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Winter Culinary Festivals - Food, Wine and More

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Photo of Oysters
Photo: Kim Steele / Getty Images
Each season in the Southeast U.S. brings delicious local bounty and culinary celebrations, and winter is no exception. In fact, winter is a wonderful time to plan a culinary visit to enjoy one or more of the popular annual food festivals, wine showcases, winter restaurant week dining and more. Here are several featured highlights, from large internationally renowned events to unique local gatherings:

Winter Restaurant Weeks:

Enjoy dining for less during a getaway or day trip to one of the many Southeast U.S. cities that celebrate winter restaurant week (or longer), mostly during January, although a few take place in February.
Southeast US Winter Restaurant Weeks - More Information

Chocolate Festivals:

Several scrumptious chocolate festivals take place during January, February and early March offering sweet options from chocolate tasting and competitions to wine and chocolate pairing, chocolate fashions, chocolate-themed spa treatments and more.
Southeast US Chocolate Festivals - More Information

January Culinary Festivals and Events:

  • Annual Florida Keys Seafood Festival
    January 18 - 19, 2014 - Key West, Florida
    This annual festival showcases fresh local seafood harvested, cooked and served by commercial fishermen of the Florida Keys. Other activities throughout the day include live music, vendors, raffles and family friendly fun.
    Florida Keys Seafood Festival - More Information

  • Annual Frog Leg Festival
    January 16 - 19, 2014 - Fellsmere, Florida
    Enjoy Frog Leg and Gator Tail dinners, or if you prefer, traditional favorites like sausage and peppers, candy apples and more at this annual four-day festival, which attracts approximately 80,000 attendees. Other activities include games, Midway rides, entertainment, artisans and crafters.
    Frog Leg Festival - More Information

  • Key Largo Stone Crab and Seafood Festival
    January 25 - 26, 2014 - Key Largo, Florida
    Held each year on the last weekend in January, this festival highlights the fresh seafood of Key Largo with cooking and fishing demonstrations, key lime pie eating contests, shrimp eating contests and more. Live music, arts and crafts, fireworks and activities for children add to the fun for all ages. With more than 100 vendors and plenty of fresh seafood, this is the largest annual event in Key Largo.
    Key Largo Stone Crab and Seafood Festival - More Information

  • TowneBank Coastal Virginia Wine Fest
    January 25 - 26, 2014 - Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Enjoy Held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, this celebration of Virginia wine features tastings, educational seminars, entertainment and up to 90 vendors, including more than 30 Virginia wineries.
    TowneBank Coastal Virginia Wine Fest - More Information

  • Lowcountry Oyster Festival at Boone Hall Plantation
    January 26, 2014 - Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina (near Charleston)
    Activities at this annual Charleston area event include an oyster shucking contest, an oyster eating contest, local live entertainment, an area for children and more. With 80,000 pounds of oysters on hand, this event is not to be missed by oyster lovers. Also, a food court offers a variety options from favorite local restaurants for those who have not embraced the wonders of the oyster.
    Lowcountry Oyster Festival - More Information

  • Pass Christian Oyster Festival
    January 25 - 26, 2014 - Pass Christian, Mississippi
    Celebrating its second year, this festival features oysters all day, anyway plus other food options, games, contests, rides, arts and crafts, a fishing rodeo, lighted boat parade and more. Also, check out the Friday Seafood Boil on the Beach and the Friday evening Oyster Fest Patron Party.
    Pass Christian Oyster Festival - More Information

February Culinary Festivals and Events:

  • Bands, Brew and BBQ
    SeaWorld Orlando: Weekends from February 1 through March 9, 2014
    Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Weekends from February 8 through March 9, 2014
    This lively annual festival takes place on Saturdays and Sundays at SeaWorld Orlando and at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, featuring tasty BBQ from local restaurants and park chefs, craft and international beers, and a great concert lineup of award-winning country and classic rock artists.
    Bands, Brew and BBQ - More Information | SeaWorld | Busch Gardens

  • The Sandestin Gumbo Festival
    February 14 - 15, 2014 - The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
    A more than 20 year tradition, this annual gumbo cook-off features tasty gumbo samples and Bloody Mary's, plus family entertainment and live music throughout the weekend.
    Sandestin Gumbo Festival - More Information

  • Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival
    February 20 - 23, 2014 - Miami, Florida (Various South Beach Venues)
    One of the top annual gourmet events in the country, this prestigious annual four-day destination event showcases world renowned celebrity chefs, winemakers, spirits producers and culinary personalities with close to 50 events, including dining events, after parties, seminars, demonstrations, the popular Grand Tasting Village and Tasting Tents and more. This wonderful event is my February 2014 Travel Top Pick... Read More

  • The International Water Tasting Competition
    February 20 - 23, 2014 – Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
    Held each year in the historic spa town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, this annual competition is the largest and longest running water tasting competition in the world. More than 100 waters from across the country and around the globe compete in categories such as Best Municipal Water, Best Bottled Water, Best Sparkling Water, Best Purified Drinking Water and Best Packaging.
    International Water Tasting Competition - More Information

  • Virginia Wine Expo
    February 18 - 23, 2014 - Richmond, Virginia
    A celebration of Virginia's growing wine industry, this annual event features Virginia wine, specialty food, gourmet luncheons, wine and food pairing seminars and more.
    Virginia Wine Expo - More Information

Early March Culinary Festivals and Events:

  • The Florida Strawberry Festival
    February 27 to March 9, 2014 - Plant City, Florida
    This annual festival has been attracting locals and visitors alike to the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World for over 75 years. A celebration of the agricultural and historical legacy of the Florida strawberry, the family-oriented festival features entertainment, competitions, youth events, midway rides, close to 400 vendors, agricultural exhibits, and more in addition to fresh strawberries, tasty strawberry creations and strawberry-themed products.
    The Florida Strawberry Festival - More Information

  • BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival
    March 6 — 9, 2014 - Charleston, South Carolina
    Hailed as one of the top U.S. food and wine festivals, the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival is an annual celebration of the legendary cuisine, culinary history and culture of Charleston, South Carolina and the surrounding Lowcountry. The four-day festival features Grand Tasting Tents in the heart of Historic Downtown Charleston, special events, parties, cooking demonstrations, competitions and more.
    BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival - More Information

  • Hilton Head Island Wine and Food Festival
    March 10 - 15, 2014 - Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
    Head to lovely Hilton Head Island to enjoy events featuring local bounty and coastal culinary treasures, including Great Chefs of the South Wine Dinners, wine and food tastings, silent wine auctions, cooking demonstrations and more.
    Hilton Head Island Wine and Food Festival - More Information

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