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Food festival

From a whiskey buffet to a "Wild Hog Explosion," here are the very best Southern foodie events to attend in March

The sun is shining and it’s beginning to feel more like spring than winter. It's time to get outside and enjoy what the South does best: festivals, especially when they're food-related. We took a look at what’s going on in the Southern food world and found the best, arranging them according to their dates to help you plan your road trip.

Click the arrows above to see the events.

Photo credit: Nataniel Susantoputra / Unsplash


Whisky Live

March 2: Washington D.C. 
Whisky Live is taking over the Omni Shoreham Hotel for a night of boozy fun and entertainment. Throughout the evening, whiskey enthusiasts have the chance to sample over 150 spirits from near and far. Some are small batch selections that you won’t see in stores and others have spent many years aging to perfection. And never fear, you won't just be drinking the stuff — you'll also get to eat it at the whiskey-infused dinner buffet.

Photo credit: Adam Jaime / Unsplash

Maple syrup

Highland Maple Festival

March 10-11 & March 17-18: Monterey, Virginia
The Highland Maple Festival is the sweetest place to be this March. Taking place since 1958 in rural Monterery, this event celebrates both maple syrup itself and the trees that produce it. Visitors will get to watch the entire process of syrup making, from the tapping of the trees to the drizzling of pancakes. Even better: You'll have two weekends to take in this sugary experience. Book your tickets now, syrup lovers.

Photo credit: The Cheese Shop Facebook


Florida Strawberry Festival

March 1-11: Plant City, Florida
Since 1930, Plant City has been hosting one of America’s largest strawberry festivals. And this year, the event’s strawberry red carpet will be rolling out early, at the beginning of March. Over half a million visitors will get their fill of blush-colored foods from strawberry shortcake and strawberry milkshakes to even strawberry-filled fried Twinkies. If you can pull yourself away from the berry-laden food, you might want to check out the myriad concerts or have some good old-fashioned fun with the various carnival rides and games.

Photo credit:  Danielle MacInnes / Unsplash

Hog racing

Wild Hog Explosion

March 17, 2018: Bandera, Texas
The 16th annual Wild Hog Explosion is everything you'd imagine and more. Along with sampling barbecue and pork rib cook-offs, visitors will get to witness the annual Wild Hog Catch, taste dozens of entrees in contests ranging from best bloddy mary to ... best beans. (Hey, if they've got bacon in 'em, we're down.) Or if watching people race to catch a hog while you dig into a platter of pulled pork doesn’t sound appealing, you can head over to Bacon Bingo for more fun and games. 

Photo credit: Wild Hog Explosion Facebook


Louisiana Crawfish Festival

March 22-25: Chalmette, Louisiana
Cajun food wouldn’t be complete without crawfish, and our March wouldn't be complete without the Louisiana crawfish festival. You name it and you can probably find it at this four-day event: crawfish rice, crawfish cheese dip, crawfish etouffee, crawfish pies, crawfish jambalaya and crawfish pasta are all on deck, in addition to carnival games and live music. Not a crawfish fan? You can find other Cajun favorites —alligator sausage on a stick anyone? — at food stands across the festival.  

Photo credit: Louisiana Crawfish Festival Facebook


Paella Challenge

March 26, 2018: San Antonio, Texas
If you love this Spanish dish as much as we do, the ninth annual Paella Challenge is the place to be. Over 35 chefs will be competing in both classic and contemporary paella categories to create some of the best wood fire-cooked rice in the South. In between bites of paella, enjoy live music, wine, sangria and plenty of other Spanish fare.

Photo credit: Paella Challenge Facebook


Charlotte Craft Beer Week

March 30-April 8: Charlotte, North Carolina
Beer lovers can try some of Charlotte’s best craft beer during this week-long event. Between samples from both established and new breweries, guests can sip on special and exotic brews, all the while learning about the brewing process. And just to make sure you're not spending your entire visit drinking, be sure to stop by restaurants throughout the Queen City for beer (and food!) pairings. 

Photo credit: Wil Stewart / Unsplash

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Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.