Arguably, one of the greatest things about New York City is its tasty culinary offerings. The selection of food festivals here abounds and capitalize on the best the seasons have to offer. Going to one also lets you celebrate festive atmospheres and amazing food from various eateries. The following guide lists the best food festivals in and around NYC that you need to go to. Fair warning: These are uncertain times during COVID-19, so please check to make sure events are still happening.
July 4: Nathan’s Hotdogs and Macy’s Fireworks
Eating hot dogs on the Fourth of July is a rite of passage for locals and visitors alike in the Big Apple. At the end of June, outdoor dining officially returned to Gotham, and the hotdog, of course, reigns supreme there. In light of that, nothing will stand between New Yorkers and the classic hotdogs that are available far and wide from alfresco dining spots and hot dog street carts on July 4.
However, this year’s Independence Day sees a change to Nathan’s Hotdogs Annual Fourth of July Hotdog Eating Contest and many other popular food venues due to the coronavirus. Many of the usual food festivals won’t be back until 2021 because of it. Awwwww! Luckily, Nathan’s gut-busting contest where competitors gorge on as many hot dogs as humanly possible for 10 minutes is still slated for July 4, without the live crowds to egg things on, though.
Nathan’s Annual Hotdog Eating Contest will be one of the first televised major post-COVID competitive events to be held in the U.S. And, people can catch it on television while munching on a New York-style hot dog they picked up from the eatery of their choosing. Think of it – a beef dog topped with onion relish, sauerkraut, and spicy brown mustard, all nested within a pillow-soft hot dog bun. Who says you can’t have a dinner outing with a few friends during the coronavirus?
Additionally, Mayor de Blasio announced that Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show would go on as planned. The spectacular show will be visible from the sky below the Brooklyn Bridge and above the lower East River. Scores of people will be able to watch the light show along the waterways as more than 70,000 shells and effects from four barges and the Brooklyn Bridge are launched form their positions among the shores of Pier 17 located at the Seaport District. The display of lights will have designated viewing locations to watch the fireworks show, along with dedicated entry points set up in elevated portions of the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive.
August: The Bronx Night Market
The end of summer is sizzling, and you’ll want to head to the vibrant and open-air Bronx Night Market when it opens Saturday, August 1. The New York Times crowned the Bronx Night Market as New York City’s best outdoor food festival. Because of that and more, locals and visitors from the greater part of New York and beyond flock to the weekly fete. With over 50 food vendors, they’ve been known to enhance and uplift the local food scene.
Celebrities have also been spotted hanging out at the Bronx Night Market and supporting their up-and-coming food concepts. For instance, singer Zendaya and former President Obama have been spotted digging into sandwiches and sides at the event. As an example of what’s in store for you at the borough, they have juicy burgers as big as your head piled a mile high with condiments, all on a homemade artisan bun. If you are hungry for more, you can nosh on creamy and spicy corncobs on a stick, also known as elote.
Later, you can finish off with mouthwatering and hypnotic hibiscus rose macarons or a matcha swirl ice cream cone. There are so many sweet treats to try that you don’t have to stop there, either. Top all that off with a draft beer on tap from their beer garden, and you’re done. The venue also has a robust musical lineup of talented musicians, family-friendly activities that includes giveaways, raffles and tasting tables. Animal lovers can rejoice, too, because the Bronx Night Market is a pet-friendly event.
Where: 1 Fordham Plaza, The Bronx, NY 10458.
When: The Bronx Night Market operates between 4 pm and 10 pm. The event is open every last Saturday of the month and will run August through October.
September: The Feast of San Gennaro
Italian food is so good in NYC that it has achieved legendary status. Some of the best chances to sample it will happen during the Feast of San Gennaro, 2020, which lasts for a whole eleven days! The Feast started in 1926 when immigrants from Naples continued the feast day of September 19 that they observed in their homeland. Locals and out-of-towners alike are getting psyched for it, and the celebration is NYC’s largest and longest-running Italian festival.
The venue features some of the best eating spots in Little Italy, and here you can celebrate the best Italian culture and food in the world, save for Italy, perhaps. From spaghetti and meatballs to zeppoles, the festival is a smorgasbord of traditional Italian specialties that’ll stick to your ribs.
While you’re there getting your foody on, you can also revel in the parades, live music food competitions and more. Don’t miss the popular eating competitions, where contestants dig into mountains of sweet confections and hearty Italian food. If you’re just visiting or new to the whole thing, you’ll get to find out what the blessing, Mass and religious processions are all about, as well.
When: September 12-22.
Where: the Feast of San Gennaro will be held at different locations:
Hester Street, in between Centre and Baxter streets,
Mulberry Street, in between Houston and Canal streets, and
Between Centre Market Place and Baxter Street on Grand Avenue. The stage will be at the corner of Mott and Grand streets.
October: The Great Cortland Pumpkinfest
October is the time to celebrate the rich bounties fall harvest season provides, and the Great Cortland Pumpkinfest is a fun place to do it. The event that was voted the #4 best fall festival in the United States features food vendors from all over the Central New York area. Since the light fare of summer is giving way to the heartier fare of fall, you’ll find delicious and hearty chili and barbeque along with kettle corn and baked goods at the Great Courtland. From savory to sweet, the artisans feature seasonal flavors of the season in new and innovative ways. The Great Cortland Pumpkinfest Craft Show features more than 100 local crafters and artisans with their works for sale.
No matter your age, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do at this two-day weekend event. Kiddies can enjoy fun activities such as pumpkin decorating, hayrides, carnival-style midway rides and more. Adults can enjoy the selection of beers available at the Pumpkin Pub while listening to the live music rocking the festival, courtesy of several local musicians.
Where: Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 37 Church Street, Cortland, New York
November: The Joy of Sake Event
The weather is cooling off for November in the Big Apple, so it’s time to head inside to warm up and party at the 16th annual Joy of Sake Event on November 13. The event will roll out the most sublime of Japanese sake flavors and delectable appetizers from 18 of NYC’s finest restaurants. The sakes are in primo condition, and while you’re there, you can partake from over 400 premium labels from every region of the Land of the Rising Sun. Here’s an example of one of the featured dishes from Joy of Sake 2019: Copper River Salmon Trifle with tosazu, fresh wasabi, soy milk pudding and cucumber salsa to accompany it, Oh my.
If you didn’t get enough Asian food at the Joy of Sake event, you can head out and enjoy the best of it that NYC Chinatown has to offer by taking one of the many food tours offered there. Seriously, if you don’t have a food tour guide, you could miss out on some of the best food that NYC Chinatown has to offer. Food tour guides can take you to popular Chinese eateries and to other hidden gems to try yummy plates while also teaching you about Chinese culture. Think of shrimp with chili sauce, scores of Chinese dumpling selections and sweet and savory meat and vegetarian entrees created by master chefs. NYC Chinatown Tours typically runs with small groups so you and a friend can get personalized attention from the tour guide.
When: Fri, November 13, 2020, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
Where: Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011.
Speaking of tours, SEA the City is open for business and running 7 days a week! A little bit about us:
We offer Jet Ski Tours of Ellis Island, Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty. Our launching point is just a stone’s throw from Downtown NYC. Our team can also introduce you to landmarks, along with all the hottest parties in the Big Apple. Don’t forget about the party for your taste buds, and we know about all of the must-visit dining spots that will make them happy. Contact our team at 201-335-2732 to find out more.