A guide to can’t-miss summer food festivals in Boston and beyond

Celebrate the season with festivals dedicated to oysters, pickles, lobsters, and gelato.

Maine Lobster Festival
The Maine Lobster Festival. –Tim Sullivan Photography

Summer food festivals are the stuff of poetry: Cracking open a crab claw by a pier, food truck hopping on a lawn as the sun goes down, washing down bites from the city’s best chefs with a glass of chilled rosé. Throughout the season, food-centric festivals featuring fresh seafood, creamy gelato, and innovative lamb dishes pop up around Boston and beyond. Here are some standout events to work into your summer schedule.

This list will be updated as more summer food festivals are announced in 2019.


Raspberry sorbet at the Gelato Festival
Raspberry sorbet at a Gelato Festival in another city. —Gelato Festival

Gelato Festival
Forget ice cream — gelato will be the star at Boston’s inaugural gelato festival, which will take over Boylston Plaza for two days in June with inventive flavors pitted against each other in the ultimate gelato face-off. Try parmesan gelato from SRV’s Meghan Thompson, crème brulee with caramel from Giovanna Gelato’s Eduardo Kreindel, and more — plus savory bites, spritzes, and family-friendly games. (Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2; Boylston Plaza, 800 Boylston St., Boston)


Hooked Fish Shop, the seafood market at Bow Market that slings freshly shucked oysters and premium cuts of fish, is throwing its very first Oysterfest this summer. On June 9, slurp up oysters from Wellfleet, Island Creek, Pleasant Bay, Katama Bay, and Old Cove oyster farms in the market’s open-air courtyard. Other Bow Market vendors are getting in on the action, too, by creating special sauces to accompany the bivalves. (Sunday, June 9; Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Way, Somerville)

Taste of Somerville
More than 50 neighborhood restaurants will serve bites and drinks at Assembly Row during the Taste of Somerville food festival, an evening that celebrates Somerville’s vibrant dining and drinking scene. While this year’s vendors haven’t been announced yet, last year saw all-stars like Bronwyn, Field & Vine, Juliet, and Saloon participate in the event, and 2019’s iteration promises plenty of good food and craft beer and wine. (Wednesday, June 12; Assembly Row, 330 Great River Road, Somerville)

Taste of the Seaport
Sample the Seaport’s best culinary offerings at this outdoor summer food fest with bites from Barking Crab, City Tap, Lolita Fort Point, Ocean Prime, and other neighborhood eateries. Held on the Seaport’s Fan Pier by the ICA, the fest will also feature lawn games, live music, and a beer garden. (Thursday, June 13; Parcel H at Fan Pier, 1 Marina Park Dr., Boston)


Chefs in Shorts
Some of Boston’s best chefs are firing up the grill at the 22nd annual Chefs in Shorts, a summer barbecue benefitting local nonprofit organization Future Chefs. More than 30 restaurants will participate in the lively event, including Fuji at Ink Block, Mastro’s Ocean Club, Trade, Ward 8, and the recently-opened Zuma, and guests will be able to vote for their favorite dish. Tickets also include beer, wine, and entertainment. (Friday, June 21; The Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Blvd., Boston)

Boston Pickle Fair
Grillo’s Pickles, Horman’s Best Pickles, Mamaleh’s Delicatessen, and Pickle Me Pete are among the many vendors that will showcase their pickled creations at the third annual Boston Pickle Fair this summer. Down the Road Brewing Company is even getting in on the pickle action: The brewery will host an outdoor beer garden and has partnered with Grillo’s Pickles to create Sam-Sam the Pickle Man, a dill pickle sour ale. (Saturday, June 22; The Innovation and Design Building, 21 Drydock Ave., Boston)

Lamb Jam
It’ll be all about lamb at the annual Lamb Jam, a national touring event that will land in Boston on June 23. Sixteen chefs from across New England are scheduled to compete in four categories — Asian, Latin, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern — to take home the title of Lamb Jam Boston Champion. Head to the Innovation and Design Building to watch chefs Andy Husbands (The Smoke Shop BBQ), Eric Frier (Spoke), and Liz Barwik (Sarma) whip up their best lamb dishes. (Sunday, June 23; The Innovation and Design Building, 21 Drydock Ave., Boston)


Taste of Cambridge
Taste of Cambridge. —Photo by Laurie Swope

Taste of Cambridge
Cambridge’s lauded culinary scene will be highlighted at this annual neighborhood food festival, along with wine, beer, and summer cocktails. Although this year’s vendor lineup is still in the works, last year’s participants — Craigie on Main, Formaggio Kitchen, Lone Star Taco Bar, Talulla, and more — are a clear indication that this local festival is a must for food fanatics. (Tuesday, July 16; University Park Commons, 65 Sidney St., Cambridge)

Boston Donut Fest
In a city known for its doughnuts, there’s bound to be a festival dedicated to the treat. Enter Boston Donut Fest, a day-long doughnut bonanza featuring 15 New England doughnut shops, iced coffee, food and ice cream trucks, Instagrammable murals, and entertainment. While the vendors have yet to be announced, tickets are already on sale for the saccharine event. (Sunday, July 28; Underground at Ink Block, 90 Traveler St., Boston)

Maine Lobster Festival
Would it really be a New England summer without a lobster festival? Head to Rockland, Maine, for a days-long fête full of the crustacean — 20,000 pounds of it, to be more accurate. In addition to all the lobster you could possibly eat, the festival will host a parade, a crate race, cooking contests, and a Maine Sea Goddess pageant and coronation. (Wednesday, July 31–Sunday, Aug. 4; Harbor Park, 1 Pleasant St., Rockland, Maine)


Festival attendees enjoy freshly cooked lobster at the Boston Seafood Festival. —Carolyn Bick for Boston.com

Boston Seafood Festival
The eighth annual Boston Seafood Festival will kick off on the Boston Fish Pier on Aug. 4, showcasing the region’s best ocean finds with clambakes, chef demos, a fish cutting contest, and more. While a vendor lineup is still to come, festivalgoers can expect a Harpoon beer garden to wash down all of the oysters, lobster rolls, and fried clams. (Sunday, Aug. 4; Boston Fish Pier, Boston)

Taste of the Caribbean Boston Food Fest
You may not have been able to manage a vacation in the Caribbean this summer, but you’ll be able to taste food from the region at this lively festival held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury. Tickets include access to plenty of food samples, plus a cash bar, live music, dance performances, and a raffle. (Sunday, Aug. 4; Reggie Lewis Center, 1350 Tremont St., Boston)

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival
If you have to make a weekend trip out of traveling to this festival, so be it: The Vermont Cheesemakers fest is certainly worth the drive. Vermont’s domination of the artisan cheese industry means that this event will feature a who’s-who lineup of the cheese world. More than 40 award-winning cheesemakers; local wine, craft beer, and spirits purveyors; cooking demos; and workshops will be offered at the bucolic Shelburne Farms. An education day and Vermont cheese dinner will take place the day before if one day of cheese isn’t enough. (Sunday, Aug. 11; Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Road, Vt.)