Food & Drink

Mark your calendars. These are the 16 best festivals this spring for foodies and beer lovers.

Downtown Raleigh hosts one of the state’s largest beer festivals, pouring brews from more than 100 North Carolina breweries and drawing more than 50 food trucks. Brewgaloo takes place April 27-28 in City Plaza and Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.
Downtown Raleigh hosts one of the state’s largest beer festivals, pouring brews from more than 100 North Carolina breweries and drawing more than 50 food trucks. Brewgaloo takes place April 27-28 in City Plaza and Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. Courtesy of Brewgaloo

After hunkering down and hibernating for the winter, we’re all pretty stir crazy by spring.

Thankfully, the Triangle leaps into festival mode to help us all reenter society. Here are the food and street festivals worth checking out this spring, many drawing dozens of breweries and local restaurants.

Bull City Food & Beer Experience

The details: Feb. 25, 4 p.m. Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham. bullcityexperience.com

The 6th annual festival features more than 30 Durham restaurants and food trucks serving plates of food as well as 30 craft breweries from around the world pouring brews, all within the glass palace of DPAC. Tickets appear to be sold out at press time.

Durham Food Truck Rodeo

The details: March 11, noon to 4 p.m. Durham Central Park, Durham. durhamcentralpark.org

This the second of five food truck rodeos scheduled this year in Durham, which typically bring more than 50 food trucks and a roster of local breweries. More are sheduled June 17, Sept. 2 and Nov. 4.

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The Durham Food Truck Rodeo at Durham Central Park typically brings more than 50 food trucks and a roster of local breweries. 2015 News & Observer File Photo - Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com

St. Patrick’s Day

The details: March 17. Downtown Raleigh. raleighstpats.org

The annual parade (10 a.m. to noon) and festival falls on a Saturday this year. A host of food vendors will be on hand to balance this holiday that’s often about the beer. Of course, if beer is what you want, head to Isaac Hunter’s Tavern, 414 Fayetteville St., in downtown Raleigh by 2 p.m. for an epic bar crawl. Find details at raleighstpats.com.

Taste: A Celebration of Food and Drink

The details: April 18-22. tastetheevent.com

The multi-day event spotlights Triangle chefs with a grand tasting, gluten-free wine-pairing dinner and artisan cocktail dinner. Tickets are sold out for the grand tasting, but they remain for the dinners.

Cary’s Downtown Chowdown and Rodeo on Rosemary

Cary and Chapel Hill host their food truck rodeos on the same day: April 22. Go to the town’s respective sites for details.

Cary: South Academy Street, between Dry Avenue and Waldo Street, Cary. townofcary.org. A food truck rodeo in downtown Cary features a roster of Triangle food trucks, plus beer and wine vendors. The lineup hadn’t been announced yet.

Chapel Hill: noon to 4 p.m. East Rosemary Street in front of Wallace Parking Deck. 15 trucks, plus kids activities. facebook.com/CHCommunityArts

Brewgaloo

The details: April 27-28. City Plaza and Fayetteville Street, Downtown Raleigh. shoplocalraleigh.org/brewgaloo

Downtown Raleigh hosts one of the state’s largest beer festivals, pouring brews from more than 100 North Carolina breweries and drawing more than 50 food trucks. A Friday night block party is at City Plaza, with breweries pouring samples of beers that won’t be around on Saturday. Those tickets are $45. The Saturday festival is free to attend, with samples and full pints available for purchase.

Garner Strawberry Festival

The details: April 29, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Technology Drive off of N.C. 42, Garner

A strawberry in the springtime is a thing to be celebrated, and the Garner-Cleveland Chamber of Commerce throws this free festival each year.

Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival

The details: May 5, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Koka Booth Amphitheatre, 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary. uncorkthefun.com

More than 20 wineries will pour more than 200 North Carolina wines. General admission is $33 in advance, $35 on site and an early entry VIP ticket is $49 in advance and $55 on site.

