Best Heritage & Food Festivals

Become Scottish For a Day at the Bakersfield (CA) Scottish Games

Every year for the past 13 years, the Kern County Scottish Society has put their bagpipes where their mouths are and have put on a show of shows for all who love the very best of what outdoor Festivals offer. If you love Food Festivals, Heritage Festivals, or Music Festivals, the Bakersfield Scottish Games brings them all together on one special day in early April in Bakersfield, California.

The Bakersfield Scottish Games, otherwise known as the Bakersfield Gathering and Games, is a fun-filled day of music, dancing, Scottish clan culture and history, solo piping competition, and athletics reminiscent of times hundreds of years ago. The Bakersfield Scottish Games is a chance for Scots to show the world why a Gathering and Games event is important to their heritage – because clans hundreds of years ago would “gather” to meet old friends and reestablish clan contacts while the clan chieftains met and discussed political and social events of the day. The strongest among them would compete as entertainment.

The day ends with an exciting Ceilidh (Gaelic for party and pronounced kay-lee) which offers impromptu music, dancing, bangers, and beer.

Two great reasons to get to the best festivals this year: Heritage Festivals and Food Festivals.

Attend a heritage and food festival to learn more about your culture and other cultures. The whole idea behind a heritage and food festival is to learn and sample customs and traditions that have been passed down from previous generations to the current one including food (of course), wines, beers, liquors, music, dress, dances and more. A heritage and food festival ensures widespread exposure to these “handed down” or inherited customs and traditions beyond the customary insulated borders of the regions that always celebrate them.

Kevin Blake walks us through heritage and food festivals that celebrate our ancestry and proudly applauds where we’re going, too. Best of all, you don’t have to be German to enjoy imported beer, Italian to enjoy fresh pasta or Scottish to enjoy golf- you can attend any heritage festival regardless of your ancestry! Expect to find excellent fresh food, traditional music, educational workshops and plenty of people-watching when you go to one of these festivals this year.

Foodies wait all year to go to the wine and food festivals outlined in the Best Festivals Guide. Breeze through the windy city at Taste of Chicago and sample local and ethnic specialties you won’t find anywhere else. Take a Bite of Portland, Oregon this year and experience some of the country’s best wines. Finally, consider Anthony Pierpont’s favorite festival: San Diego’s annual Bay Wine & Food Festival for the ultimate in wines, foods and entertainment.

Best Festivals Guide to Scottish, Italian and German Heritage Festivals from Kevin Blake of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“Sometimes I am German,” says Kevin. “And sometimes I am Italian or Scottish. I find I can be pretty flexible about my heritage when it comes to drinking good wine and people watching on a summer evening,” says Kevin. Explore your hidden ancestral roots at these fun heritage festivals:

  • The Texas Scottish Festival & Highland Games is one of the largest Scottish heritage festivals in the United States. Held during the first weekend in June at Maverick Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the festival features many children’s events, games and activities, making it a family-friendly affair. The heritage festival is known for featuring Scottish music, a golf tournament and traditional Scottish sporting events including the caber toss, stone toss and sheaf toss.
  • The Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival is one of the largest Italian heritage festivals in the country. Held on the last weekend of July in Wheeling, West Virginia, the festival features a Bocce tournament, fresh pasta exhibit, wine tasting and a wine making contest.
  • Oktoberfest Zinzinnati proudly displays Cincinnati’s German roots in this annual September heritage festival. People come from all over the world to attend the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich. Music, German food, German beer and wine and warm Midwestern weather makes this German heritage festival a winner year after year!

Best Festivals Guide to Wine and Food Festivals from Anthony Pierpont of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Wine and food festivals offer visitors an opportunity to learn more about locally made wines and specialty foods of the region. While many wine aficionados may be tied to their Napa Valley wines (we won’t argue with that), regions across the country offer their own specialty wines, many of which have won prestigious awards in wine competitions.

Specialty foods at wine and food festivals give you the opportunity to sample foods you might not find at your grocery store or in a restaurant. Visit food and wine festivals to try pierogi (dumplings filled with cheese, meats and potatoes) and sauerkraut balls (delectable fried festival fare filled with cream cheese, sausage and sauerkraut) or to feast on favorite stand-bys like barbecue and kettle corn.

“Some of the biggest wine and food festivals, like the one in San Diego, offer wine tasting and cooking classes,” says Anthony. “So far I’ve never made it to the educational workshops- the wine tasting is just too much fun!” It’s food worth flying across the country to eat: the Best Festivals Guide to festivals for gourmands and wine-lovers.

  • The Taste of Chicago food festival begins at the end of June and continues through the first week of July. Visit Chicago to sample foods from more than 60 local restaurateurs focused on local and ethnic specialties. More than 3 million people attend each year!
  • The Bite of Portland, Oregon food festival highlights Oregon’s top restaurants, and showcases fine beers and wines from the region. Workshops feature premier chefs demonstrating their skills and national acts perform music, too. Held along the beautiful Willamette River in the same spot as theannual blues fest, it’s easy to see why Bite makes it into the Best Festivals Guide year after year!
  • San Diego’s Bay Wine & Food Festival is a stand-out addition to the annual list of best festivals. The festival features wine from more than 150 wineries and food from more than 60 restaurants. Cooking classes, wine tasting and celebrity chefs make San Diego’s festival the biggest and best food and wine festival in Southern California. Don’t miss this festival when it returns in November.

We thank our contributors:

  • Kevin Blake Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Anthony Pierpont St. Paul, Minnesota

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