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.
Oktoberfest Weekends at Hunter Mountain 9/23-10/15
No fall activity checklist is complete without a visit to an Oktoberfest and Hunter Mountain hosts some of the best Oktoberfest weekends around. Grab a stein of your favorite German beer and enjoy all the bratwurst, pretzels and schnitzel your heart desires. After trying all the delicious German delicacies, take a scenic sky ride to enjoy the fall foliage or enjoy some live entertainment. Each weekend has a different theme, from wine tasting to automobile rally, so be sure to check out the schedule before you plan your visit.
35th Annual Great Downtown 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.
This year marks the 25th annual Taste of the North Country Food Festival where restaurants from across the region will come together to serve up some of the best food the North Country has to offer. This year’s event promises to be bigger than ever before and offering more upscale cuisine from top North Country chefs, as well as kid-friendly cuisine. Live music and fun for the whole family will be available the whole day.
Lafayette Apple Festival 10/7 & 10/8
Apple lovers rejoice! Each year the Lafayette Apple festival serves up everything from apple pancakes, pies and dumplings to apple turnovers, cider and ice cream. This year’s festival features more than 500 crafters, midway rides for the whole family, festival food court, pony rides and even a chance to press your own cider at the cider mill. Can’t get cider much fresher than that.
Taste of the Catskills 10/7 & 10/8
Enjoy a perfect fall day at this family-friendly festival which offers visitors the chance to taste some of the best produce, food, craft beer, wine and spirits of the Catskills. Held on the grounds of Maple Shade Farms, festival goers can watch and learn about how food goes from the farm to your table through workshops and activities offered all weekend. On Saturday, enjoy a harvest dinner paired with Ommegang beer and, later in the evening, cozy up around the bonfire.
11th Annual Chowderfest 10/8
What could be better on a chilly, autumn day than a piping hot cup of chowder? Local restaurants go head-to-head in a full-day competition serving up some of the best chowder around. And this isn’t just your everyday clam chowder, past winners of the People’s Choice award have included smoked corn crab chipotle chowder and roasted garlic, honey and bacon chowder.
Marking its 10th year, the NYC Food and Wine Festival has grown from a one-day event to a four-day foodie celebration with extravagant rooftop parties, appearances by celebrity chefs like Mario Batali and Giada De Laurentiis and tastings and culinary demonstrations unlike anything else in the world. Visitors can attend events around the city like the Blue Moon Burger Bash with Rachel Ray or a fried chicken and champagne party with Whoopi Goldberg and Andrew Carmellini or stick to the main event with the grand tasting at Pier 94 where dozens of Food Network stars will be performing live demonstrations throughout the day. This festival is jam packed with delicious events to choose from so make sure to plan your trip ahead of time and come hungry.
Long Island Oyster Festival 10/14 & 10/15
Come visit the East Coast’s largest waterfront festival and dine on some of the best oysters fresh from the source. Located on Long Island in Oyster Bay, the festival offers live entertainment, artisans and vendors, pirate shows, midway rides and, of course, iconic oyster shucking and eating contests. Over in the food court, festival goers can try everything from oysters on the half shell, oyster stew and steamers to lobster bisque and soft shell crab.
For the first time ever, Food Truck Festivals of America is visiting Western New York for the Rochester Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival. From tex-mex and poutine to waffles and frozen yogurt, this food truck festival gives visitors so many delicious options, it’ll be hard to choose which ones to try first. Some of the state’s most popular food trucks will descend on Genesee Valley Park to dish out eclectic and mouth-watering dishes, while visitors can taste a variety of local craft beverages and enjoy live entertainment, lawn games and craft vendors from around the city.
Why travel to Germany, when you can get a taste of everything Oktoberfest has to offer right in Chautauqua County? Dress in your finest lederhosen and visit Peek’n Peak to enjoy some authentic German music, dancing and, of course, bratwurst. There’s no better way to fight off the chill that late fall weather brings than grabbing a bier stein and enjoying Bavarian pretzels, sauerkraut and schnitzel. Visiting the Wurst Party Ever may be the best decision you make this fall.