50 states: 50 summer food festivals

50 states: 50 summer food festivals

Summer brings barbecues and cookouts, seasonal fruits and berries, and tons of outdoor fun for foodies and families alike. Whether you’re screaming for ice cream or can’t get enough watermelon, there’s a festival for you and your crew in July, August or early September.

Find full-blown wine and food festivals in Nashville, Natchez, Miss., and Asheville, N.C.; see mangoes from all over the world near Miami; and get a slew of ‘cue in Chicago, Kentucky and New Jersey.

From potatoes to peaches to pancakes, there’s a summer food festival worth traveling for in each state. Browse the photos above to feed your weekend cravings at one (or two) near you.

In Alabama, the 44th annual Grand Bay Watermelon Festival will take place at Grand Bay Festival Park, July 3-4, with free cold watermelon on the fourth. Enjoy live music, additional food, contests, a car show and more. 

The Copper River Wild! Salmon Festival returns to Cordova, Alaska on July 14-15, with events like salmon-filleting demonstrations, a cook off and a beer garden.

In Arizona, The Arboretum at Flagstaff hosts its Mushroom Festival, August 18-19, with samples and guided identification and gathering.

In Arkansas, the 41st annual Hope Watermelon Festival will take place in Fair Park, August 10-12, with eating contests, seed spitting, a giant melon auction, slices to sample and more.

courtesy of Brew & Food Festival

In California, Brew & Food Festival returns to San Diego for the third year on August 26 at Embarcadero Marina Park North. Pair samples from 20 chefs, such as Drew Deckman (pictured) with beer tastings from 70 brewers at the even produced by Motley Brews.

Taste of Colorado returns to downtown Denver, September 1-4, with food from more than 50 Colorado restaurants in Civic Center Park.

Connecticut’s annual Juried Arts and Craft Show includes a Lobsterfest and Chicken Barbecue, July 1-2 on the Niantic Town Hall Grounds. 

In Delaware, the Wyoming Peach Festival takes place on August 5 with food vendors, a dessert contest, a parade, crafts and entertainment. 

Florida’s Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden hosts its 25th annual International Mango Festival, July 1-2 in Coral Gables. The event showcases the world’s largest variety of the fruit with taste tests, cooking demos, lectures, a brunch, a beer garden and an auction. 

Georgia’s 7th annual Atlanta Ice Cream Festival will take place in Piedmont Park on July 22, with vendors, eating contests, and health and wellness activities.  

In Hawaii, the Lanai Pineapple Festival will take place in Dole Park on July 1, with food vendors, a pineapple chop contest, and a variety of activities. 

In Idaho, Boise hosts the San Inazio Festival, July 28-30, celebrating Basque culture with large batches of Paella and frozen sangria. 

In Illinois, the Windy City Smokeout returns to Chicago, July 14-16 with 14 pitmasters and live music. 

Indiana’s Taste of Indy takes place in Indianapolis’ Monument Circle on July 1, with more than 35 food vendors, local beer and wine gardens, live music and more activities. 

Iowa’s Adel Sweet Corn Festival returns on August 12 in the city’s courthouse square. In addition to eating corn, the day entails a parade, live music, food vendors and a 5k run. 

Kansas’ Lenexa Spinach Festival returns to the historic Spinach Capital of the World on September 9. Find the World’s Largest Spinach Salad, food vendors and recreational activities in Lenexa’s Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. 

In Kentucky, Blues, Brews & BBQ returns to Louisville’s Water Tower Park, July 21-22. 

In New Orleans, Lake Charles hosts the Arts and Crabs Fest on August 19 at Burton Complex. Local chefs serves all kinds of crab dishes, like this ceviche, paired with craft beer samples. 

The Maine Lobster Festival celebrates 70 years, August 2-6 at Harbor Park in Rockland. Enjoy a whole lobster dinner, lobster salads, lobster rolls, lobster tail cocktails, contests and more with views of Penobscot Bay. 

Maryland’s Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival takes place in National Harbor on August 19. The 8th annual event will serve 65,000 crabs with more than 50 beer, wine and spirits options, plus entertainment.  

In Massachusetts, the Boston Seafood Festival returns to the Historic Boston Fish Pier on August 13, with cooking demos, shucking battles, a fish cutting contest and fresh seafood to eat. 

Michigan’s massive National Cherry Festival fills eight days with event in Traverse City, July 1-8. Food events include barbecue, The Great American Picnic, orchard tours, cherry pies, wine tours and beer tents.

In Minnesota, the Potato Days Festival brings peeling contests, mashed potato sculpting, potato picking, cook offs, pancakes, dumplings, sausage and more potato-themed events to Barnsville, July 25-26. 

In Mississippi, the Natchez Food & Wine Festival returns July 28-29 with more than a dozen chefs, plus beer and spirits makers, participating in tasting events.

