As the weather continues to get nicer outside, it’s time to start planning your summer around the various food festivals and events that are held around Western New York. Of course we all know about the Wingfest and Taste of Buffalo, but did you know that the Buffalo Zoo is hosting an event with food trucks and bands? Or about a festival that’s devoted to various ethnic cuisines and cultures? Or that three awesome Western New York chefs are putting together a 9 course meal?
- 11th (Sat) – Canalside Food Fight #1 at Canalside from noon to 3pm. This event kicks off a series of food truck battles that will be taking place at Canalside. The trucks will be provided an inspiration, prepare a dish and present to a group of judges (myself included). Over the course of the next few months, the trucks will accumulate points over various battles and eventually a Grand Champion will be crowned. The public can attend the events, see the specials dishes, watch the judging and eat off the trucks while they compete. See you Saturday!
11th (Sat)– Buffalo Pizza-Bash . UPDATE: Event has been postponed until Fall. The event has been changing it’s location each year, but this time the event is taking place in the former Office Depot on Elmwood Ave. Several pizzerias will be serving single slices to the crowd and they’ll have events like pizza eating and box folding.
- 19th (Sun) – Snout to Tail Dinner at Bistro Europa. The price tag might be a little high ($150 per person) but when you are eating a Snout to Tail Dinner made from T-Meadow Pork and prepared by Chef Steve Gedra, Chef Bruce Wieszala and Chef Carmelo Raimondi … it’s hard to pass up. Tickets include some beer and wine pairings and you’ll be eating nine courses, call the restaurant to make your reservation. This is a can’t miss dinner, I promise.
- 31st (Fri) – Buffalo Greek Fest at the Hellenic Orthodox Church (Delaware/W Utica). The weekend festival celebrates Greek culture. There will be a shop for specialty groceries, an indoor coffee shop and an outdoor tent for various grilled cuisines (gyro, kabob, souvlaki). Admission is only $2.
- 31st (Fri) – BuffaLoveFest at the Buffalo Zoo from 5:30pm to 9:30pm, $20 pre-sale ($30 day of). This inaugural fundraiser for the Buffalo Zoo will have bands, food trucks, beer and a variety of artisan vendors. All and I are really looking forward to it.
- 1st & 2nd – Buffalo Greek Fest. (see above)
- 7th & 8th (Fri, Sat) – Polish Heritage Festival at Hamburg Fairgrounds. Events include a pageant, pierogi eating contest, cookie bake off, live Polka music and a Polish Saturday School. Admission to the event is $10 and you can buy your dinner tickets now; your choices are Fish Fries (they sell Guinness World Record amounts of them), Polish Dinner and American Dinner.
- 8th (Sat) – Bases Merloted at Coca Cola Field, pre-sale tickets $30. I’m not a big wine aficionado, but each attendee will have access to wine tasting, local food vendors and various entertainment. Plus this event benefits Shakespeare in Delaware Park.
- 8th & 9th – Allentown Art Festival. This really isn’t a food event and most of the food vendors are very ‘county fair’-esque, but normally the local restaurants and bars in the area have specials running during the weekend. The loss of Lagniappes and Sample will definitely hurt the selection, but I’m hoping there will still be some decent offerings. Also there’s a lot of art…obviously.
- 9th (Sun) – Taste of Tonawandas at NT Gateway Harbor from noon to 7pm. I can’t find too much information about this event except for the location and time. Admission is free, tickets are 50 cents each and they have “local area restaurants”.
- 15th (Sat) – German Festival at Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, $6 entry cost from noon to 8pm. Enjoy food from Chef Adam Goetz (Craving), a strongman competition and various musical groups. Most importantly there will be a cake competition that will be judged by yours truly.
- 21st (Fri) – BBQ Blues Bash on Mississippi St (Cobblestone District) from 5:30 to 9:30. We just found out about this BBQ event that’s held next to First Niagara Center, tickets are $2 each and the food offers will range from $2 to $10. Vendors include Dinosaur BBQ, BW’s, Barrel’s, Big Bell BBQ and R&R BBQ.
- 29th (Sat) – Taste of Diversity Festival at Grant Street, 11 am to 7 pm. This food festival is for foodies who are excited about trying different cuisines from a wide array of cultures. Last year’s event featured Sun (Burmese), Lucy’s (Ethiopian), Pure Peru, and food trucks Roaming Buffalo and The Whole Hog.
- 12th-14th (Fri-Sun) - Macedonian Festival at Macedonian Orthodox Church. You can order some Roast Lamb, Kabobs and cheap Draft Beer while watching dance groups and listening to traditional live music.
- 13th & 14th (Sat, Sun) – Taste of Buffalo on Delaware Ave. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain what this is but I will recommend that everyone check out the Nickel City Chef events in New Era’s parking lot, they are a blast. Last year they introduced Food Trucks and new ways to find restaurants. Hopefully we will have the organizers back on the podcast and have them talk about 2013′s new features.
