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Advice on Southern food festivals

Hello chow hounds

Organising a trip from Altanta, to New Orleans, via Birmingham, Jackson, the Delta and straight up to Nashville.

Were travelling in mid April begining of May ( Londoners escaping the Royal Wedding ) and are keen to visit any food festivals along the way.

So far we have found a crawfish festival in Biloxi and a BBQ and blues festival in Birmingham ( Bessemer). Has anyone been to either, or can recommend any more? And is crawfish widely available at this time? Any other recommendations most welcome.

Thanks!

Pea

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  1. I'm from Boston and can't give first hand knowledge but your question looked so lonely and since I'm researching the area too, I figured I'd pass on a few good sites if you haven't seen them.

    http://www.deep-south-usa.com
    http://www.gulfcoast.org
    http://www.tupelo.net/
    http://www.visitmississippi.org/
    http://www.visitthedelta.com/
    http://www.southernfoodways.com/touri...

    And a history site: http://civilwartraveler.com/

    1. The French Quarter Festival, acoridngt to my calendar, is April 7-10 and, while it might be too late for you, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish destival is May 6-8. This is the rejuvenated festival that went moribund for awhile. It's quite a show.

      there is a crafish etoufee festival in Eunice, LA, sometime in there, too..maybe later in May.

      Crawfish are "in" right now..small-ish but good. I am guessing that we should do really well in about four or five weeks so you will be hitting the season at the right time. AM still waiting on a report from a friend whose brother farms the critters over near Basile.

      -----
      French Quarter Cafe
      249 S Main St, Church Point, LA 70525

      1. Hi Pea,

        I live in Birmingham, and while I've never been the Bob Sykes Festival (I assume this is the one you're referring to), I will say I believe it's more of a small-scale music festival featuring food from Bob Sykes BBQ, a local restaurant, and not a true BBQ festival. However, I can recommend some other Birmingham-area events:

        -Corks & Chefs (April 30 - May 1): this is part of the Magic City Art Connection, a really great, large, outdoor art festival in downtown Birmingham. Corks & Chefs features food and drinks from local chefs and is always a really fun and tasty event. Magic City Art Connection is free, but tickets to Corks & Chefs are generally $25 (and well worth it). I don't believe tickets are on sale yet, but here's the website: www.magiccityart.com

        -Magic City Brewfest (June 4 - 5): This may be a bit past your anticipated travel date, but if you're in the area this is an event worth checking out. As the name implies, the centerpiece of the festival is beer - especially craft beer and local and regional breweries. It's a whole lot of fun, and a great place to get a sense of the local flavor. Local restaurants are also set up as food vendors throughout this festival. magiccitybrewfest.com

        Worth noting (possibly), is that the weekend of April 29 - 30 is also the Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil here in Birmingham (schaeffercrawfishboil.com). I only bring this up because of your apparent interest in crawfish, because there's lots of it to be had there. It's really much more of a music festival than any sort of food festival, and not a great music festival at that. haha. But if you want crawfish, that's one place to get plenty of it (certainly can't attest to the quality of it though!

        )

        Enjoy your trip, and welcome to the South! :)

        -----
        Magic City
        2018 2nd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203

        4 Replies
        1. re: bhamgirl99

          Thanks so much for the links Joanie and the crawfish lowdown hazlehurst shame we won't be around early may form the Breaux Bridge. Bhamgirl99 great to know about the Schaeffer boil, so glad I posted a question. What a friendly board. Thanks all, just like the hospitality in the South.

          1. re: peasouper

            I'm doing my best to prove that not everyone from the Northeast is a brusque and rude. Report back altho I think we may be away at about the same time.

            1. re: peasouper

              I totally disagree on the Crawfish Boil - it's amazing this year (as in better than other years, for a crawfish boil that started in a guys back yard you wouldn't believe this weekend long festival pulls in some major bands). Plus I happen to love the crawfish and all the other food vendors out and about. Tons of em. I mean some of the musicians to name a few are: Weezer; Cee Lo Green; Stone Temple Pilots; Sublime; Nelly - etc etc.

              Go to the website: http://www.schaeffercrawfishboil.com/...

              History is interesting and gives tons of info!

              www.schaeffereyecentercrawfishboil.com

              1. re: southernprincess

                I thought most of the food vendors were lame the one time I went two years ago - think country fair foods. The crawfish were very bland as well in the "VIP" area (which was not very VIP) - they didn't taste like they used any boil, and I don't think they used any andouille. The crowds were a little rough. Still, would not mind seeing Cee Lo.

          2. Here's a link to events in The Delta in May. Looks interesting. Good luck.

            http://www.visitthedelta.com/festival...

            1. Hi, peasouper.
              In Clarksdale, Mississippi, the Juke Joint Festival is 14-17 April this year. It's a great time, and not as punishingly hot as other festivals here later in the summer.
              www.jukejointfestival.com