In Missouri, Taste of St. Louis takes place at Chesterfield Amphitheater, September 15-17. Try samples from more than 30 eateries on restaurant row, see demonstrations on the culinary stage, and enjoy music and art.

In Montana, the Lewistown Chokecherry Festival returns for the 28th year on September 9. Find a pancake breakfast with chokecherry syrup, culinary and pit spitting contests, and family-friendly activities.  

Nebraska’s AppleJack Festival returns to Nebraska City, September 15-17 with farm and orchard tours, and tastings of all things apple — pie, doughnuts, candy, salads and cider. 

In Nevada, Nugget Casino Resort hosts its Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off, August 30-September 4 in Sparks. More than 20 competitors will serve ribs with sides and desserts from additional vendors.

In New Hampshire, Waterville Valley Resort hosts its 18th annual Chocolate Fest on July 29, with chocolate vendors and an outdoor concert in its Town Square. 

The New Jersey State Barbecue Championship takes place in Wildwood, N.J., July 7-9, with cooking demos and classes, dessert and sauce contests, blues music and the big barbecue competition.

New Mexico’s 14th annual Pork & Brew takes place at the Santa Ana Star Center, July 1-3 with barbecue and beer vendors, live music and family-friendly activities.

Lake Placid, N.Y.’s I Love BBQ & Music Festival returns July 7-9 at the Shipman Youth Center. Professional barbecue teams and food vendors offer barbecue alongside entertainment and activities throughout the weekend. 

In North Carolina, the Asheville Wine & Food Festival returns August 18-19 at Pack Square Park with a grand tastings, a dessert event and Asheville Cocktail Week.

The 11th Annual North Dakota Chokecherry Festival takes place in Williston at Harmon Park, August 11-12. 

Ohio’s Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival returns for its 50th year, August 17-19, with food vendors, beer and events including contests and pageants. Find a parade, rides and brats along Bucyrus’ Sandusky Ave.

In Oklahoma, the Rush Springs Watermelon Festival returns to Chickasaw Country on August 12 in Jeff Davis Park. Festivalgoers will find fresh watermelons, food vendors, a seed-spitting contest, entertainment and family activities. 

Oregon’s first La Ruta PDX: A Gastronomic Festival will celebrate Spain with a dinner series, seminars, a trade show and the Tastes of Spain event, July 13-16. Local restaurant Toro Bravo (pictured) will host an ambassador dinner. 

In Pennsylvania, Linvilla Orchards hosts its annual Peach Festival in Media, just outside of Philadelphia, August 12. Families can pick their own peaches at the prime time, and enjoy a variety of activities for kids. 

In Rhode Island, the Charlestown Seafood Festival returns August 4-6 with a variety of seafood, activities and live music performances in Ninigret Park. 

The South Carolina Peach Festival returns to Gaffney, July 7-22, with a dessert contest, a barbecue cookoff, and plenty of local peaches. 

In South Dakota, Hill City hosts its fifth annual Wine, Brew & BBQ, August 25-26. Professionals compete in a barbecue contest, and festivalgoers will find a barbecue alley each day in addition to food and beverage vendors.

In Tennessee, Music City Food + Wine returns to Nashville, September 15-17, with more than 50 star chefs, grand tastings, demos, a harvest night, a gospel brunch and more. 

In Texas, the 11th annual Austin Ice Cream Festival will take place at Fiesta Gardens on August 12, with samples from more than 15 local ice cream makers, contests and entertainment.

In Utah, the Wasatch International Food Festival will take place at Utah Cultural Celebration Center, August 18-19, with cooking demonstrations, food vendors and live music. 

The Vermont Cheesemakers Festival returns July 16 at the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn with 40 artisan cheese makers, more than 45 food vendors, demos, workshops, and more than 20 beer, cider, spirits and wine producers. 

In Virginia, Kings Dominion is bringing a BBQ & Brew Fest to Doswell on weekends, August 5-20. 

In Washington, Groupon Bite of Seattle returns to Seattle Center, July 21-23, with more than 60 restaurants, vendors and beverage makers offering tastings, demos and cookoffs alongside live music. 

iHeartMedia Huntington hosts the West Virginia Hot Dog Festival in Downtown Huntington, July 29, with hot dog eating contests, a root beer chugging contest, and a variety of recreational activities. 

In Wisconsin, Seymour hosts Burger Fest, August 11-12. The city is where Hamburger Charlie invented the hamburger in 1885 and celebrates its claim to fame with an eating contest, a giant hamburger (pictured), a ketchup slide and more activities. 

Wyoming’s annual Cheyenne Frontier Days (July 21-30) include a Chuckwagon Cookoff (July 26-29) and pancake breakfast (July 24, 26, 28). More than 100,000 pancakes will be served for free by volunteers in Cheyenne Depot Square.

, USA TODAYPublished 6:43 a.m. ET June 28, 2017 | Updated 6:43 a.m. ET June 28, 2017

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