Eating Food and Drinks | © Stokpic / Pexels
Eating Food and Drinks | © Stokpic / Pexels
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The Best 2017 Food & Drink Events in the Southern United States

Picture of Leena Kollar
Updated: 22 June 2017
One thing the southern United States is known for is good food. Down home southern cooking, fried everything and classic southern drinks are what attract foodies across the nation. This year, there are many ways to experience southern cuisine so check out these food and drink events that are sure to delight your senses.

July 2017

Nashville Hot Chicken Festival – July 4

Those who enjoy a little kick to their chicken will want to stop by the Nashville Hot Chicken Festival. Since 2007, this festival has paid tribute to one of Nashville’s most popular foods. It is a free event and takes place at East Park Recreation Center on July 4. The first 500 people in line will receive free hot chicken samples, and other visitors can enjoy hot chicken from local food vendors, as well as beer and other eats. There will also be an amateur cooking competition worth watching, while a fire truck parade will begin at 10:30 am before gates open to the public at 11 am. Live music will play throughout until the event ends at 3 pm.

East Park Recreation Center, 700 Woodland St., Nashville, TN, USA,+1 615 862 8448

Hot fried chicken
Hot fried chicken | © Pexels

Memphis Eats Food Festival – July 15 & 16

This two-day event features favorite foods by local chefs and live music by local bands. It runs from 11 am to 8 pm at Robert R. Church Park and tickets cost $12. A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Memphis Eats Foundation and the Mid-South Food Bank.

Robert R. Church Park, Fourth at MLK Ave., Memphis, TN, USA

Pulled Pork Over Pancakes
Pulled Pork Over Pancakes | © Anthony J / Flickr

August 2017

Magic City Mac N’ Cheese Festival – August 6

Taking place in Birmingham, the first ever Magic City Mac N’ Cheese Festival will feature a variety of mac n’ cheese dishes from local restaurants, food trucks and caterers. The area outside of Avondale Brewing is being blocked off so that visitors can also enjoy time at the back of the brewery during the festival. Future Elevators will provide music for the event, which is donating all proceeds to Community Grief Support, which helps fund support groups, grief counseling and community grief education. Tickets to the festival are $15 for early birds and $20 when purchased on the day.

Avondale Brewing Company, 201 41st St S, Birmingham, AL, USA,+1 205 777 5456

Chili mac n’ cheese
Chili mac n’ cheese | © jeffreyw / Flickr

September 2017

Kentucky Bourbon Festival – September 11-17

The city of Bardstown, Kentucky is the Bourbon Capital of the World. With a bourbon making history that dates back to 1776, Bardstown is hosting its six-day Kentucky Bourbon Festival to celebrate. There will be events for people of all ages over the course of the festival, including a car show, an auction, a golf tournament and a black-tie bourbon gala. And of course, there will be plenty of bourbon, food and entertainment to enjoy. Tickets for individual events vary in price and can be purchased here.

Kentucky Bourbon Festival, 1 Court Square, Bardstown, KY, USA,+1 502 348 3623

Glass of Bourbon Whiskey
Glass of Bourbon Whiskey | © ctj71081 / Flickr
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Music City Food + Wine Festival – September 15-17

Founded by the band Kings of Leon, world renowned chef Jonathan Waxman, event production company C3 Presents, and Vector Management, the Music City Food + Wine Festival is set to take place again in Nashville this September. With several different events taking place, the festival offers three days of food and fun. The Chef Showcase will feature top Nashville chefs who will serve samples of their classic dishes. On Sunday there will be a Gospel Brunch, with food prepared by chefs and a live music performance. There’s also Harvest Night, which takes place on Saturday, and mixes signature dishes from world-renowned chefs with a musical tribute to steel pedal guitarist Robert Randolph. The festival will take place at both Bicentennial Park and Walk of Fame Park.

