The ice has thawed. The sun is shining. It’s spring, and that means festivals - a lot of them - all across New York. Groove to country music, dabble in wine tasting, watch a movie and frolic through the flowers. Here are your must-catch festivals across the Empire State this summer.
Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally
What started as a cooking contest in the 80's has grown into one of Binghamton's most anticipated summer festivals with food, music, hot air balloons and special events that attract thousands of visitors for 3 days of pure fun. Considered one of the top hot air balloon rallies in the country, you'll want to be here for festivities as well as the local delicacies like tasty spiedies. Spiedies are small pieces of delicious meat, such as lamb, beef, pork or chicken, that are skewered and grilled to perfection--if you haven't tried these yet, do your taste buds a favor and have a bite this August. Binghamton; tickets start at $20; August 4-6
NYS Chinese Lantern Festival
See the New York State Fairgrounds like you’ve never seen them before. From April 14th to June 24th, thousands of lights will create sculptural masterpieces all over the grounds. More 20 new displays, incredible works created by Chinese artists, and beautiful illuminated archways will dazzle you. There will be artisan crafts and traditional Chinese performances to boot. Syracuse; Tickets start at $15; April 14 - June 24
The Great NYS Wine and Food Festival
Come sample New York-made food and wine products while enjoying live musical performances at this Thousand Islands foodie festival. Taste locally crafted candy, cheeses, nuts, sauces, herbs, maple syrup, and, of course, New York State wines. Participating exhibitors come from Long Island to Buffalo to the Finger Lakes to the upper reaches of New York state, into the heart of the Thousand Islands for a delicious weekend of food and fun. Last year’s exhibitors included Lakeland Winery, Finger Lakes Flour, Vetter Vineyards and more. Clayton; $10; June 9 - 11
Taste of Country Music Festival
The lineup at this three-day country music festival at Hunter Mountain will knock your cowboy hat off. This year’s headliners are Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert and Sam Hunt - but those megastars are just the tip of the honky-tonk iceberg. Other performers include Chris Young, Kip Moore, Cody Johnson and more. Come for the day or the entire weekend. With many camping options available, you can enjoy the lovely June weather by pitching a tent or bring an RV. If camping is not your thing, try lodging nearby at the Kaaterskill Mountain Club, just a seven minute drive from the festival grounds. Hunter; Tickets start at $185; June 9 - 11
The Mattituck Strawberry Festival
Sweet, juicy and ready for picking, the North Fork’s strawberry crop reaches its peak in mid-June. Experience it for yourself at the 63rd Annual Mattituck Strawberry Festival where music, arts and crafts, carnival rides, food and of course, strawberries, come together for Long Island’s largest strawberry fest and charity fundraiser. Mattituck; admission starting at $5; June 15 - 18
Adirondack Wine and Food Festival
Snack while you sip at this Lake George festival! Enjoy unlimited samples from regional wineries, breweries, distilleries and specialty food vendors. Add some new dishes to your cooking repertoire with food demonstrations. It’s a wine lover’s paradise. Lake George; tickets start at $27; June 24-25
Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival
In its 40th year of music and innovation, the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival will host over 20 renowned jazz artists for two days of performances at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. One of the world’s longest running jazz festivals and a hallmark of summer in upstate New York, pack your cooler full of food and drinks, picnic on the SPAC lawn and groove to the music with family and friends. Saratoga Springs; GA tickets start at $65; June 24 - 25
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