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Cuisine Celebrations to Come: Month by Month



As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look toward what 2024 will bring: Good luck, happiness and lots of delicious food.


Be sure to mark your calendars for these upcoming food festivals throughout the year:


JANUARY

Restaurant Week

Various locations

Chilly temperatures and unpredictable winter weather prove difficult for outdoor festivals. Instead, many Appalachian cities encourage people to take cover inside at one of their favorite restaurants for Restaurant Week. This weeklong celebration is different for each town but often features restaurant specials, unique dishes, and discount price points. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Charleston, West Virginia; and Asheville, North Carolina, are among the cities participating in January.


FEBRUARY

Mountain State Maple Days

West Virginia

Held on the third Saturday in February, Mountain State Maple Days feature sugar shacks across West Virginia that demonstrate the process of making maple syrup, offer maple products for sale and host tours of their farms. Try some unique offerings like maple cream, maple cotton candy and more.


MARCH

Comfort Food Cruise

Logan, Ohio

Hocking Hills State Park is hosting a handful of “Comfort Food Cruise” events this month, which take the form of a culinary crawl. This one, though, is all about comfort food. The comfort food cruise features homemade noodles, real mashed potatoes, banana bread french toast, meatloaf, garlic fries, macaroni & cheese, triple berry cobbler, hamburger and pulled pork sliders, and grilled cheese from local restaurants in the town. Plus, enjoy it all guilt-free because a portion of ticket sales goes to support local food pantries.


APRIL Feast of the Ramson

Richwood, West Virginia

This old-fashioned dinner celebrates the ramp, a wild, garlicky onion, along with potatoes, brown beans, cornbread, ham and bacon, desserts, sassafras tea and cold drinks. The plant’s leaves and roots are edible and emit a strong odor when cooked and consumed. The 84th annual event will also feature Appalachian music, arts and craft vendors and more in the self-proclaimed ramp capital of the world.


MAY

Catfish Festival

Scottsboro, Alabama

Whether you enjoy fishing for catfish or eating catfish dinners - or both - this Alabama festival has something for everyone. Held annually on the third Saturday in May along the banks of Lake Guntersville, the Catfish Festival includes arts and crafts, a car show, concerts, live entertainment, kids’ inflatables, and more. Bon Appetit Appalachia has also recognized it as a great hometown family, food and fun festival.


JUNE

Grecian Food Festival

Steubenville, Ohio

The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church makes homemade Greek food for sale to the public each June. Enjoy their famous gyros, lamb stew, roasted chicken and spanakopita. Don’t forget desserts like baklava, koulourakia, loukoumades and more. Plus, there is dancing, singing and entertainment for the whole family.


JULY

Tomato Festival

Rutledge, Tennessee

The Grainger County Tomato Festival was organized in 1992 to promote the Grainger County Tomato and has been named one of the top ten festivals in the United States by Parade Magazine. The Grainger County tomato is known for its great sweet and tart flavor, which is partly attributed to the area's limestone-based soil. The family-friendly event has one request: “Good Southern manners that will make your mamaw proud is all we ask for.”


AUGUST

Peach Festival

Hagerstown, Maryland

This annual peach festival in Maryland celebrated the region’s agricultural heritage of peach orchards. Hosted by hundreds of volunteers, the festival highlights the peach in its available desserts: homemade peach cobbler, peach pies and peach ice cream.


SEPTEMBER

World Chicken Festival

London, Kentucky

Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, opened his first restaurant, the Sanders Cafe and Museum, in the 1940s in Laurel County, Kentucky. The Annual World Chicken Festival pays tribute to this chicken heritage and is home to the World’s Largest Stainless Steel Skillet.


OCTOBER

Hickory Apple Festival

Hickory, Pennsylvania

Few flavors are as reminiscent of fall as apples. The Hickory Apple Festival, held each October, knows that well. In addition to live entertainment, unique crafters, a petting zoo, blacksmithing and other attractions, there are apple desserts and dishes aplenty. Be sure to try the fan-favorite homemade apple crisp, apple butter, hand-dipped candied/caramel apples, and more.


NOVEMBER

Fermenting Festival

Marshall, North Carolina

The Western North Carolina Fermenting Festival brings together local and regional fermenters who sell products like jun, koji, gluten-free sourdough, ciders, fruit wines, chocolates, and vegan cheese. There are also demonstrations, resources and other vendors to create a family-friendly event.


DECEMBER

Feast of the Seven Fishes Festival

Fairmont, West Virginia

Feast of the Seven Fishes is a holiday tradition where many families with Italian heritage prepare fish dishes for dinner on Christmas Eve. This festival celebrates the annual tradition in Marion County. This daylong street fair celebrates all things Italian and features tons of food and wine, music, an artisan market, a cooking school, and more.


This is just a sampling of the fairs and festivals featuring food in Appalachia. Most expand beyond just the food offerings and incorporate traditional and heritage activities. Be sure to check the websites for more information before traveling to the regions to participate in the festivities.

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