Smithfield Ham & Yam Festival

The details: May 5, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Downtown Smithfield. hamandyam.com.

The 34th annual event celebrates two of Johnston County’s main products: pork and sweet potatoes.

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Smithfield Ham & Yam Festival, on May 5, is the 34th annual celebration of two of Johnston County’s main products: pork and sweet potatoes. News & Observer File Photo - Colin Campbell ccampbell@newsobserver.com

Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo

The details: May 6, noon to 6 p.m. Fayetteville Street, Raleigh. downtownraleighfoodtruckrodeo.com

Promising a half mile of food trucks, this first of four rodeos in downtown Raleigh draws more than 50 local food trucks. Upcoming rodeos are June 10 (noon to 6 p.m.); Aug. 5 (3 to 9 p.m.) and Oct. 14 (noon to 6 p.m.)

Thrive NC

The details: May 10-11. City Market, Raleigh. gothrivenc.com

This new event presented by Blue Cross NC features two days focused on food. On May 10, the Thrive NC Summit will feature experts on food systems talking about childhood obesity, access to fresh food and food insecurty. A two-day food festival showcases chefs from 50 North Carolina restaurants with food and beverage. Tickets go on sale later this month. There also is a community service element for the public.

Cary Beer and Bacon Festival

The details: May 19, noon to 6 p.m. Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary. beerandbacon.com

Pairing two of life’s wonderful things, the Cary Beer and Bacon Festival features 75 breweries and 10 different bacons from across the country. Beer-only tickets are $39, and beer and bacon tickets are $59.

The venue is getting more into the food festival game. Look for Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival, July 27-28; Tacos ‘N Taps, Sept. 8; and Brunch Festival, Oct. 8. Go to boothamphitheatre.com/events/ for details.

Durham Blues & Brews Festival

The details: May 19, 5 to 10 p.m. Durham Central Park, Durham. durhambluesandbrewsfestival.com.

Held at the home of Durham’s farmer’s market, 20 mostly Triangle breweries will pour unlimited samples of beer while a lineup of blues bands perform. Tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the gate.

Got to Be NC Festival
The Got To Be NC Festival at the North Carolina Fairgrounds celebrates the good stuff that comes from North Carolina, most of which is food. The festival takes place May 19-21. 2013 News & Observer File Photo - Travis Long tlong@newsobserver.com

Got to Be NC Festival

The details: May 19-21. North Carolina Fairgrounds, Raleigh. gottobencfestival.com.

This three-day festival celebrates the good stuff that comes from North Carolina, much of which is food. Dozens of foods, from beer to jam to barbecue sauce and bacon, will be available for sample in the state’s largest gathering of local products this side of the North Carolina State Fair.

Farm to Fork

The details: The annual event is going year-round, with three seasonal events scheduled this year. Tickets are now on sale. Proceeds support beginning farmer programs at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and Breeze Farm. farmtoforknc.com

▪ Farm to Fork Picnic. June 3. Farmers and chefs are paired together to create dishes that celebrate locally sourced food. Fearrington Village in Pittsboro. Tickets are $100 per adult, $50 for ages 13-20 (no alcohol), and kids 12 and under are free.

▪ Pop-up dinner. Sept. 16. The dinner features Jacob Boehm of Snap Pea Underground & Catering, who is known for his monthly dinners in outdoor settings. Details will be announced days before the events, but seasonal ingredients will be on the menu. Tickets are $200 per person.

▪ Celebration of Southern food. Dec. 6. The featured guest is John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and author of the critically acclaimed “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South.” Lavender Oaks Farm in Chapel Hill. Dishes will be prepared by six chefs at different stations. Tickets are $45 per person.

Farm to Fork 2015
At the Farm to Fork Picnic on June 3, farmers and chefs are paired together to create dishes that celebrate locally sourced food. In 2015, Wyatt Dickson, left, and Ben Adams of Picnic prepared samples of their BBQ. Sara D. Davis

Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson

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