Ask any local in the area, and they’ll tell you that Asheville is the place to unlocking a culinary experience like no other. The talented chefs and mixologists here are constantly trying to improve their menus, and all that competition makes you the winner. The food and drink festivals here are designed to showcase the best of the best, so you can take a crash course in all your favorite cuisines.
The festivals heating up Asheville’s calendar in 2020 are more than just a place to fill up your belly though. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about how the locals live in Asheville and the causes they care about.
1. Asheville Veganfest 2020
Held on June 14 in Pack Square Park, the Veganfest is full of delicious food and beer for you to sample. This is a celebration of more than just the principles of veganism, it’s an entire festival of people rejoicing in just how tasty this lifestyle can be. Every year, the market debuts with new products that manage to fool even the most devoted of carnivores. Packed with vegan products for you to try (or buy if you prefer) plus lively speakers, the whole event is a can’t-miss for anyone who supports the cause.
2. Beer City Festival
Held on the weekend of May 30, the Beer City Festival features both local and regional breweries around Asheville. You’ll get a chance to taste all the experimental new flavors before they make it out on the official summer menus. From chocolate stouts to spicy brews, there are a lot of variations to discover and plenty of brewers who can tell you the inspiration behind each sample. Add in some live music, and you have every excuse to blow off some steam at this fun-filled event.
3. 2020 Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest Asheville, NC
Taking place on April 26 at Highland Brewing, the Cheese Fest is chock-full of pairings, beverages, and of course, cheese vendors. It’s worth coming for the cheese tease chef competition alone. Whether it’s been aged a few hours or a few decades, this beloved food is more versatile than you might think. This event is meant for the whole family, and features a tent where kids can play games, take part in a scavenger hunt, and enjoy a plethora of activities.
4. Hola Asheville Festival
Latin America culture in Asheville is on full display in the Hola Asheville Festival held on June 20 in downtown. You’ll get to taste some truly incredible food including the most popular dishes of Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. But if you’re looking for another type of cuisine, you can rest assured that you’ll find it. With more than 20 countries represented, attendees can spread out their appetite over dozens of dishes. This festival also includes the pageantry, costumes, and music of Latin America.
5. Chow Chow
Chow Chow was created to give the local talents of Asheville a stage to show off their craft. If you attend this festival held on September 12, you’ll see plenty of people involved in the local culinary scene, including bakers, brewers, farmers, and chefs. But you’ll also get to see potters and weavers in their element too. This is a chance to hear the stories of the locals and how they’re influenced by all that Asheville has to offer. It’s also the perfect place to stop if you’re looking for unique goods or foods that you can take home or give as gifts.
6. Asheville Spring Herb Festival
Herbs are the cornerstone of so many of our favorite dishes, marrying all the delicate flavors together in delightful harmony. If you want to pay homage to these small but mighty plants, the Asheville Spring Herb Festival will be happy to host you. Bringing together more than 60 herb businesses, the Spring Herb Festival gives you a way to try different herbs, learn more about gardening, and get to know the local growers in your area. Discussions will range from hybrids to soil additives to organic tips. This is the nation’s largest herb festival and it celebrates its 30th year on March 20, 2020.
7. Cider, Wine & Dine Weekend
Located in nearby Hendersonville, NC, the Cider, Wine & Dine Festival on April 16 includes the wineries and cideries of Henderson County coming together to give their loyal fans what they want. While the event will feature plenty of live music, production tours, movies, and fire pits, the real emphasis is on how food can be best paired with all of your favorite drinks. The sharp bite of a cider against the richness of cheddar can be a sensation that lingers long after you go home. It’s a truly unforgettable way to support the local producers in the area all while enjoying an award-winning festival.
8. Burning Can Brevard
Also located in Hendersonville, Burning Can Brevard is a weekend devoted to the joy of living life without the 24-hour news cycle that surrounds you. Beginning on August 7, the products featured range from sporting goods to camping equipment, and they’re all designed to help make outdoor summer weekends that much more memorable. Of course, you’re not expected to give up good food and drinks just because you’re outside or at a sporting event. There will also be plenty of food and beer displays to help everyone learn more about how to satisfy their appetites when they’re out and about.
As you can see from our list, the festivals of Asheville each have their own personality for you to explore. You’re especially encouraged to attend one that may stray a little from your own culinary tastes. Just because you’ve never tried vegan food, doesn’t mean you won’t be pleasantly surprised by what they have to offer. It’s the perfect way to branch out without having to commit to one dish, beer, or wine.