The temperatures are rising, the mosquitos are biting, and the sunglasses are on. Yep, summer is in full swing! But it wouldn’t truly feel like summer without getting out and enjoying the rays, which is why we’ve compiled a pretty handy list of hot festivals that you should check out across the southeast. Be sure to pack the bug spray!
Okra Festival – Burkeville, AL – August 27 – Praise be to the vegetable that can survive the summer heat in Alabama! (Or at least that’s how this festival started.) Today, it’s one of the highlights of festival season, and includes plenty of food besides okra, plus drinks, music, and cultural festivities. And did you know? Okra contains no saturated fats or cholesterol!
The 75th Annual Johnson County Peach Festival – Clarksville, AK – July 20-23 – Now known as the oldest festival in the state, this peach festival is sure to lure you in with more than just the sweet nectar of its fruit. Touting a Mrs. Peach Contest, banana split contest, diaper derby, greased pig race, and lip sync contest, there’s definitely something for everyone, even if you’re not a fan of the fruit.
37th Annual Cave City Watermelon Festival – Cave City, AK – August 11-13 – Free admission, free entertainment, and ALL of the watermelon…what could be better? This festival is in Cave City for a reason – they pride themselves on growing the sweetest watermelon in the world. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal if you ask us!
Lobsterfest – Key West, FL – August 11-14 – This annual event kicks off the opening of Lobster Season in true Key West fashion–with a street party! A true “crustacean celebration,” the festival includes a lobster boil and a lobster brunch, but there’s also a free concert and other activities that non-seafood enthusiasts can enjoy too.
Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival – Atlanta, GA – July 17th – Take your revenge on evil, GMO-ridden tomatoes at this unique festival benefiting Georgia Organics. Sample tons of food and drink made with local produce and show this fruit who’s boss with every vicious bite.
Atlanta Ice Cream Festival – Atlanta, GA – July 23rd – I scream, you scream, we all scream…for a festival all about ICE CREAM! While you can certainly count on enjoying a cone or two of your favorite flavor, you can also expect to learn a new fitness routine, listen to live music, and take part in family-friendly health and wellness activities! Satisfy your sweet tooth without overloading your blood sugar at this creamy, dreamy, summer fest.
Red River Balloon Rally – Shreveport, LA – July 14-20 – Up the ante on your summer with the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship in Shreveport. Enjoy fireworks, live music by Thompson Square, and the enchanting sight of dozens of brightly colored hot air balloons.
Louisiana Seafood Festival – New Orleans, LA – September 2-4 – Nothing says Louisiana like seafood and live music. If you’re visiting, take a break from Bourbon Street and discover the many ways you can cook up fresh catches like oyster, crawfish, shrimp, and more!
The Neshoba County Fair – Philadelphia, MS – July 22-29 – Nicknamed “Mississippi’s Giant House Party,” the Neshoba County Fair was established in 1889 and originally started as a platform for politics. Now, it’s grown into one of the state’s largest fairs to date, featuring everything from great live music (The Charlie Daniels Band!) to every ride and fried food imaginable.
Coon Dog Day Festival – Saluda, NC – July 9 – No, that’s not a typo. Unlike CORN dogs (delicious), COON dogs are a type of hunting dog (please don’t eat), and the town of Saluda celebrates them every year with a quirky street festival. This one’s definitely for pet lovers. All dogs, coon or not, are invited to attend.
May River Shrimp Festival – Bluffton, SC – July 14-15 – Shrimp out your summer with a festival celebrating this delicious food. Featuring local shrimp from area restaurants and even a shrimp heading contest, it’s sure to a-peel to you.
Pageland Watermelon Festival – Pageland, SC – July 15-16 – How can you go wrong with a festival that uses the hashtag #EatMoreMelons? Participate in the Melon Mile 5K, check out the beauty pageants, or sign up for the watermelon seed spitting competition.
Nashville Hot Chicken Festival – Nashville, TN – July 4 – Hot chicken is famous in Nashville, so it’s no wonder that this poultry dish has its own festival. In fact, the Nashville Hot Chicken Coalition (yes, it’s a thing) has a great slogan: To Protect and Burn. (Not something you hear every day, eh?) Give your tastebuds some heat in the 4th of July heat.
Float Fest – Martindale, TX – July 16-17 – Can’t choose between floating the river (a Texas past time) and seeing your favorite bands in concert? Do both! Float Fest combines live music with tubes and water, making for one cool combination on two hot summer days.
Bastille Days Dallas – Dallas, TX – July 14-15 – Bastille Days started as “Bastille on Bishop” and has become so successful that they added another day and another location. A celebration of all things French, this family-friendly festival features costumes, food, parades, and more. Channel your inner Frenchman, don a beret, and head to the arts district in Bishop or Flora!
Richmond Jazz Festival – Richmond, VA – August 11-14 – One of the nation’s premier jazz festivals, the Richmond Jazz Fest boasts a stellar line-up of various jazz performers, as well as chef demonstrations, wine tastings, and plenty of food and drink booths.
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