May 2−5: HOSPICE DU RHÔNE
Walland, TN | blackberryfarm.com
The legendary Hospice du Rhône wine-tasting festival moves from a California valley to the Tennessee mountains. Blackberry Farm expects Yves Gangloff, Vieux Donjon, Epoch and Herman Story, each showcasing some of the best their Rhône grapes have to offer. The weekend also features Argentine legend and chef Francis Mallmann, a guy who cooks with only wood and cast iron and loves a glass of red.
May 3: TASTE OF DERBY
Louisville, KY | kentuckyderby.com
’Tis the night before the Derby, when all through the ’Downs, everybody was snacking at a Taste of Renown! At this high-speed culinary event, you can feast, dance, and taste wines ’til the red carpet rolls up. Belgium native Chef Bart Vandaele is this year’s guest chef, whose credits include culinary duty for Hillary Clinton and the European Union’s head diplomat. Proceeds go toward hunger relief.
May 3−5: ASHEVILLE HERB FESTIVAL
Asheville, NC | ashevilleherbfestival.com
Learn to cook, garden, and even bathe with herbs alongside 25,000 other herb fans in the heart of Asheville. This wildly popular organic food fair showcases herbs from the plate to the bottle.
May 4: CHINCOTEAGUE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
Chincoteague, VA | chincoteaguechamber.com
Tybee Island, off the coast of Georgia, has all of the tradition and eclecticism of Savannah, but its seclusion makes it a natural escape. The fourth-annual wine festival, featuring a hundred wines from around the world, brings back fun classes (roux basics and grilled fish), lunches, and brunches, all with the Tybee Lighthouse standing guard.
May 5: MEET YOUR LOCAL FARMERS
Johns Island, SC
Join Chef Fred Neuville from Fat Hen on Johns Island as he introduces several local farmers who are integral to our sustainable community. Here, you'll find fresh ingredients paired with signature cocktails from local Firefly Distillery. Sounds like a win-win evening!
May 10: SIPPIN’ IN SEERSUCKER
New Orleans, LA | Ogden Museum | ogdenmuseum.org/sippin.html
Seersucker is the best and freshest way to greet the summer and is the featured attire at this fundraiser for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The night kicks off with a fashion show for best outfit, followed by raffles, hors d’oeuvres, and, of course, some sippin’ provided by Buffalo Trace.
May 10–11: CHARLESTON FOOD FILM FESTIVAL
Charleston, SC | thefoodfilmfestival.com
Treat all five sense at the Inaugural Charleston Food Film Festival this weekend. They invite you to taste what you see on the screen, and judging by the outstanding lineup of films and attending chefs, it won't be hard to commit to that directive. We're in!
May 10–11: INTERNATIONAL BAR-B-Q FESTIVAL
Owensboro, KY | bbqfest.com
Owensboro is infused with hickory smoke from the stoked fires of team-tended BBQ pits during this taste fest. This Olympics of barbecue mixes classic car shows and arts and crafts with BBQ and Mutton Glutton (a mutton-eating contest). The party starts on Friday with live music and a river view at the BBQ Fest Friday Night Party by the Park.
May 11: NORTH CAROLINA BREWERS AND MUSIC FESTIVAL
Huntersville, NC | ncbrewsmusic.com
Ten hours of North Carolina’s finest craft beers, food, and music will converge on 265 acres of beautiful historic farmland. Bands the likes of Sol Driven Train and Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds will play the pints away.
May 15: INTERNATIONAL BISCUIT FESTIVAL
Knoxville, TN | biscuitfest.com
Knoxville transforms into a magical kingdom of biscuits—sweet, savory, crunchy, fluffy, traditional, and inventively original. Professional and home chefs alike compete in different categories, and you get to sample their creations. The concurrent Southern Food Writing Conference explores the stories behind the food.
May 16−18: MEMPHIS IN MAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BARBECUE COOKING CONTEST
Memphis, TN | memphisinmay.org
Our forks-down favorite event of the Memphis in May Festival is the World Championship of Barbecue. This is serious, folks—the top prize: $100,000. Though visitors can’t sample the teams’ plates, there are plenty of barbecue vendors to satisfy your palate. Don’t shield your eyes during the Ms. Piggie Idol, a parade of men in tutus.
