tasting, among others (including new additions like the Rise and Shine Gourmet Brunch). Happening al fresco on the Harris Theater Rooftop within the city’s iconic Millennium Park, consider it one more reason to sneak in a late summer trip to the Second City.
This story appears in One Adventures, Berkley One’s digital magazine celebrating creators, experiences and stories. Read the full issue here
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Header image: C2 Photography