Enjoy unlimited cooking classes and more at the Santa Fe, New Mexico, Harvest Festival

From November 1-November 23, 2011, people looking for the ultimate experience in food and wine should head over to New Mexico for the Santa Fe Harvest Festival. During the festival, ticket holders are entitled to unlimited cooking classes and discounts on lodging and dining, allowing them to fully experience the hospitality and food culture of the area. The kickoff for the event includes a server relay race, where teams of servers from different restaurants race around The Plaza carrying trays loaded with drinks. There will also be a Chef Showdown, a competition between chefs, as well as Bar Wars!, which will determine who is the #1 mixologist in Santa Fe (and, spectators get to sip their own cocktails at discounted prices).

Are you a fan of sampling food and wine? The Santa Fe Harvest Festival will also feature a Food & Wine Expo which will have more than 50 booths set up for food and wine tasting, culinary demonstrations and exhibits, and book signings by celebrity chefs. The week culminates in a Best of the Fest silent auction and gala dinner.

Need another reason to attend? A portion of the proceeds go to help Cooking with Kids, a nonprofit based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that works to motivate and empower elementary school children to eat healthy through hands-on learning techniques using fresh, affordable foods from different cultural backgrounds.

Five great upcoming food and wine festivals

Food and travel often go hand in hand – after all, the best meals are often found away from home, and some of the best memories can be made over a meal. Want to really get away for a gourmet feast? Check out these five great upcoming food and wine festivals.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine
This grand tasting is held from April 28th – May 1st and includes 200 wineries plus 25 chefs, including celebrity chef Shawn McClain, “best brunch in the country chef” Michael Schwartz, and pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith from Miami’s Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, as well as select sit-down meals.

Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit
Held from May 5th – May 7th, this festival will include executive chefs from Rao, Michael Mina, and more.

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
From May 19th – 22nd, the home to “Top Chef” fan favorite Kevin Gillespie will be hosting this festival which will include players such as Charleston’s Sean Brock, Joe Schafer, John Besh, and other highly regarded chefs.

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
From May 24th-28th , multiple top restaurants will be showing up to the Big Easy to showcase local food.

Food & Wine Classic in Aspen
It may not be ski season, but that won’t stop the crowds from descending on Aspen from June 17th – 19th. Sponsored by Food & Wine magazine, the event will feature cooking demonstrations and wine tastings as well as seminars led by wine and food superstars such as Mario Batali, José Andrés, Jacques Pépin, Gail Simmons, and Joshua Wesson.

Want to get away to one of the events? CheapOAir is offering special package deals with hotel and flight suggestions to each of the destinations listed above.