From chicken spiedies and grape pie to bagels and barbeque, food is serious business in New York State. Whether you’re a cheese aficionado, Buffalo wing enthusiast or in the mood to eat some of the best barbeque in the state, food festivals in New York have got you covered. Think beyond your regular carnival, fried-food fare, and try some of the freshest, regional treats you can’t get anywhere else, all while enjoying live music, food competitions, rides and games for the whole family. Just don’t forget your appetite.
Troy Pig Out 7/15
Once a year, Troy hosts a fun-filled day where chefs and barbeque lovers come together to compete for bragging rights to the best ribs, pulled pork and brisket in town. Visitors get the chance to judge who should be crowned the Dinosaur BBQ People’s choice winner, while enjoying live music, food and craft vendors as well as a fireworks show to cap off the day’s events.
The town of Hamburg, NY considers itself the birthplace of the hamburger thanks to Frank and Charles Menches, who first served up burgers at the Erie County State Fair in 1885. So it’s only fitting that Hamburg hosts a day-long Burgerfest where visitors can enjoy arts and craft vendors, a car show and most importantly, burgers.
The Finger Lakes are known for their wine, and what goes better with wine than some fresh, artisanal cheeses. Learn how the cheesemakers whip up ricotta, enjoy a wine and cheese pairing class or take a leisurely hayride and a self-guided tour through the farm – there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Eden Corn Fest 8/3-6
One of the largest and longest running festivals in Western New York, the Eden Corn Fest has been shucking corn for over 50 years. The festival happens every August when the town’s sweet corn harvest is ripe for the picking. The festival offers cornbread and corn chowder cooking contests, a midway with over 25 rides, 30 games and 50 food stands, a craft show and a classic auto show.
Like Buffalo wings in Western New York, Binghamton’s Spiedie sandwich has been a regional staple for many years. Each year Binghamton pays homage to this regional treat with a three-day celebration packed with live music, craft vendors, food trucks and one of the top hot air balloon rallies in the country. No trip to New York would be complete without having a spiedie sandwich, so you might as well go big or go home with this trip.
Monticello, NY claims to be the birthplace of the breakfast staple we all know and love – the bagel. In fact, in 2013 Monticello was named the “Bagel Capital” in a resolution passed by the State Assembly and Senate. Now lovers of this carb-loaded treat can celebrate the bagel in all its glory for a full day of celebration in Monticello, where guests are invited to enjoy over 50 food and craft vendors and indulge in all the tye-dye and pizza bagels they can handle.
We may not be in the South, but that doesn’t mean New York doesn’t take its barbeque seriously. Every year, thousands of visitors converge on New Paltz to judge some of the best ribs around at the Hudson Valley Ribfest. Visitors can enjoy live bands, craft beers and finger-licking good barbeque. The festival even offers a VIP experience for the serious barbeque connoisseur which includes unlimited ribs, unlimited beverages, exclusive sampling of Hudson Valley Ribfest vendors, dessert and a private tent to enjoy the music. Make sure you come hungry.
If Buffalo wing eating contests and bobbing for wings in a vat of blue cheese sounds like your idea of a good time, you need to visit the National Wing Festival in Buffalo. Thousands of people from across the country visit Buffalo to take part in the National Wing Festival and indulge in some of the best chicken wings in the nation. The world renowned Anchor Bar squares up against some native Buffalo heavyweights like Duff’s Famous Wings face off in a battle to see whose wings reign supreme.
Lowville Cream Cheese Festival 9/16
Everyone might get their bagels from Monticello, but make sure to get your cream cheese fresh from Lowville. Each year, the town shuts down its streets for a festival to celebrate cream cheese in all its glory. In 2013, the Lowville Cream Cheese festival earned a Guinness Book World Record for the world’s largest cheese cake with a cake that came in at a whopping 6,900 pounds. Kraft Heinz has continued the giant cheesecake tradition each year since, so come and eat all the cheesecake your heart desires.
Naples Grape Festival 9/23-24
The Naples Grape festival has everything one looks for in a food festival – great wine, food, talented craft vendors and local music. But it has one aspect that makes it truly special and that’s the swoon-worthy grape pie. Bakers and pie lovers come from all over to partake in the Annual Grape Pie contest and the participants never disappoint. You won’t want to leave without trying a slice… or two.
Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival 9/29 -10/1
New York is the second largest producer of apples in the country and home to nearly 700 orchards, so it’s only fitting that Ithaca celebrates the state’s official fruit at the peak of its harvest. This year marks the 35th annual Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival, where visitors can enjoy apples, cider, baked goods and wine and beer tastings. The festival also features a craft fair with jewelry, textiles and glass art. Just make sure you don’t leave without an apple cider donut.
Ever tried garlic ice cream? How about garlic chocolate truffles? Well if not, you’re in for a treat when visiting the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival. The festival features a “garlic marketplace” with gourmet garlic-infused foods with everything from garlic sausage and hot sauce to more adventurous foods like garlic chocolate. This three-day festival features live music, cooking demonstrations, craft vendors and a children’s activities tent with a climbing wall. Just be sure to pack some breath mints for this one.