Upcoming NC October food events (NC Seafood Festival, Swansboro Mullet, Valle Country Fair) - any gems?
October seems to be foodie festival month here in North Carolina. Right off the bat, I notice three prominent festivals with food or baked goodies as the main draw:
North Carolina Seafood Festival (Morehead City) - October 5-7
-fresh seafood as far as the eye can see
Swansboro Mullet Festival (Swansboro) - October 13-14
-mullet cooked every which way (and perhaps other seafood too?
Valle County Fair (Valle Crucis) - October 20
-homemade (literally, baked in people's home kitchens) cakes, pies, muffins, jams, jellies
-fresh cider and apple butter
-brunswick stew, chili, bbq for lunch
-fried chicken + country fixins dinner
Has anyone been to any of these three events? If so, any particular vendor (e.g. Mr. X for shrimpburger, Ms. Y for apple pie) that you can recommend? Any event not worth the drive?
Do not!!! I repeat: do not go to NC Seafood Festival in Morehead City. Trust me, I live there. If you want to eat anything remotely similar to local seafood, you will not find it there. What you will find is the same giant commercial vendors that sell alligator burgers and fried shrimp plates from Vietnam. It's overpriced, uninteresting and dishonest. Most of the locals go out of town to avoid the whole event, a lot of the better restaurants (who actually do serve local seafood- like Cafe Zito) will shut down during the Festival. Please believe me: you will not find fresh seafood as far as the eye can see, you will find funnel cakes and cotton candy.
Unfortunately, I second demiglace's thoughts on the NC Seafood Festival. I was sorely disappointed when the only clam chowder I came upon was the same found from most cans. Nothing unique or fresh about this festival, unless you're into "carnival" type food. It now makes sense why all the supposed legit places to eat were closed.
If you are going to be in the High Country the weekend of October 20th you may as well head over to Banner Elk for the Woolly Worm Festival as well:
I have been to both the Valle Country Fair and the Woolly Worm Festival several times over the years and stocked up on jams and apple butter, but I don't recall eating at either event and look forward to your report.
By the way, leaves are just starting to turn. Reports for WNC have spread that it will not be a good leaf season. Local reports for the High Country are more encouraging as we had much more rain in the late summer months.