10 Creative Food and Drink Festivals to Experience (2023)

Discover unique and creative international food and drink festivals to add to your travel bucket list to boost creative thinking through cultural immersion.

Planning travel around food and drinks is a great way to experience a new destination, connect with people, and learn about a culture. It’s also great for creativity. Besides entertaining the tastebuds through new experiences, food and drink festivals are always paired with unique and fun activities that can strengthen creative skills.

How Food and Drink Festivals Support Creativity

  • Builds newneural connections
  • Fostersfunandplay
  • Stress relief and relaxation
  • Supports local economy andcreative communities
  • A learning experience that cultivatesempathyandbroadens perspectives
  • Self-discoveryandactualizationthrough new experiences
  • Networking,collaborating, andsocializingwith others

La Tomatina

La Tomatinais a tomato-throwing festival held in the Valencian town of Buñol, Spain. Not your typical food and drink festival, this fun event is celebrated every August on the last Wednesday of the month since 1945. It’s been canceled since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s coming back in 2022.

The event started when young people from the crowd got involved with the Giants and Big-Heads figures parade. It got out of hand fast. When one of the costume heads fell off, participants snapped and began grabbing vegetables from market stalls and throwing them at the crowd. Despite local forces and even the military banning people from reliving the food fight, it’s grown in popularity and become a yearly tradition.

There are rules to keep it fun and safe, and since 2013 people are required to get tickets to participate.

Details

Tips

  • Arrive early.
  • Buy/bring a waterproof camera or phone case.
  • Tomatoes are hard to get out of clothes. Wear something you don’t mind throwing away after.
  • Wear goggles and closed-toed shoes.
  • Don’t throw solid tomatoes. Squash, then throw!

Oktoberfest

10 Creative Food and Drink Festivals to Experience (1)

Oktoberfestis the world’s largest celebration of beer and has expanded far from its German origins. Despite being celebrated internationally, the best place to celebrate is still in Germany.

The two-week food and drink festival is held every year in Munich, Germany, starting in late September and going into early October. The festival is an important part of Bavarian culture and has been celebrated since 1810.

During the event, visitors enjoy drinking, traditional culinary delights like bratwurst, pretzels, roasted meats, numerous attractions, amusement rides, cultural stalls, and more. There are so many attractions and traditions it’s hard to list them all.

Details

Tips

  • Oktoberfest is afree event. Don’t be scammed by people selling tickets for entry.
  • Plan early. Over six million people from around the world attend the event every year.
  • Stay as close to theWiesnas possible. This makes travel to the event grounds as easy as possible.
  • Many dress up in traditionalOktoberfest outfits, but it’s not required. Also, do your research.Some tourist costumes can be offensive.
  • Download the Oktoberfest appto make your visit a little easier.

Salon Du Chocolat

Chocolate has manybenefits for the creative mind, and this creative food festival is great for chocolate lovers who like to travel.Salon du Chocolat, which translates toSalon of Chocolate, is the world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate.

For five days, visitors can enjoy a creative world of chocolate across many events and demonstrations, most notably the chocolate fashion show. Artisans from all over the world are represented and can even compete in chocolate competitions. It’s a chocolate lover’s dream.

Originally only in Paris, this chocolate festival has spread around the world. With events taking place in New York, Tokyo, Moscow, Beijing, Shanghai, Ecuador, and more. There are many opportunities to experience this food and drink festival.

Details

  • When: Paris (Oct 28 – Nov 1, 2022) Check the website for more dates and locations
  • Where: France, Lyon, Seoul, Dubai, Shanghai, New York, and more
  • Tickets: Salon-du-chocolat.com

Tips

  • Learn thehistoryandcultural differencesof Chocolate around the world.
  • Joinworkshopsto learn new creative skills using chocolate.

Pizzafest

If there is one type of food that everyone can agree on and come together for, it’s pizza. If you love pizza,Pizzafestis a cultural food and drink festival for you.

Pizzafestis the world’s largest celebration of pizza in Naples, Italy, the birthplace of pizza. Experience different kinds of pizza from around the world, pizza-making workshops, unique exhibits, live music concerts, fun contests, and much more.

If Naples is too far for you, this fun festival can now be experienced in cities around the world.

Details

  • When: June 17, 2022 – Find updates and more dates at pizzavillage.it
  • Where: Naples, Italy
  • Tickets: Free to attend

Tips

  • Don’t stick to your usual pizza favorites.Try different stylesandtoppings.
  • Learn how to cook pizza at one of thecooking classesandworkshops.

Mid-Autumn Festival

10 Creative Food and Drink Festivals to Experience (2)

TheMid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival or 中秋节 Zhōngqiūjié, is a celebration of gratitude, family, and praying for good fortune.

Traditionally it falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which is in September or early October on the Gregorian calendar. It is believed that the moon is at its brightest and fullest during this time of harvest.

What makes this festival special and fun to celebrate is the sharing of mooncakes with family and friends and the many traditions of good fortune. Each tradition represents a different principle and life lesson.

