10 Unique Upstate New York Food Festivals

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Tired of the usual carnivals and fairs? Then it is time to plan a trip to check out one of Upstate New Yorks Unique Food Festivals, have fun and eat like a local. From Sauerkraut to bagels, read on to find out more about 10 Unique Upstate New York Food Festivals, and local traditions that inspired them.

10 Unique Upstate New York Food Festivals

Saratoga Chowderfest

Chowderfest Image Courtesy of Discover Saratoga NY Facebook Page

Saratoga’s Annual Chowderfest is one of the area’s most highly anticipated events of the year. Family-friendly, fun and the perfect way to warm up in February. Chowderfest features more than 80 vendors—including Saratoga County’s best restaurants and caterers who serve hot bowls of chowder to event goers. Presented by the Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau and DeCrescente Distributing Company, Saratoga Chowderfest features live music, family-friendly activities and, of course, a wide variety of chowders.
*Dates: Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Gardiner Cupcake Festival

Known as the sweetest day in Ulster County, the Cupcake Festival was first held in 2009, and has become the favorite festival for those of us with a sweet tooth. Check out this festival for a day full of cupcakes, food, music, local vendors, local wine tastings, and activities for children. The first three years the festival was held on Main Street in Gardiner but moved seven years ago to the 450-acre property at Wright’s Farm, a much larger venue to allow for more cupcakes and fun. Events include a cupcake decorating contest, a cupcake 5k, cupcake tastings.

Admission $5, Kids 6 years and under are free.
Admission includes free parking- live music – free bouncy houses – free wagon rides thru the orchards.
*Dates: May 19, 2018
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Binghamton Spiedie Festival and Balloon Rally

Spiedie Fest Ballon Rally/ Via Facebook

Binghamton celebrates its signature dish – Spiedies – annually with the Spiedie Festival and Balloon Rally. With numerous events, including a hot air balloon rally, musical performances, car show, and fireworks, and of course a Spiedie cook-off featuring that unique skewered dish.  Routinely draws upward of 100,000 people.
*Dates: August 03 – August 05, 2018
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Phelps Sauerkraut Festival
Sauerkraut Chocolate Truffles at the Phelps Sauerkraut Weekend

Nestled in the Finger Lakes region just north of Geneva in Ontario County is the small village of Phelps. First settled in 1793, today Phelps is a charming little community that once was the largest producer of sauerkraut in the world.

While commercial sauerkraut production has left Phelps, the town celebrates with an annual Sauerkraut Festival the first full weekend in August. Complete with plenty of sauerkraut to eat and activities for the family, like cabbage bowling, and cabbage head decorating, making this is a fun food festival to check out.
*Dates: August (2018 dates to be announced)
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

The Monticello Bagel Festival

How popular are bagels in Monticello? Bagels are so beloved in this region that New York State legislature proclaimed the Sullivan County village “The Bagel Capital.” While this festival is fairly new, it has quickly become a large festival attracting thousands of festival-goers each year. Events include a Bagel triathlon, worlds longest bagel chain, live entertainment, vendors and culinary tastings.
*Dates: August 12, 2018
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Lowville Cream Cheese Festival

Lowville Cream Cheese Festival/ Via Facebook

This unique festival celebrates the product you spread on your bagels in the morning and Kraft Foods, the company whose plant sits proudly in the small community of Lowville with a population of less than 4,000. The focus of the festival is on the giant cheesecake Kraft provides for those attending, but there is also much more to enjoy, with lots of food, games, vendors, contests, this is a fun event for all ages!
*Date: Saturday, September 15th, 2018
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

Artsy Garlic Braids at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival/ Photo Credit: David Goehring Via Flickr

Hudson Valley’s Garlic Festival takes place at the end of September or early October. This unique festival is all about everything garlic, even things you wouldn’t generally associate with garlic contain some “stinking rose”.  Visitors can enjoy garlic ice cream, garlic fudge, garlic jelly, garlic knots and so much more. Pack an apple or two to combat garlic breath!
*Dates: September 29th & 30th 2018
*To find out more information about this festival visit http://hvgf.org/

Naples Grape Festival

Naples Grape Pie Contest
Photo Credit: Visit Finger Lakes via Flickr Creative Commons

Since 1961, the grape festival is held every September in our valley to celebrate the area’s grape harvest, talented artisans, winemakers, local and regional music and cuisine.
The Naples Grape Festival is held at the Naples High School Grounds and across the street at Memorial Town Hall from 10 am to 5 pm, rain or shine. Come and enjoy wine, food, arts, crafts and local/regional music. Bake a pie for the World’s Greatest Grape Pie Contest and sample everything “grape” that the Naples valley has to offer.
*Dates: Sep 29 -Sep 30, 2018.
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

National Buffalo Wing Festival

This weekend-long festival held at Coca-Cola Field in downtown Buffalo, New York (obviously) celebrates the Buffalo Style Chicken Wing. Events include competitive eating competitions, amateur cook-offs, pageants and the unique bobbing for wings in a baby pool filled with blue cheese dressing, and chicken wings.
*Dates: Saturday, Sept. 1st noon – 9 pm & Sunday, Sept. 2nd noon – 7 pm
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

The Rosendale Pickle Festival

This 20-year-old festival in Rosendale attracts around 7,000 pickle enthusiasts a year.  For those with adventurous taste buds deep-fried pickles, chocolate-covered pickles, pickled jalapenos and pickle ice cream are just a few of the pickle products available. Competitive events include pickle-eating and pickle juice-drinking competitions, and a home pickling contest. Live music and entertainment are also available.
*Date: November (2018 date to be announced)
*To find out more information about this festival, click here.

With fun things to do, and out-of-the-ordinary culinary offerings these festivals should be on your bucket list, whether you are a local or out of towner planning a trip to New York.

As always, I do my best to provide relevant and accurate information regarding events. With any event dates and times are subject to change, please confirm dates, times, and availability before attending an event. Events are posted on Home in the Finger Lakes from information found on, but not limited to, attraction sites, government city sites; as well as submissions from individual attractions, press releases, and PR firms. All events are subject to change without notice and Home in the Finger Lakes cannot be held responsible.

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