As the summer warms up, so does the South’s foodie itinerary. To help you handle the heat, we've put together a list of food and drink festivals and events in July serving the stars of Southern cuisine and refreshing drinks to wash it all down.
So just choose which pocket of the South you would like to visit and prepare for an appetite-satisfying adventure in the country’s tastiest region.
Taste of Cambridge
Spend a scrumptious Saturday evening in downtown Cambridge tasting and voting on your favorite crab recipes. Enjoy five hours of great music, compete in crab-picking and watermelo-eating contests, and grab a few sample bites from restaurants in the area while the kids stay occupied in the activity play zone.
Taste of Cambridge website
Annual Slugburger Festival
We know what you're probably thinking but don't worry: Slugs will be nowhere near your buns or patties. The slugburger is actually the name of a local Corinth celebrity food item, which features deep-fried beef and breading topped with pickles, mustard, and a heap of onions. Take this mid-July trip to downtown Corinth for eating contests, an annual carnival, a full entertainment lineup and more.
Annual Slugburger Festival website
35th Annual Chili Cookoff
Fort Pierce, Florida
More than 10,000 fans flock to this Florida community every year to watch up to 40 teams battle pot-to-pot for the chili championship, and delight in yummy food, live entertainment and fun festivities. With free admission and parking, this year’s board game theme will have you trying your luck as you pass “Go” and collect as much chili as you can before the day’s end.
35th Annual Chili Cookoff website
Tales of the Cocktail
New Orleans, Louisiana
Join the international cocktail industry in New Orleans for the leading spirits festival in the world. With more than 200 activities including contests, networking events, seminars and tastings, the six-day, 15th-annual Tales of the Cocktail will allow enthusiasts and professionals alike to exchange tips and techniques, and learn many more. Don't miss the chance to take a long weekend in Louisiana to engage with the cocktail community.
Tales of the Cocktail website
Annual J. M. Tawes Crab & Clam Bake
Visit the blue crab capital of the world to swim in an endless outdoor seafood buffet of your favorite fruits of the sea. For $45, you can grub from the all-you-can-eat menu of crabs, clams, fish and sides delivered by grinning food runners. And if you hurry, an extra $15 per person will reserve a Crab Trap Tent where you, your family and friends can privately enjoy food, drinks, and your own personal DJ.
Annual J. M. Tawes Crab & Clam Bake website
Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival
Cary, North Carolina
Bottomless drink samples, bountiful barbecue, and live music all day sounds like a belly-pleasing way to spend a weekend getaway in the South (if you ask us). Enjoy two flavor-filled days with unlimited tastings of 60 beers and 40 bourbons from your complimentary sampling glass. There'll also be enticing selections from vendors that will pile your plates high but keep your bill deliciously low. If nothing else, enjoy a competitive cook off and seminars while you chow down on fantastic barbecue.
Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival website
Berries and BarBQ Wine Trail
To close out this delectable month, head to Missouri for a short-but-sweet (and savory) weekend of berries and barbecue. Along this explorative trail through Missouri Wine Country, you'll catch gorgeous views while tasting award-winning wines from seven different wineries, with appetizing barbecue pairings to match. Remember to take home your wine glass and all the great memories as souvenirs.
Berries and BarBQ Wine Trail website
Cocktail photo: Courtesy of AFWF/Raftermen
Barbecue photo: Courtesy of Wyatt Williams for AJC