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6 food festivals we're adding to our calendar in May
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6 Southern food festivals we're adding to our calendar in May

The sun is shining and spring is here. It's time to get outside and enjoy what the South does best — festivals, especially the food-related kind. We went out and found the best of what’s going on in the Southern food world in May, and arranged everything according to the dates to help you plan your road trip.
Click the arrows above to see the events.

Photo credit: Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce Facebook

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

May 4-6: Fernandina Beach, Florida
In the South, we’re blessed to live along beautiful coastlines and oceans that provide us with some of the best seafood in the world. Fernandina Beach is the birthplace of modern shrimping, and to celebrate this tradition, the town holds a festival each year dedicated to the crustaceans. Along with a parade, live music and fireworks, festivalgoers can dig into an extensive list of shrimp dishes — from shrimp gumbo and Cajun shrimp to shrimp pie and low country boil — throughout the weekend.

Photo credit: USA Today Facebook

50th Annual Chincoteague Seafood Festival

50th Annual Chincoteague Seafood Festival

May 5: Chincoteague, Virginia
Most people know Chincoteague as a small town located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia that attracts thousands of tourists when wild ponies swim ashore each year. But while this may be its most famous attraction, Chincoteague is also home to a shellfish tradition that has existed for half a century. At the Chincoteague Seafood Festival, locals and guests celebrate spring and the bountiful seafood that can be found around the Eastern Shore and Chesapeake Bay. On the menu you’ll find clams and oysters, which come fried, steamed, or for those who prefer their seafood untouched, raw. 

Photo credit: Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce Facebook

Asheville Bread Festival

Asheville Bread Festival

May 5-6: Asheville, North Carolina
Bread making is an intricate process that is mix of science and art. When everything goes right the resulting golden brown loaves are almost too beautiful to eat — but, of course, we slice into them anyway. For the past 14 years, the Asheville Bread Festival has celebrated everyone from the bakers to the farmers who help produce these loaves. Festival attendees will be treated to an array of bread, flour and pastries they can taste and purchase, along with hands-on workshops and lectures from artisanal bakers. New Belgium Brewery will be hosting the event, too, so get ready to carb load throughout the weekend.

Photo credit: The ARCH Architectural Finishes, Flooring and More Facebook

West Tennessee Strawberry Festival

West Tennessee Strawberry Festival

May 6-12: Humboldt, Tennessee
Strawberry season is in full swing during the month of May. In Western Tennessee, a springtime celebration of these berries has been a tradition for the past 80 years. Attendees can get a taste of strawberry-centric dishes — strawberry shortcake sounds pretty great to us — as they are treated to live music and parades. Keep an eye out for the festival’s sunglasses-clad mascot, The Berry; you’ll want to get a photo with him. And don't forget to wear something red!

Photo credit (shortcake): Tracy Sanford Facebook

Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

May 16-19: Memphis, Tennessee 
The Memphis in May International Festival takes place every weekend in May. While you could certainly have fun at parties such as a music festival or a salute to the Czech Republic, the event we’re most excited about is the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Throughout this weekend, barbecue lovers will be treated to cooking demonstrations using Big Green Eggs, all you can eat barbecue in BBQ Alley, and the chance to taste and judge barbecue from the teams competing in the Kingsford Tour of Champions. You’ll have to wait to until Saturday night to see who’s won best in ‘cue.

Photo credit: Memphis in May International Festival Facebook

The Eighth Annual Georgia Mountain EggFest

The Eighth Annual Georgia Mountain EggFest

May 18-19: Hiawassee, Georgia
Located on the picturesque shores of Lake Chatuge in the gorgeous North Georgia mountains, the Georgia Mountain Eggfest will be dishing up treats all weekend long. An Eggfest, for non-eggheads, is a gathering of people who love to cook with Big Green Eggs or watch as expert chefs work their magic on the grills. Attendees can stroll throughout the festival and sample what’s cooking, while chatting with grillmasters to pick up plenty of barbecue tips and tricks.

Photo credit: Georgia Mountain Big Green Eggfest Facebook


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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.