Foodies: don’t miss these 10 Kentucky festivals

The words food and festival seem to go hand-in-hand in the Bluegrass State.

Poke sallet, mushrooms, watermelons and apples. Sorghum, spoonbread, beer cheese, fried chicken and, of course, barbecue… these are just some of the mouthwatering foods that are celebrated with their very own festival in Kentucky.

You can practically find a festival devoted to a unique food on almost any given weekend in Kentucky.

Food festivals you can’t miss

1.) Mountain Mushroom Festival – April 27-28, 2019

Yes, there is a whole festival dedicated to mushrooms in Kentucky. But not just any mushroom. We’re talking about the Appalachian morel mushroom. In Irvine, they celebrate this shroom each April. This one-of-a-kind festival includes a morel market, mushroom cook-off and also displays related to the Kentucky agate gem rock native to the area.

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2.) International Barbecue Festival – May 10-11, 2019

Every second weekend in May, Owensboro springs to life with the wonderful smells and sounds of the International Bar-B-Q Festival. Smoke from hickory-stoked fires blends with the aromas of sizzling chicken, bubbling burgoo and roasting mutton to complete the festival atmosphere. Owensboro is one of 11 best BBQ cities in America, so if you like smoked meat, you won’t want to miss this.

Chew up all the details.

3.) Poke Sallet Festival – June 6-8, 2019

Harlan County celebrates its love for poke sallet with a festival that started more than six decades ago. In case you are wondering, poke sallet is a hardy plant that grows wild in the region. At this June festival, locals cook up savory dishes with the spinach-like leaves of the pokeweed plant as a beauty contest, music, and other fun activities entertain guests.

Check it out for yourself.

4.) Beer Cheese Festival – June 8, 2019

Sample a large variety of beer cheese and vote for your favorite during Winchester’s annual Beer Cheese Festival. The festival also features music, a children’s area, arts and crafts, and Kentucky Proud food products. In years past, the one-day event has brought in more than 12,000 visitors.

Here is what you need to know.

5.) The Original Goettafest – July 25-28 & August 1-4, 2019

Covington’s MainStrasse Village hosts the Original Goettafest showcasing goetta, a unique dish from Germany. This festival is a celebration stuffed from top to bottom with live entertainment, family-focused goetta games, and super inventive food. , it is only at Goettafest that the very best culinary craftspeople in the area set up shop side-by-side to flirt with the taste buds of the faithful. From fudge to pizza, their goetta-based creations test the limits of goetta as an ingredient.

Here is what you need to know.

6.) Monroe County Watermelon Festival – August 31, 2019

First held in 1980, the Monroe County Watermelon Festival has grown to be one of the largest festivals in the area, attracting more than 10,000 people to Tompkinsville. The festival is held on the Saturday before Labor Day each year and celebrates all things watermelon.

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7.) Barbecue on the River – September 26-28, 2019

The Heartland’s biggest barbecue festival is known to draw in thousands of people. Not to mention, more than 35 barbecue teams cook up 60 tons of meat during the three-day event. The mission is simple: raise the most money for charity, cook the best BBQ in the country, and draw the biggest crown to historic downtown Paducah. 2019 will mark 25 years of BBQing bliss.

Click here for all the details.

8.) Casey County Apple Festival – September 26-28, 2019

From the first Apple Festival held in 1974, The Casey County Apple Festival has become one of Kentucky’s best street festivals. In 2015, it was even voted best festival in Kentucky by Kentucky Living Magazine. It specializes in the new, the happening and the now. The festival features some 200 vendors displaying Arts & Crafts, Food & Flea Market Booths, plus various pageants & Car Show!

Bite into the details here.

9.) World Chicken Festival – September 26-29, 2019

Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, is an icon known worldwide. Turns out, Laurel County, Kentucky is the proud home of the Colonel’s first and original restaurant established in the 1940s. Lee Cummings, a co-founder of Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, also began his career in 1952 with his uncle, Colonel Sanders, in Laurel County. The Annual World Chicken Festival is a tribute to this heritage. Everyone is invited to downtown London the last full weekend of September for the annual festival.

Here are all the details.

10.) Sorghum Festival – September 27-29, 2019

Get the taste of pure Kentucky during the Sorghum Festival. For years, thousands have celebrated this grain used for sweetening. In fact, this festival has been going on in West Liberty since 1971. A mule-drawn cane mill, steaming vats and little jugs of sorghum molasses set the stage for three days of Kentucky mountain heritage. This festival happens annually during the last full weekend of September.

Check it out for yourself.

There is no denying it: Kentucky loves food.

If you are looking to explore the Bluegrass State, you can easily let your taste buds be your guide.

Nichole Cartmell

Nichole Cartmell

Nichole Cartmell is the reporter and producer for Heartland Weekend.