11 Food & Seafood Festivals in Rhode Island to Plan Your Trip Around in 2016
11 Food and Seafood Events in Rhode Island to Plan Your Trip Around in 2016
It’s no secret that people in Rhode Island love and appreciate delicious food, but another truth is that we love a great party—and what better combination of the two is there than Rhode Island Food Festivals and Events? This is by no means is an exhaustive food lovers list, because of course you can always take a food tour too, but these eleven events are some of the Ocean State’s favorites, certainly ones that you should consider planning your next Rhode Island trip around.
RI Food Fights. RI Food Fights is, at heart, a celebration of Rhode Island’s culinary offerings. These events allow people to experience new restaurants, chefs, and bakeries under the guise of a competition. It hosts three main events in Providence:
* The Great Cupcake Championship (March 20th)
* The Incredible Ice Cream Throwdown (in June 19th), and
* The Spectacular Cookie Smackdown (in December 11th).
You get to sample the best of the best in Rhode Island all under one roof, and you get to vote on your favorite! Help determine who receives the “People’s Choice Award,” while a panel of judges select their own 1st and 2nd place winners. If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t miss any of these. [Photo credit RI Food Fights]
@RIFoodFights & www.facebook.com/RIFoodFights
The 5th Annual Eat, Drink RI. David Dadekian, founder and president, wanted to bring together all things culinary in Rhode Island and support local businesses, and he succeeded. A quick visit to the website will yield a wealth of information, from upcoming food events to highlights of local agriculture. Best of all, Eat Drink RI hosts its own annual four-day festival for food lovers at the Rhode Island Convention Center from April 28th-May 1st
Thursday: Dinner with Dames. Talented female chefs and bartenders from across RI come together to prepare a multi-course dinner.
Friday: Truck Stop, to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank at the ALEX AND ANI City Center in Kennedy Plaza. If you’re interested in the Food Truck scene, this offers a great selection and supports a good cause.
Saturday: Grand Tasting at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Booths upon booths of local food artisans showcasing their work, offering samples of food as well as locally produced beer, wine & spirits. There will also be Culinary Demonstrations.
Sunday: Grand Brunch. The state’s best chefs and pastry chefs prepare food against the backdrop of jazz music and dance performances. Also present: a coffee bar and a cocktail bar.
This is the highest quality of home-grown RI taste making, so prepare to be wow’d. (Photo Credit RI Monthly)
Newport Oyster Festival. Newport never one to be left behind when it comes to Rhode Island Seafood and Bowen’s Wharf is no stranger to great events, so of course why wouldn’t they jump into the red hot RI Oyster craze, it’s the ultimate RI Seafood! These oysters will be from 45 of RI growers finest oyster farms, shuckin’ it up on the wharf! Indulgences like this don’t get better when your slurping back these raw, steamed, fried, or grilled bivalves! May 20-22nd
Warren Quahog Festival. Warren is one of the hidden gems in Rhode Island, an artsy city on the East Bay that is swimming in culinary talent and lacking in pretentiousness. This July 16-17th— will mark the 33rd year that locals show off their talents in a wide variety of freshly cooked seafood, chowders, stuffed quahogs, littlenecks, and clam cakes. And if you don’t know what a quahog is [KOH-hog: a clam], come experience true Rhode Island cuisine! This festival also partners with the Warren Art Festival on Burr’s Hill Park now in it’s 24th which includes artists and live musical entertainment, so you won’t be in short supply of things to do. So ride on down the East Bay Bike Path and have yourself a good old fashion seafood picnic in Warren’s charming Waterfront District.
35th Annual Great Chowder Cook Off. Every restaurant that servers “Chowdah” in New England claims to be the best, but this festival sets out to see who’s right. Top restaurants from New England as far as Ireland compete for the title of “Best Clam Chowder” and “Best Seafood Chowder,” with an emphasis placed on original and high quality ingredients. Head to Fort Adams State Park in Newport on June 18th to see what makes this staple food so darn good. From the well-seasoned chowder connoisseur to the new-to-New-England chowder taster, you’ll leave feeling like an expert. (Photo credit The Providence Journal)
When you do come to enjoy the flavors of Rhode Island, come on a fun tasting tour of local restaurants with our Newport Neighborhood Food Tour, we know the local food scene and we will show you the best places where locals eat and dine! It’s a fun walking tour filled with food, history, architecture and culture!
