Festivals And Events Coming Up This Month

Festivals and Events
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Summer weather brings festivals and events that range from open-air concerts and outdoor car shows to group hikes and more. In June, there are a number of notable summer festivals and events. Some are held annually, others are starting up for the first time this year. Count on good food, warm summer fun and great memories to be made at any of these must-see events.

Gettysburg Festival
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – June 8
It’s blues, beer and barbecue at the Gettysburg Festival this weekend featuring legendary bluesman Big Jack Johnson’s backing band, the Cornlickers, PA’s First Lady of Blues, Octavia and the U.S. Army Field Band Volunteers. Since 1981, the soldier-musicians of The Field Band Volunteers have performed for millions of listeners around the planet, representing their fellow soldiers through music.

Richmond Bacon Festival
Richmond, Virginia – June 9
A first for the 17th street farmers market, 20 restaurants will compete with bacon-centric dishes and Devils Backbone Brewery and Bold Rock Hard Cider will be pouring more than 20 craft beers. Held by a local brewer and beer distributor, the idea is to design bacon-oriented culinary creations then wash them down with a craft beer.Emmett Cherry Festival
Emmett, Idaho – June 12-15, 2013
Held since the 1930s and always during the second full week of June, the Emmett Cherry Festival serves up a taste of tradition. Cherry Festival events, concerts and carnival all happen in the Emmett City Park starting Wednesday through Saturday. Looking for some down-home goodness? This may be it. Featured are a cherry pit-spitting contest, a pie eating contest and entertainment. Nearly 40,000 people are expected to attend this family-oriented event that celebrates the arrival of the cherries.

Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters
Little Rock, Arkansas – June 27
Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters are the greatest living link to what can best be described as a gumbo of Cajun/Acadian music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms and melodies, and the blues. Held at
Wildwood Park for the Arts in western Little Rock’s Chenal Valley, the event’s gates open at 6 p.m. for outdoor
picnicking, and the concert begins at 8 p.m.

Orion Music and More Festival
Detroit, Michigan – June 6-8
Over 20,000 fans are expected to attend each of the three days of the festival, headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers on Saturday and Metallica on Sunday with a total of 39 acts scheduled to perform. In addition to five stages, all set up on the Belle Isle baseball fields, there will be a car show, film screenings, horror movie memorabilia, food vendors from around Detroit and more. Featured at Orion Music and More is a 30-foot skate ramp where pro riders will tear up the Vans Vert Ramp while bands perform live.

New Orleans Roadfood Festival rolls in March 24-25

new orleans foodThat New Orleans is a food town is no secret. What I just discovered, however, is that it’s host to a food festival spawned by one of my favorite pastimes ever: road food (and no, I’m not referring to this kind). Way back in the day, when I was a wee college student, I discovered the late, great Gourmet magazine, and became obsessed with “Roadfood,” a column (now a website) written by the road-trippin’, big-eatin’ couple Jane and Michael Stern.

In every issue, the Sterns would choose a micro-region of the U.S. and a local specialty on which to focus their column. Each month, I read about chicken and dumplings in Indiana, pasties from Montana, green chile from El Rito, New Mexico, or barbecue from Owensboro, Kentucky. Then I’d wipe the drool off of the pages and stash each article away in a manila folder to be saved for future road trips, both real and imagined.

Apparently, nearly half a decade ago, while I was lost in some “best roadside diner biscuit” reverie, the Sterns helped create the New Orleans Roadfood Festival. The 4th annual food fiesta will be held March 24-25 in the city’s historic French Market. It will provide a showcase for over 30 restaurants across the country, which will serve the dishes that made them famous. Attendees will be able to street-feast upon Texas and Memphis barbecue, Tucson’s best tamales, custard from upstate New York, Cajun and Creole delicacies from across Louisiana, and many other regional culinary specialties. There will also be cooking demos, live music, a beignet-eating contest for the N.O. Fire Department, and a kickoff party featuring the Sterns, local chefs, and noted cookbook author Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

And get this: admission to the festival is free. You’ll still have to pay for those good eats, but a portion of the proceeds will benefit Cafe Reconcile, a non-profit restaurant that uses innovative strategies to provide life skills and job training to youth from at-risk communities in area. Just in case you need a guilt-free reason to indulge. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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[Photo credit: Flickr user Adam Melancon]