May 16−18: COLLECTIVE SPIRITS
Cashiers and Highlands, NC | thebascom.org
The Bascom, a cultural and arts center in the North Carolina mountains, hosts a weekend of tastings, seminars, auctions, and wine dinners in the private homes of Highlands and Cashiers featuring top Southern chefs.
May 17−19: BAYOU BOOGALOO FESTIVAL
Mid-City New Orleans, LA | thebayouboogaloo.com
The bayou beckons at this live music and Cajun food festival where you can dance alongside the water, go canoeing, or just dip your toes in the waterways as you feast on crawfish etouffee, alligator on a stick, and po-boys stuffed with anything that swims or floats.
May 18: TUPELO HONEY FESTIVAL
Wewahitchka, FL | visitgulf.com/events
Northwest Florida is buzzing, its beekeeping traditions captured in the movie Ulee’s Gold with Peter Fonda. Smiley Apiaries celebrates spring with this day-long family festival where you can treat yourself to samples of pure, unadulterated honeys: Tupelo, holly, orange blossom, and wildflower.
May 18−19: WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BISON COOKOFF
Santa Anna, TX | santaannatex.org
The frontier gets fun each May when Texas upstages its famous beef brisket with bison. The Santa Anna mesas come alive with tasty barbecue that even has health benefits. Just be glad catching one isn’t part of the competition.
May 18−19: BLUE CRAB FESTIVAL
Little River, SC | bluecrabfestival.org
“The little town with big festivals” is Little River’s motto, and with attendance over 50,000, the Blue Crab Festival is the biggest. The 32nd year of the waterfront festival offers plenty of blue crabs for everybody in the little town and more.
May 19−20: STIR THE POT
Raleigh, NC | stirthepotluck.com
A two-part yummy fundraiser benefitting the documentary fund for the Southern Foodways Alliance. The first evening features a five-course tasting hosted by guest chef Jamie Bissonnette, of Toro in Boston; the second evening is a more traditional potluck at the home of host chef Ashley Christensen.
May 22−25: NEW ORLEANS WINE & FOOD EXPERIENCE
New Orleans, LA | nowfe.com
A bazaar of fun food events (tastings, seated wine dinners, competitions, seminars) benefiting local non-profits such as food banks, culinary education, and edible schoolyards. Don’t miss the Royal Street Stroll when the French Quarter shops open their doors and fill your glasses.
May 23: 20 MILE WINE DINNER
Keswick, VA | Keswick.com
This special dinner at Fossett’s restaurant brings together executive chef Aaron Cross and guest chef Tucker Yoder from the nearby Clifton Inn. The challenge: every ingredient, every wine, and even the guest chef himself all come from within twenty miles of the Keswick estate.
May 23−24: HOUSTON FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL
Houston, TX | hautewheelshouston.com
The Haute Wheels Food Truck Festival features the best of mobile chefs and their cutting-edge tastes. It’s a food court of the highest order, with anything from Korean/Mexican tacos to PB&J.
May 23−26: MUDBUG MADNESS
Shreveport, LA | mudbugmadness.com
One of Louisiana’s largest Cajun festivals with more than 56,000 visitors expected to show up each day to sample such delights as Creole dirty rice, fried alligator on a stick, and crawfish pies while enjoying the folk-fusion sounds of zydeco, jazz, blues, and Cajun bands.
May 27: PALM BEACH JERK FESTIVAL
West Palm Beach, FL | jerkfestival.com
This annual Memorial Day festival on the waterfront features Caribbean hip-hop, funk, and dancehall music as its soundtrack, with bammy, Jamaican patties, and jerk meat as its cuisine.
May 30−June 2: ATLANTA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL
Atlanta, GA | atlfoodandwinefestival.com
A stellar line-up of tasting tents in Buckhead plus a Friday night “Pig Out” tailgating dinner, Saturday’s “About South Dinner” featuring top chefs from ten Southern states and storytelling from Julian Van Winkle, Sunday’s Blackberry Farm brunch, and the Rathbun brothers showcasing rising Southern chefs and mixologists.