- 20th (Sat) – Hamburg Burger-Fest. The town of Hamburg celebrates the hamburger, which they claim to have invented (this is an area of controversy). There currently isn’t a list of participating restaurants but here’s some of last year’s participants: Jack Devine’s, Danny’s and Nick Charlap’s.
- 24th (Wed) – Taste of Orchard Park. A rare weekday food event, this is our home town’s ‘Taste of’ festival and we go every year because of the nostalgia. The event runs along North Buffalo Street in the village and is very easy to navigate. You can check out Mangia, David’s Grill, Vincenzo’s Italian Ice and more. Just be patient, if it’s a nice evening the event can get really crowded.
- 26th-28th (Fri-Sun) – Lebanese Festival at St. John Maron. This weekend festival features dancing, music and some awesome food. You’ll find dishes like hummus, taboulli, kibbi, falafel, lubneh and grape leaves available.
- 1st – 4th (Thu-Sun) – Italian Heritage Festival. The festival has really turned into a county fair with rides and gets really crowded. On the plus side there will be food presentations from local chefs like Marco Sciortino and some awesome Hertel Ave restaurants will be participating.
- 1st – 4th (Thu-Sun) – Eden Corn Festival. Calling this a “food event” is a stretch, but the corn is pretty good if you want to make the drive.
- 1st – 4th (Thu-Sun) – Phelps Sauerkraut Weekend. Had no idea this existed until someone brought it to our attention, they don’t have a list of food vendors yet but you can see the event schedule.
- 3rd (Sat) – Taste of Lancaster. I had no idea this event existed until a reader brought it to our attention, still have no information about the event except for the date.
- 4th (Sun) – Taste of Williamsville at Island Park. This is the 25th year of the Taste of Williamsville and they arguably have the best selection of any town “Taste” festival. Last year saw restaurants like La Tolteca, JoJo Bistro, Wok N Roll and 800 Maple serve at the event.
- 5th (Mon) – Taste of Clarence at Clarence Town Park. We’ve never attended this event but judging from last year’s line up, it looks like there could be some good finds. Notable restaurants from last year: Asa Ransom House, Orazio’s, Red Mill Inn and Gertie’s.
- 9th (Fri) – Buffalo Brewfest at First Niagara Center, $30 pre-sale. The largest beer festival in Buffalo brings in several out of state breweries. The event recently expanded beyond the atrium to fit more attendees, I’m looking forward to seeing the local beer scene represent even more with Community Beer Works, Flying Bison and (fingers crossed) Big Ditch Brewing.
- 10th & 11th (Sat, Sun) – Taste of Ellicottville. Even thought the food offerings aren’t the most exciting, the Taste of Ellicottville is hands down the most scenic village food festival. Walking around this small ski town is worth the 45+ minute drive and having a couple beers at EBC can be a fun time (if the crowd isn’t unbearable).
- 16th-18th (Fri-Sun) – Polish Harvest Festival at Corpus Christi Church. Another Polish festival for the summer time! This one will feature Polish Food and Beer, the 6th Annual Buffalo’s Best Pierogi contest, ‘Famous’ Polish Pizza (I have no idea) and mass!
- 18th (Sun) – Taste of Lockport. We really enjoy visiting Lockport and their cute downtown area but sometimes it’s hard to justify the drive. This event seems like a pretty good reason to visit and Lake Effect Ice Cream will (most likely) be there! Who doesn’t want ice cream?
- 31st (Sat) – Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival at Coca Cola Field, $5 Admission. What else is there to say? Every knows about this festival and if you don’t, check out our podcast with event founder Drew Cerza.
- 1st (Sun) – Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival. (see above)
- 6th-8th (Fri-Sun) – Niagara County Peach Festival. It’s also not exactly a ‘food event’ but you can eat a lot of peaches. Yes, like the song.
- 14th (Sat) – Taste of East Aurora. Another small town that we enjoy, last year the town put together the first annual Taste of East Aurora. Notable restaurants from last year: Elm Street Bakery, Arriba Tortilla, Firefly Cupcakes, Riley Street Station and Towne Bistro.
- 15th (Sun) – Feed Your Soul’s Foodie-to-Farm Tour. Last year Alli and I went on our first Foodie-to-Farm tour and we were hooked, we’ve been trying to buy local ever since. Every year the tour stops at different farms in the area who are doing really great things. Lunch and dinner are then provided by talented chefs who will use seasonal and local ingredients. Check out our post from last year.
- 20th-22nd (Fri-Sun) – Oinktoberfest at the Great Pumpkin Farm. This is a stretch for ‘summer events’, but I’ve been hearing great things about Oinktoberfest for years. Teams from all over the country come to Clarence to compete in various BBQ cook offs. The event is open to the public and you can try some of the BBQ.
- 21st & 22nd (Sat, Sun) – Cuba Garlic Festival at Empire City Farms, $5 Admission. Looking through 2012′s vendor list, the menu appears to be pretty heavy on garlic. You’ll find garlic pizza, garlic soup, garlic potato chips, garlic sausage, garlic cheese, etc.
Are we missing anything? Leave us a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!