Alabama’s Food Festivals

You’d better come hungry” is the almost ominous advice to those spending a holiday in Alabama. There's even a list of a hundred Alabama dishes to “try before you die,” and this includes white chicken chilli, lobster pot pie, and crab cake-and-avocado sandwich, among others. Pecans, apples, and oranges are among the crops grown in this state, which is also known for its honey, beef, and Southern hospitality. This is the kind of hospitality that smothers visitors with good ol’ fashioned home-cooking, which they serve up abundantly in Alabama’s food festivals.

BBQ Championship and Hog Wild Festival (March). The search for the best barbecue in the United States begins here. The competition draws more than a hundred teams each year, and hundreds more in festival-goers, who come to enjoy the rodeo, bands, pie-eating contests, cooking demonstrations, and pig races.

Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival (April). Visitors won't find out which really came first, but they will meet the mascots Nugget (a yellow “chicken”) and Scramble (a guitar-toting “egg”). Chicken-wing eating contests, catch-a-falling-egg competitions, musical performances, beauty pageants, and food sales highlight this event.

Baldwin County Strawberry Festival (April). The luscious red goodies may steal the spotlight, but vintage cars, popular bands, and the prettiest local girls get their share of the attention, too. This 22-year old festivity also features a carnival, arts and crafts, and fun games.

St Elias Maronite Catholic Church Lebanese Food Festival (April). Adam Sandler's Zohan may have made “hummus” a household name, but there’s a whole deal more to Lebanese cuisine than this. Try kibbeh, a mixture of meat, wheat, and spices; mamoul, date-and-walnut pastries; or djaj mishwi, chicken kebab.

Alabama Blueberry Festival (June). Blueberries liven up pancakes, crepes, biscuits, salads, ice cream, and other dishes. This fruit which grows all over the state is offered in delightful and diverse array for the guests’ sampling. Who cares if their tongues turn purple? An arts and crafts sale, antique car show, and motorcycle rally accompanies the event.

Slocomb Tomato Festival (June). A community that prides itself in being the “Tomato Capital of the World” brings a day of music, parades, recipe contests, children’s games, and of course, fresh produce. A buffet of everything tomato is one of the highlights, as well as the search for the year’s Miss Tomato.

The Urban Celebrity Food Festival (July). “Top Chef”, “Apprentice”, and “American Idol” contestants grace the venue of this eating extravaganza, which pays tribute to African-American cooking. Guests are serenaded by Blues, Gospel, and Country singers throughout the activity.

There are chilli, catfish, crawfish, peach, and watermelon festivals in Alabama, as well!

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