10Best is aware that many events with large gatherings are currently being canceled or postponed. We're highlighting these award-winning community festivals in the hopes that attendance will be possible in the future.
With so many fun and unique events to choose from (and ticket prices in the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for some festivals), it can be hard to decide where to spend your time and money.
So, we asked our readers to vote for the top events across six categories: music, general food, specialty food, film, cultural and emerging (founded in the past five years). These are the winners:
Best Cultural Festival: Water Lantern Festival (Multiple Locations)
Winning festival takes place in cities across the continent — Photo courtesy of Water Lantern Festival
The Water Lantern Festival is all about connections. Magical nights in cities across the U.S. include food, live music and the beauty of thousands of lanterns adorned with letters of love, hope and dreams floating on the water.
Best Emerging Festival: Same Same But Different Music and Arts Festival in Perris, California
This California music festival debuted in 2018 — Photo courtesy of Same Same But Different Music and Arts Festival
The Same Same But Different Music and Arts Festival features four stages for live tunes, float parties and beach activities on the lake and more than 15 workshops covering topics like yoga, meditation, dance, painting and intentional movement.
Best Film Festival: Ann Arbor Film Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Winners at this film festival can qualify for the Academy Awards — Photo courtesy of Ann Arbor Film Festival
The Ann Arbor Film Festival, one of a handful of Academy Award-qualifying festivals in the country, got its start showcasing 16mm films. The program has since expanded to include more than 100 screenings in juried competitions, as well as panel discussions, gallery installations and filmmaker retrospectives.
Best General Food Festival: Pacific Wine & Food Classic in Newport Beach, California
This SoCal festival serves up the tastes of summer — Photo courtesy of Pacific Wine and Food Classic
A ticket to the Pacific Wine & Food Classic covers tastings from more than 100 purveyors of food, wine, beer and cocktails, each inspired by the summer season in SoCal. Highlights include a silent disco, wine garden, a taco and beer lounge and a clam bake.
Best Music Festival: Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
This is the second win for Musikfest — Photo courtesy of Jesse Faatz Photography / Musikfest
Musikfest was founded in 1984 with 295 performances on six stages. Today, this event in the town of Bethlehem has grown to include 500-plus shows on 16 stages over the course of 10 days, with some 900,000 music lovers in attendance each year. Past headliners have included The Chainsmokers, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley and The Goo Goo Dolls.
Best Specialty Food Festival: Picklesburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Picklesburgh also won in 2019 — Photo courtesy of 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.
Congratulations to all these winning events!