Fall arts guide: Your guide to the tastiest food festivals this season

Many of the NC State Fair vendors are local businesses, including 2017’s media favorite, Arepa Loca.
Many of the NC State Fair vendors are local businesses, including 2017’s media favorite, Arepa Loca. jleonard@newsobserver.com

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Fall Arts Guide 2018

Your guide to art openings, concerts, theater, dance, festivals and more in the Triangle.

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Until summer breaks like a fever, the Triangle’s best air conditioning is a beaded-up beer can sipped on a breezy porch.

The fall is typically packed with festivals celebrating a break in the heat and humidity. The area’s food-centric ones are some of the most popular, focusing on North Carolina chefs, breweries and time-honored food traditions.

Here are some to mark on your calendar.


The name kind of says it all, marrying a beer festival with a day of Americana bands. Beericana is one of the area’s biggest beer festivals, attracting more than 60 breweries from coast to coast, but specializes in small North Carolina breweries. The music lineup includes Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos, Empire Strikes Brass and the Jamie Mclean Band. There’s also a food truck roster more than a dozen deep.

The details: Sept. 8, noon-6 p.m. at Sugg Farm Park, 2401 Grigsby Ave., Holly Springs. Ticket options include a $45 general admission, a $75 early entry and a $15 music-only pass. beericana.com

Dinner in the Meadow

The fifth annual Dinner in the Meadow is the ultimate farm-to-table experience, with diners having supper at Meadow Lane Farm. This annual farm dinner, hosted by WUNC’s Frank Stasio and benefiting small North Carolina farms, is prepared by nine local chefs whose talents range from barbecue to pizza to new Southern.

The details: Sept. 9 5:30-8:30 p.m., Meadow Lane Farm, 571 Leonard Farm Road, Louisburg. Tickets are $100 each. dinnerinthemeadow.org

Farm to Fork Pop-Up

North Carolina’s Farm to Fork campaign works to save local family farms by connecting their crops and produce to the rise of farm to table eating. Chef Jacob Boehm of Snap Pea Underground and Catering will prepare a multi-course menu for a semi-secret pop-up dinner either outdoors or in an unconventional indoor space. Details of the dinner will be released days before it’s held. Mark your calendars for Dec. 6, for the third Farm to Fork event of the year featuring John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author of “The Potlikker Papers.” That event will be at Lavender Oaks Farm in Chapel Hill.

The details: The pop-up dinner is Sept. 19. Tickets are $200. farmtoforknc.com


The Root Cellar Cafe & Catering is holding its seventh annual celebration of the pig — described by organizers as “porktastic” — in the restaurant’s new Pittsboro location. Look for a casual event on the restaurant’s patio with small plates featuring locally raised pork instead of the seated dinner of past events. Next-door House of Hops will provide beer specials. There will be free live music, cornhole and games. You’ll find pork in every dish, even the desserts.

The details: Oct. 6, 5 p.m. Root Cellar Café & Catering, 35 Suttles Road, in Penguin Place in Pittsboro. Tickets are $50, which includes all food, entertainment and a souvenir pint cup. porkapaloozafest.com.

Festa Italiana Raleigh

A festival billed as the city’s inaugural Italian festival will celebrate Italian culture, wine and food. Think fresh pasta, pizza, meatballs, gelato, and did we say wine?

The details: Oct. 7, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tucker Street, off Glenwood Avenue. (Search for Lucky B’s at 609 Tucker St.) facebook.com/festaraleigh

North Carolina State Fair

At its heart, the North Carolina State Fair is the state’s largest food festival. The annual celebration of the Tar Heel State’s bounty and agricultural achievements stands side by side with the greatest assemblage of fried food wonders you’ll find from mountains to sea. Many of the fair’s vendors are local businesses, including last year’s media favorite, Arepa Loca. Plus, there are an array of food competitions.

The details: Oct. 11-21. NC State Fairgrounds, Raleigh. Ticket prices vary. ncstatefair.org


The Triangle’s food festival, which routinely attracts an array of top culinary talent, returns for a ninth year. This year’s lineup of chefs includes chef and TV personality Carla Hall, formerly of “The Chew,” who will launch her new book at McIntyre’s Books. The three-day festival includes dinners, with one in honor of Southern chef, the late Edna Lewis, plus demonstrations and a large tasting with dozens of chefs and beverage pros.

The details: Oct. 17-20, Chapel Hill and Carrboro venues. Tickets on sale now. terravitafest.com

Tacos, brunch and rose

Booth Amphitheatre in Cary is becoming a destination for food festivals. Tacos ‘N Taps at noon on Sept. 8 features all-you-can-eat tacos, live music, margaritas and pinata punching in a pinata playground. On Oct. 6, there are two opportunities to indulge. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. is a brunch festival, complete with bloody marys and mimosas. Stick around until 4:30 p.m. for the Rose After Hours, a festival with 75 roses, champagnes and sparkling wines. Food will be provided by food trucks.

The details: There are a variety of ticket options. Go to boothamphitheatre.com.

Food Truck rodeos

Food truck rodeos continue through the fall.

Durham Food Truck Rodeo. Durham Central Park, Durham. Sept. 2 and Nov. 4. durhamcentralpark.org.

Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo. Fayetteville Street, Raleigh. Oct. 14, noon to 6 p.m. downtownraleighfoodtruckrodeo.com

Cary Downtown Chowdown. South Academy Street, between Dry Avenue and Waldo Street, Cary. Sept. 16. townofcary.org.

Garner has a weekly Food Truck Friday on Main Street in downtown from 5 to 8 p.m. For details, go to downtowngarner.com/event/food-truck-friday-on-main.

Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson
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