The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and Hudson Valley food festival season is in full swing. After a long winter of sweaters and so much soup, we’re exchanging hats for sunglasses and comfort food for…oh wait, we’ll keep that. After all, spring marks the return of burgers, ice cream, and all the warm weather treats you know and love.
So what are you waiting for? Make the calls to your foodie squad and get ready to savor the best of springtime food fests in the Hudson Valley. P.S. You might want to break out the stretchy pants before you hit the road.
Marriott Pavilion, Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park
March 29, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
There’s no need to choose between coffee and tea at the Culinary Institute of America’s day of drinks. Come thirsty, since the sips onsite are some of the finest in the Hudson Valley. Along with samples galore, attendees can learn about espresso, watch an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, and get their tea leaves read during a tasseography session. Plus, all proceeds from the day go back to local, national, and international communities through Rotary International.
Senate Garage, Kingston
April 4, 12-4:30 p.m.
Everyone’s favorite brunchtime cocktail gets the spotlight it deserves during Kingston’s booze-filled festival this April. Tickets run $45 apiece and include tastings of all Bloody Marys onsite, plus access to the bagel station and food and beverage tastings from local companies. After drinking all the drinks, everyone can vote for the People’s Choice Award winner.
Brotherhood Winery, Washingtonville
April 25, 1-5:30 p.m.
More cheddar is better when it comes to the Valley’s mac and cheese festival. Brotherhood Winery hosts the afternoon of cheese pulls and sauce-slathered noodles, so expect quite a bit of wine to go with that elbow macaroni. Tickets include free tours of the winery, plus quite a few samples of mac and cheese, so pick up passes early, since Brotherhood expects the event to sell out. It doesn’t get much better than wine and cheese, after all.
Hunter Mountain, Hunter
As any true beer lover knows, no festival in the Hudson Valley quite compares to the hoppy paradise that is TAP New York. A two-day to-do, the 23rd annual shindig takes over Hunter Mountain with a Mexican street food theme and brews from some of the region’s most beloved breweries, including Clemson Bros. Brewery in Middletown, Mill House Brewing Co. in Poughkeepsie, and Newburgh Brewing Co. in Newburgh. Round up your friends, book a local Airbnb, and get ready for some serious sipping.
Stormville Airport, Stormville
May 2, 12-5 p.m.
Flowers are great and all, but cupcakes are the real reason to sing the praises of the springtime season. Kicking off the sweet celebrations is K104.7’s annual Cupcake Festival, which takes place at Stormville Airport this year. As far as sweets go, expect thousands of cupcakes onsite, along with a number of other confections from local bakers. When you need a break from the sugar high, shop the wares from regional vendors or bring the kids to the inflatable slide or jump castles. By the time the tykes are tuckered out, you’ll all be ready for a second sugar high.
Germania Festival Grounds, Poughkeepsie
Oktoberfest may still be a few months away, but you can get your soft pretzel fix at Germania of Poughkeepsie’s annual Maifest. Held in Poughkeepsie, the event is a must for authentic German beer – think Spaten and Maibock – and plentiful baked treats. A kid-friendly occasion, Maifest plays host to local vendors and children’s entertainers as well. Add to that German singers and Bavarian dancers, and it’s the perfect way to kick back on the weekend after Mother’s Day.
Wright’s Farm, Gardiner
May 16, 12-5 p.m.
Yes, there are two cupcake festivals in the Hudson Valley. Yes, they’re both in May. No, we’re not mad about it. In fact, we’re counting down the days to eat all the cupcakes at Gardiner’s annual Cupcake Festival. Held at Wright’s Farm, the event features more than 10,000 cupcakes, some of which will feature prominently in the 5K Cupcake Classic. If you’re not sure what a Cupcake Classic is, imagine a stunning run through the orchards, followed by the awarding of one apple and cupcake apiece, because balance. If you’re wondering about exactly which vendors will be there, keep an eye out for favorites like Deising’s in Kingston, The Dessert Destiny Bus in Highland, and Mid-Hudson Cakes in Wappingers Falls. Savory concoctions from Handsome Devil BBQ, Pizza a Legna, and Reggae Boy will be there as well.