Celebrated a little differently in each Asian country that observes the cultural food festival. There are many ways to celebrate and enjoy.

Details

  • When: Sep 10, 2022
  • Where: Asian communities and countries
  • Tickets: Usually celebrated in families, but many park events require tickets.

Tips

  • Book Travel in Advance. This is a popular time to travel in Asian countries.
  • BuyMid-Autumn Festival lanternsto release for good fortune.
  • Experience festival activities like eatingmooncakes,fire dragon dancein Hong Kong,park festivalsacross China,moon-gazing, and more.

Wildfoods Festivalis an annual food festival inHokitika,New Zealand, held in March (postponed until 11th March 2023). This creative food festival is known for a vast collection of unusual foods, including huhu grubs, lamb’s testicles, and more.

Not for the faint of heart, this unique food and drink festival is for the adventurous, although some stalls provide more normal types of food. Even if you don’t come for the strange food, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy, including a Feral Fashion competition, a firework display, and plenty of local musical entertainment.

Details

  • When: Postponed until 11th March 2023
  • Where: Hokitika, New Zealand
  • Tickets: Wildfoods.co.nz

Tips

  • Don’t stressabout eating weird food. There are other options for the less adventurous.
  • Better withfriendsandfamily.
  • Dress up. Besides the Feral Fashion competition, it’s a fun atmosphere for self-expression.
  • Even if you don’t like the weird food, these experiences build new neural connections andtrain creative skillslike openness.

Night of the Radishes

Night of the Radishes(Noche de Rábanos) is an annual creative food and drink festival held on December 23 inOaxaca, Mexico.

Dating back to the colonial period when radishes were first introduced by the Spanish, this creative festival is dedicated to carving unique and beautiful pieces of art out of giant radishes. Farmers in the area first started carving radishes to attract customers at the Christmas market, and due to its popularity, the city turned it into a formal competition and celebration.

To enjoy the full creative process, arrive early to see the artists working on their radishes and enjoy other features of the festival that go into the night, including concerts, fireworks, and more.

Details

  • When: Dec 23, 2022
  • Where: Oaxaca,Mexico
  • Tickets: Free to Attend

Tips

  • Arrive earlyif you don’t like waiting in long lines.
  • Experience cultural food and drink activities in the area likeMezcal, mole, Oaxacan hot chocolate, cooking classes, food tours, Sunday market, and more.

Vegetarian Festival

10 Creative Food and Drink Festivals to Experience (3)

TheVegetarian Festivalin Phuket, Thailand, is a nine-day celebration and detoxification of the mind and body, held on the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, usually in September or October. Also known as theNine Emperor Gods Festivalis a festival from the Chinese lunar calendar but is primarily celebrated in Southeast Asian countries. It is based on the belief and practice of abstaining from meat and other stimulants to clear the mind and body for better health.

The colorful festival has many basic practices of detoxification, but it is most famous for its “extreme” methods that aren’t for the faint-hearted. In the parade and shrines, devote practitioners can be seen doing everything from body piercing to firewalking. The acts of self-mortification are to honor the gods and express happiness for overcoming suffering and struggles during the year.

Tips

  • Vegetarian food stalls and restaurants will be marked withyellow flagswith red Chinese or Thai characters.
  • Visit the many beautifulshrinesandtemples.
  • It’s common for those participating towear whiteduring the festival.
10 Creative Food and Drink Festivals to Experience (4)

TheMaine Lobster Festival in Rockland, Maine, is a five-day food festival that celebrates the best of Maine, from fresh lobster dinners to creative activities for all ages.

What started in 1947 as a way to revive the Midcoast Maine communities has turned into an internationally-recognized celebration of local seafood. Besides the delicious food and entertainment, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy the local arts and crafts, cooking contests, creative races, and much more.

Details

Tips

  • There are plenty of places to stay for all budgets, including nearby towns ofCamden,Rockport,Thomaston,Owls Head,Tenants Harbor, andPort Clyde.
  • Rockland is considered thearts capital of the midcoast, with many creatives museums and galleries.
  • Work off your lobster meals with the many outdoor activities likehikes,sea kayaking, andlighthousetours.

Chinchilla Melon Festival

Chinchilla Melon Festivalis a unique food festival held every two years inChinchilla, Australia. Known as the ‘Melon Capital’ of Australia, Chinchilla is a rural town in the Western Downs Region, Queensland, Australia.

Starting in 1994, this creative food and drink festival features many fun melon-themed events such as melon skiing, melon ironman, melon bungee, pip (seed) spitting, melon eating, and tossing, concerts, parades, and more.

Details

  • When: Postponed until Feb 16-19, 2023
  • Where: Chinchilla, Queensland, Australia
  • Tickets: Melonfest.com.au

Tips

  • Book early. Accommodations fill up months in advance.Camping,caravaning,farm stays, andrural retreatsare great options for places to stay.
  • Stayhydrated.
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