More than 32 million Americans attend at least one festival each year, according to Billboard. That's more than the total population of Texas, and those numbers are on the rise. With so many 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.
That's why 10Best teamed up with a panel of festival experts to nominate the top events across six categories: music, general food, specialty food, film, cultural and emerging (founded in the past five years). For the past four weeks, you've been voting for your favorites, and the results are in.
Click on each category below to see the full list of winners:
Best Cultural Festival: Water Lantern Festival (Multiple locations)
Winning festival takes place in cities across the U.S. — 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: Baja Beach Fest in Rosarito, Mexico
This new festival debuted in 2018 — Photo courtesy of Baja Beach Fest
Baja Beach Fest brings the sounds of reggaeton to the West Coast for the first time. This beachside event in October in Rosarito on the Baja Peninsula featured the likes of Bad Bunny, Farruko, Bryant Myers, and Yandel during its debut in 2018.
Best Film Festival: Ann Arbor Film Festival in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Ann Arbor hosts the nation's oldest experimental film festival — Photo courtesy of iStock / efcarlos
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: San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival in San Diego
Winning food fest comprises more than 40 events — Photo courtesy of San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival
Sandy beaches and sailboats set the scene for this weeklong festival in San Diego. Celebrity chefs, top-notch winemakers, mixologists, Master Sommeliers, brewmasters and James Beard award-winning authors join together for more than 40 events.
Best Music Festival: Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pa.
This festival draws nearly a million spectators each year — Photo courtesy of iStock / skynesher
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
Lovers of all things pickled shouldn't miss this Pittsburgh fest — Photo courtesy of Picklesburgh
Picklesburgh bills itself as "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 festivals and events!