32nd annual Charlestown Seafood Festival. If you hadn’t figured it out yet, the Ocean State loves its food caught from the ocean, and here is another event that celebrates its fresh and delicious seafood. Set in the picturesque town of Charlestown in southern Rhode Island, this festival on August 5-7th features the full gastronomic experience, plus crafts, adventure activities, amusement rides, and even a firework display. This is a great event for the whole family, and an opportunity to experience life as a Rhode Island local. (Photo credit RIBlogger.com)
Greek Festivals of RI. If there’s one thing the Greeks do best, it’s enjoying life to the fullest, and their enjoyment begins around the table. With traditional homemade foods like moussaka, souvlaki, and gyros, to an entire bakery section devoted to pastry favorites like baklava and loukoumades, this is THE place to go to experience Greece culture in New England. Dance troupes and live music, a kaffe (coffee shop) and Greek market, and games and activities for kids bring this event to life—along with, of course, the spirit of the Greeks. Visit Pawtucket, RI August 19-21st or Cranston, RI September 9-11th. (Photo credit Livia Meneghin)
Taste of Block Island. When in Rhode Island, why not visit Block Island? It’s just a short ferry ride away, and there you’ll find a quaint village full of restaurants, shops, beaches, and a plethora of outdoor activities. As the busy season fades into Fall, it’s a great time to see what this island has to offer, and to do so while they are offering great deals! With the purchase of a button ($5), you’ll have access to all the discounts throughout the island, from restaurants to lodging to horseback riding. Enjoy “Building your own Sundae” to “Building your Own Bloody” (something for every age). Not to mention, in years past they’ve hosted an island-wide Bacon Fest, and a Chowder Fest, so stay tuned for the next rivalry. September 16-18th (Photo credit Jenny Currier)
Ocean State Oyster Festival. Last year marked the first annual Ocean State Oyster Festival, where a collaborative group of founders set in motion their dream to see Rhode Island recognized for its top-of-the-line bivalves. “What lobsters are to Maine, we want oysters to be to Rhode Island,” they said. And this year’s second annual festival, on September 17th in Providence, is sure to rival its debut, with dozens of oyster farmers and venders, wine and beer, live music, beautiful scenery and slightly dangerous entertainment (a shucking contest—for professionals only!) The event is capped, so be sure to order tickets in advance! (Photo credit Yelena Sidorenko)@OysterFestRI, http://oysterfestri.com/
The 11th Annual Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival. After completing your RI Red Food Tour, be sure to stick around on Sept 23-25th for what has been called “the best wine and food festival in the country.” Sophisticated and sublime, this festival features a two-day grand tasting of hundreds of wines and food samples on the lawn of a Gilded-age mansion in Newport—and that’s just one of the events they offer. Cooking demonstrations and seminars, a collectible wine dinner, and a gala are among their other offerings. This is “the food event” of all food events, not to be missed! (Photo credit The Preservation Society of Newport County)
Columbus Day Festival Weekend, October 8-10th. This event is located in Federal Hill, a section of Providence known for the Italian immigrants who formed a community there over a century ago. It’s full of authentic cuisine, old-fashioned markets, and a lively history. There is a parade, which is always held on Sunday, live music, and an array of tastings from top-tier ethnic restaurants in the area. Lovers of Italian food, or rather–food in general—won’t want to miss this event. (Photo credit Federal Hill Providence)
To add to all the mouth-watering food festivals and events of the Ocean State, Rhode Island Red Food Tours will happily take you on an off-the-beaten-path food tour sampling menu items from some hometown favorites, and you will also get to know the culture and history of one of America’s oldest cities. Contact us today if you want to plan your trip in 2016 around eating where the locals eat and going where the locals go.
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