APRIL 30-MAY 2
BREAUX BRIDGE, LA.
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival: Louisiana’s crawfish capital celebrates its favorite crustacean and all things Cajun. Thirty zydeco and Cajun bands such as Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys provide nonstop music, and there’s plenty of room to dance. (Free Cajun dance lessons are available.) But the focus is on eating the mudbugs fried, boiled, in étouffée, stuffed in sausages, or as crawdogs. Entry $5-$15. 337-332-6655, www.bbcrawfest.com
Ninth Avenue International Food Festival: This weekend street fair proves that something good is always cooking in Hell’s Kitchen. You’d have to book a round-the-world junket to sample all the tastes in the smorgasbord of stalls along the avenue between 37th and 57th streets. A million New Yorkers show up for shrimp corn fritters, mango barbecue wings, chorizo sandwiches, feta-stuffed quail, oysters on the half shell, alligator nuggets, spit-roasted pork, soft-shell crabs, and good old American apple pie. Count on live entertainment (including belly dancing) on Sunday. 212-581-7217, ninthavenuefoodfestival.com
MAY 19-23 NANTUCKET
Nantucket Wine Festival: It’s too early to break out the white suits and dresses, but that’s good if you’re standing up trying to balance small plates of food and a glass of red wine. Now in its 14th year, this festival features more than 190 plonk-free wineries. Three Grand Tastings and a slew of dinners and luncheons are the heart of the weekend, but seminars and symposia explicate all you ever wanted to know about champagne, Burgundy, cheeses, and West Coast pinot. Move fast to get discounted tickets through March 31. Events $75-$750. 508-228-1128, www.nantucketwinefestival.com
MAY 28-31 MADISON, WIS.
World’s Largest Brat Fest: For the uninitiated, a brat is the hot dog’s brawny, spicy brother, and this holiday weekend picnic with live music hails both summer’s onset and Wisconsin’s love of fist food. Hot dogs and soy-based sausages are also on the menu, and the condiments include no less than seven choices of mustards. If you’re in town on Saturday morning, the Dane County Farmers’ Market takes place around the state capitol. 608-267-3976, www.bratfest.com
JUNE 18-20 ASPEN, COLO. Food & Wine Magazine Classic: Film buffs have the Oscars, but between the magazine, the TV shows, and the lesser events that lead up to this blowout, Food & Wine dominates the world of celebrity gastronomy. This festival is always star-studded, but the real meat lies in the symposia, including this year’s defense of American chardonnay and a session championing grilled cheese. Watch the 2009 Top Chef winner challenge Top Chef Master Rick Bayless, or exchange restaurant secrets with other foodies. Going to Aspen accrues major bragging rights. $1,185. 877-900-WINE, www.foodandwine.com/classic
PATRICIA HARRIS AND DAVID LYON
Events are sometimes canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; call or check online. Patricia Harris and David Lyon can be reached at email@example.com. Read their food and travel blog at www.hungrytravelers.com.