Garner Arts Center, West Haverstraw
May 16-17, 2-6 p.m.
Love beer? Want to learn how to homebrew? Then L.A.B. Fest is the one for you. L.A.B., short for Live.Art.Beer., is a collaborative effort with Garner Arts Center and Industrial Arts Brewing Company that highlights the harmony between the Hudson Valley’s innovative arts and beer industries. Over the course of two days, the fest brings together 40 breweries, talented live performers, and top local food truck vendors. In addition to eating and drinking your fill, you’ll also be able to ogle immersive art installations, catch live performances, and explore a 14-acre, pre-Civil War, repurposed textile mill. In other words, it may just be the coolest thing you do all season.
Columbia County Fairgrounds, Chatham
May 23-24, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Take a trip to Columbia County over Memorial Day weekend for the region’s eighth annual wine and food fest. The occasion features vendors from the Hudson Berkshire beverage trail along with a number of other regional cideries, distilleries, and wineries. To pair with your sips, take time to snack on the variety of gourmet cheese, baked goods, and jams available. If you want to learn something new, the seminars hosted by local craft beverage experts are worth a listen.
89 Western Hwy, Tappan
May 30-31, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
PLUS Polish Festival shines a light on the vibrant Polish culture in the Hudson Valley. Throughout the final weekend in May, Polish performers and entertainers take the stage in Tappan, while family rides and competitions keep the fun going all day long. As for eats, Polish classics like kielbasa, stuffed cabbage rolls, and bigos tempt visitors to try something new. For anyone who’s really hungry, the pierogi and paczki (Polish donuts) eating contests are just the thing to cure your cravings…and then some.
If you’re looking for the ultimate foodie event, Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Festival is a no-brainer. With seven events over seven days, the 10th annual shindig honors the leading chefs, sommeliers, and tastemakers who shape Westchester’s cuisine. Happenings range from a wine tasting and burger fest to a party on the pier and food truck get-together, so there’s a little something for everyone. On Saturday, June 13, the wining and dining reaches its peak with the Grand Tasting Village. From 12-4 p.m., the festival’s signature event brings together more than 50 local restaurants and 200 wine and spirits for a truly unforgettable afternoon.
Stormville Airport, Stormville
June 13, 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Stormville’s food truck fest is ready to roll (pun most definitely intended) this June. In honor of its fourth anniversary, the celebration rounds up more than 12 food trucks and cuisines for your eating pleasure. Also on tap that day are 50-plus craft beers and ciders from local vendors, along with an artisan market stocked with one-of-a-kind wares from regional makers. Bring your friends to sip and snack throughout the day, but don’t forget to take a pause to listen to the live music or test your skills with cornhole and Jenga while you’re there. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, Independent Helicopters will also be offering 10-minute helicopter rides across the Hudson Valley throughout the day.
Bellvale Farms, Warwick
Farm to Fork Fondo is not exactly a food festival, at least not in the traditional sense. If we’re getting down to it, the late spring event is a full-day bike ride that interweaves food with Hudson Valley views. On Saturday, riders can pick up their registration info and mingle at the Meet the Farmers dinner. The following day, the race begins at 8:30 a.m. sharp, with varying competitions (Piccolo, Medio, and Gran) available for riders of all levels. Throughout the day, a barbecue and festival market entice revelers and supporters until the riders return to feast.
Ulster County Fairgrounds, New Paltz
Chocolate is great. Wine is great. So it only makes sense that a festival with both of your favorite food groups would be downright wonderful. In the middle of June, the Hudson Valley Wine & Chocolate Festival returns for all-day sampling, shopping, and sipping. The event takes place at the Ulster County Fairgrounds, features more than 70 vendors, and is open to visitors of all ages, with free admission for children 10 and under. While the official vendor list is being finalized, expect to see an assorted roster of wineries, snack spots, craftspeople, and food trucks while you’re there.