Bicentennial Park, 600 James Robertson Pkwy, Nashville, TN, USA,+1 615 741 5280

Walk of Fame Park, 121 4th Ave S, Nashville, TN, USA, +1 800 657 6910

October 2017

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Best Memphis Burger Fest – October 7

This annual event serves as a fundraiser for Memphis Paws, Inc., a non-profit that promotes responsible pet ownership and support for animal rescue organizations around Memphis. The event is family-friendly and has several offerings, such as live music, a kids’ zone, food trucks, pet adoptions and a cornhole tournament. There will be approximately 40 cooking teams competing for the title of Best Memphis Burger. General admission tickets, which are $10, include entry to the festival, access to the kids’ zone (there is an additional $5 entry fee), local vendors and live music. With $50 VIP tickets, visitors receive everything the general admission ticket includes, plus catered food from 12 pm-3 pm, access to a shaded, air-conditioned tent, two all-day kids’ zone passes, and a Burger Fest souvenir cup. The festival will be held at Tiger Lane at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, 335 S Hollywood St, Memphis, TN, USA

EGGtoberfest – October 14

The Atlanta, Georgia event that is EGGtoberfest was started in 1998 by the Big Green Egg company as a way to say thank you to its loyal customers. Big Green Egg is the world’s largest producer and international distributor of the highest-quality ceramic kamado-style charcoal grill referred to as an “EGG.” During the event, more than 200 EGGs are fired up and then food is served to visitors. Foods that are typically made include barbecue meatloaf, pulled pork, beef brisket, grilled pineapple and peach cobbler. The EGGs that are cooked on at the festival are available for sale afterwards. The event is set to be held at Stone Mountain Park and tickets go on sale August 1.

Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA, USA,+1 800 401 2407

Smoked Meatloaf
Smoked Meatloaf | © Larry Jacobsen / Flickr

Nashville Whiskey Festival – October 14

Held in the Grand Ballroom at the Omni Nashville Hotel is the Nashville Whiskey Festival. It’s presented by Midtown Wine & Spirits with the goal of encouraging participants to learn about and explore carefully handcrafted whiskeys. The event hosts over 40 distilleries and features international and American-made whiskeys, bourbons and scotches. Complimentary water and food will be available at the event, which takes place from 6:30 pm until 10:00 pm. VIP admission begins at 5:30 pm. Tickets start at $100 and can be purchased online through Eventbrite.

Omni Nashville Hotel, 250 5th Ave. South, Nashville, TN, USA,+1 615 782 5300

Bottle of Moonshine
Bottle of Moonshine | © lanlanister / Flickr
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Delta Hot Tamale Festival – October 19-21

Greenville, Mississippi lawyer Frank Carlton had the idea in 1990 to promote the Mississippi Delta and its tamale community by hosting a cooking competition. The contest was held for 15 years, until 2005 when the last World Championship Hot Tamale Content took place. After Frank passed away in 2009, Greenville residents decided to honor him and his love of tamales by starting an entire festival dedicated to them. In 2012, Greenville was named the Hot Tamale Capital of the World by then-Mayor Chuck Jordan. That year, the first Delta Hot Tamale Festival was held, which featured a parade, live music, an eating contest and the crowning of a Miss Hot Tamale. In Frank’s honor, the “Frank Carlton Hot Tamale Cooking Contest” is also part of the celebration. Today the festival is a three-day event that celebrates tamale makers, as well as local and regional artists and musicians.

Main Street Greenville, 503 Washington Avenue, Greenville, MS, USA, +1 662 378 3121

November 2017

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Oyster Cookoff & Craft Beer Weekend – November 3 & 4

With cooking demonstrations and craft beers and cocktails available, the Oyster Cookoff & Craft Beer Weekend is a fun way to spend time on the Alabama beach this November. More than 70 of the best chefs and restaurants from the Southeast will put their talents to work to offer oyster dishes using Rockefeller, Gulf Coast Cajun and raw oysters. The event will be held at The Hangout from 11 am to 5 pm. Tickets vary in price, from $10 for general admission to $150 for VIP weekend tickets.

The Hangout, 101 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL, USA,+1 251 948 3030

Memphis Grilled Cheese Festival – November 5

Now in its second year, the Memphis Grilled Cheese Festival will take place on November 5 from 12 pm to 6 pm at Hi Tone. The event benefits ALIVE Rescue Memphis and tickets for general admission are $5. There will be a cooking competition at the festival, with teams handing out samples in exchange for a donation to ALIVE. The team with the most donations will win the Fan Favorite category. Other cookoff categories will be Most Cheesiest, Most Ridiculous, Best Tomato Soup, and Grand Champ. You can also expect live music, two bars, and a grilled cheese eating contest at the event.

Hi Tone, 412 N Cleveland, Memphis, TN, USA,+1 901 490 0335

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Grilled Cheese Sandwich | © Barney Bishop / Flickr