Food Festivals in North Carolina

by TM Petaccia

Spring and summer bring two exciting things to Charlotte and the entire state of North Carolina: food and festivals. But here, they often come together as one delightful experience – food festivals. Let’s take a look at the upcoming months and the mouthwatering events that you can mark on your calendars. Keep in mind that more festivals will be added as details are finalized for those still in the planning stages.

Moo, Brew & ‘Que Music Fest – April 15-16

Location: Avidxchange Music Factory Festival Grounds, Charlotte

Indulge in over 75 beers from 25 local, regional, and national breweries while enjoying the lively atmosphere filled with local music artists. To satisfy your hunger, fifteen local restaurants and food trucks will compete for the titles of best burger and best barbecue. This festival is a perfect combination of great food, refreshing brews, and fantastic music. Tickets range from $35 to $100.

Moo, Brew & 'Que Music Fest

Charlotte StrEATs Tasting Tour – April 15

Location: Gateway Village Promenade, Charlotte

Representing iconic Charlotte neighborhoods, various restaurants will serve dishes that embody the spirit of their communities. As you explore the tasting tents, you’ll have the chance to enjoy craft cocktails created by renowned mixologists, adding an extra element of flavor to the experience. General admission tickets are priced at $85, while VIP tickets are available for $140, offering additional perks such as early access and a StrEATs Recipe Book.

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Charlotte StrEATs Tasting Tour

Charlotte StrEATs Festival – April 16

Location: Gateway Village Promenade, Charlotte

Celebrate Charlotte’s vibrant culinary scene with feature vendors, cooking demonstrations by local food experts, and a presentation by Food Network’s own Alex Guarnaschelli. Immerse yourself in the heart of the city’s food culture with food trucks, live music, art, and more. Make sure to get your wristbands for a craft cocktail tasting of six handcrafted cocktails by local mixologists. While attendance is free, registration is strongly recommended.

Charlotte StrEATs Festival

Charlotte Wine & Food Week – April 18-23

Location: Various venues in Charlotte

Returning for its 35th year, the Charlotte Wine & Food Week promises a delightful experience combining fundraising with impeccable wine and food pairings. With events such as wine tastings, wine dinners, seminars, and auctions, this week-long celebration is not to be missed. Proceeds from the event will benefit four local children’s charities. Explore various locations and indulge in the art of wine and gastronomy.

Charlotte Wine & Food Week

NC Pickle Festival – April 29

Location: Downtown Mt. Olive, NC

Prepare yourself for a unique street fair and community festival that combines the essence of Mt. Olive, the town, and Mt. Olive, the company – all centered around pickles. Dive into free pickle tastings, witness a pickle eating contest, and explore the flavors of the pickle recipe contest. With activities such as a pickle train, mascot race, and butterfly garden, this festival offers fun for the whole family. Don’t forget to check out the live music and carnival rides too.

NC Pickle Festival

Charlotte Grilled Cheese Festival – April 29

Location: CATS Light Rail – South End Station (S. Tryon Street), Charlotte

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April is National Grilled Cheese Month, and what better way to celebrate than with a festival dedicated to this cheesy delight? Enjoy mouthwatering bites of melty goodness paired with refreshing drinks from Bloody Mary and Mimosa bars. Tickets for this cheesy extravaganza range from $22 to $37.

Charlotte Grilled Cheese Festival

Jiggy With The Piggy BBQ Competition & Festival – May 5-6

Location: Downtown Kannapolis

Get ready for one of the largest BBQ events in the United States, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. With its engaging lineup, including a People’s Choice Pork Tasting Contest, fireworks, concerts, food stalls, craft vendors, and even a kid’s zone, this festival guarantees a fantastic time for all. Be sure to mark your calendars for this smokin’ event.

Jiggy With The Piggy BBQ Competition

Carolina BBQ Festival – May 7

Location: Camp North End, Charlotte

Experience the tradition of whole hog BBQ while supporting local and national charities. This festival brings together pitmasters from across the Southeast, who will showcase their skills in creating mouthwatering BBQ dishes. Enjoy live music, sample vendor offerings, and sip on refreshing wine, beer, and cocktails. VIP tickets are priced at $150, while general admission tickets are available for $75.

Carolina BBQ Festival

The Cheerwine Festival – May 20

Location: Main St., Salisbury, NC

Join the city of Salisbury in a street carnival to celebrate the iconic North Carolina beverage – Cheerwine. This exciting event offers a “Taste of Carolina Originals” food tastings experience, Cheerwine tastings, local breweries, kids’ activities, live entertainment, and much more. Keep an eye out for additional details as they are unveiled.

The Cheerwine Festival

Empanada Fest – May 27

Location: Camp North End, Charlotte

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Embark on an empanada adventure as vendors and food trucks from various countries come together to showcase this flavorful delight. Indulge in a wide variety of empanadas, each representing a unique culinary tradition. The festival is free to attend, and food purchases can be made directly from the vendors.

Empanada Fest

Crave Charlotte – Grand Culinary Celebration – June 3

Location: The Barrel Room at Triple C, Charlotte

Prepare your taste buds for a culinary extravaganza featuring local chefs, mixologists, brewers, and world-class wines. With an array of offerings, this event promises a delightful experience for food and wine enthusiasts. General admission tickets are priced at $55, with early admission and VIP options available at $65 and $85 respectively.

Crave Charlotte - Grand Culinary Celebration

Eat Blk Charlotte 3rd Annual Food & Culture Festival – June 10

Location: Victoria Yards, Charlotte

Celebrate culture and community with a festival showcasing the best black-owned food trucks in Charlotte. Alongside the mouthwatering food offerings, enjoy music and activities for kids, creating a fun-filled environment for all. Attendance is free, and early entry tickets are available for $25.

Eat Blk Charlotte 3rd Annual Food & Culture Festival

Appalachian Farms and Food Festival – June 24

Location: Shipley Farms, Vilas, NC

Join the Appalachian Farms and Food Festival to raise awareness about farm loss in North Carolina, particularly in the western region. This festival brings together twelve talented North Carolina chefs who will present an array of dishes. The event also features beverages from local breweries, distilleries, wineries, and meaderies. Immerse yourself in the flavors of North Carolina with tickets priced at $125.

Appalachian Farms and Food Festival

NC Blackberry Festival – July 14-15

Location: Downtown Lenoir, NC

Get ready for two days of celebrating North Carolina blackberries at the NC Blackberry Festival. Indulge in the world’s largest patchwork blackberry cobbler, take part in eating contests, witness colorful parades, enjoy live music, and explore all the festivities this event has to offer.

NC Blackberry Festival

Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival – July 29

Location: Fair Bluff River Walk, Fair Bluff, NC

Celebrate North Carolina’s sweetest fruit at the Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival. Enjoy a day filled with award ceremonies, watermelon eating contests, live music, festival food, games, and even pageants like the NC Watermelon Queen. It’s a fun-filled event for the whole family.

With these exciting food festivals coming up, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to discover new flavors, enjoy live music, and celebrate North Carolina’s vibrant culinary scene. So mark your calendars and get ready for a summer filled with delicious memories!

Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival

Hook’d Up Bar and Grill