Best Specialty Food Festival (2020)


These 10 festivals across North America celebrate specific foods – often local specialties grown or produced in the region.

  • Picklesburgh


    Picklesburgh bills itself “The Destination for All Things Pickled” for one weekend each July. Pittsburgh’s Roberto Clemente Bridge transforms into Picklesburgh, complete with a giant flying Heinz pickle balloon. Attendees can expect an assortment of foods and cocktails that feature pickled ingredients, as well as live demos and pickle merchandise.
    Photo courtesy of Picklesburgh

  • Windy City Smokeout

    Windy City Smokeout

    This three-day event in Chicago combines two things we love: live music and great barbecue. Twenty of the world’s best pitmasters serve up their smoked morsels, while top country music talent takes the stage. Headliners in 2020 include Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley and Jon Pardi.
    Photo courtesy of Windy City Smokeout

  • National Cherry Festival

    National Cherry Festival
    Traverse City, Mich.

    Northern Michigan's biggest annual event, the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, welcomes more than half a million people each July to celebrate all things cherry. Alongside cherry edibles, festival goers will find a host of family-friendly entertainment and activities, including a parade, volleyball tournament, air show and live music on the bay.
    Photo courtesy of Gary Ennis / National Cherry Festival

  • Gelato Festival America

    Gelato Festival America
    Multiple Cities

    The world’s most prestigious gelato tournament takes place across numerous festivals around the globe, including several in the United States. Festival attendees can taste all the flavors offered and vote for their favorite. The gelato chef that wins the most votes at each event continues on to the Gelato Festival World Masters.
    Photo courtesy of Gelato Festival America

  • Oregon Truffle Festival

    Oregon Truffle Festival
    Willamette Valley, Ore.

    The Oregon Truffle Festival celebrates the abundance of native culinary truffles that grown in the Willamette Valley. Truffle lovers from around the globe come to explore this rare and tasty ingredient through dinners, wine pairing classes, foraging workshops and other events held throughout Yamhill County.
    Photo courtesy of Kathryn Elsesser / Oregon Truffle Festival

  • Bacon and Beer Classic

    Bacon and Beer Classic
    Multiple Cities

    This festival celebrates two of our favorite things, bacon and craft beer. As the festival moves across the country – upcoming events are taking place in New York, Seattle and Denver – foodies get to sample beers from local breweries and taste bacon-centric dishes from innovative chefs.
    Photo courtesy of Bacon and Beer Classic

  • Tamale Festival Houston

    Tamale Festival Houston

    Things get spicy in Houston during the annual Tamale Festival in December, where the city’s top chefs dish up their best takes on tamales. Other events include live music, ballet folklorico performances, a tamale eating contest and the coveted award for Best Tamales in Houston.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Steffi Victorioso

  • Cheese and Meat Festival

    Cheese and Meat Festival
    Multiple Cities

    This Pacific Northwest food festival celebrates two beloved foods, cheese and meat. Attendees are given a charcuterie board and tasting glass for two-hour tasting sessions featuring artisan meats, cheeses, pickles, breads and beverages from around the region and the world. The event takes place in Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria.
    Photo courtesy of Matt Love Photography / Cheese and Meat Festival

  • Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest

    Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest
    Augusta, N.J.

    What started as a small crawfish festival in 1989 has crown into a three-day event featuring Cajun food and live Cajun, zydeco, Delta blues, gospel and jazz music on three stages. Culinary highlights include fresh boiled Louisiana crawfish, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, alligator sausage and seafood poboys.
    Photo courtesy of Paul S. Bartholomew Photography / Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest

  • National Fiery Foods & BBQ Show

    National Fiery Foods & BBQ Show

    The first week in March brings the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show to Albuquerque. This "Hottest Show on Earth" brings together the nation's largest collection of hot sauces, salsas, marinades, mustards and pretty much anything else that can be infused with a healthy dose of capsaicin.
    Photo courtesy of National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show


The top 10 winners in the category Best Specialty Food Festival are as follows:

  1. Picklesburgh - Pittsburgh
  2. Windy City Smokeout - Chicago
  3. National Cherry Festival - Traverse City, Mich.
  4. Gelato Festival America - Multiple Cities
  5. Oregon Truffle Festival - Willamette Valley, Ore.
  6. Bacon and Beer Classic - Multiple Cities
  7. Tamale Festival Houston - Houston
  8. Cheese and Meat Festival - Multiple Cities
  9. Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest - Augusta, N.J.
  10. National Fiery Foods & BBQ Show - Albuquerque

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning events!

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