Dig Into Blueberries, Bourbon, and Burgers at 15 Hudson Valley Food Festivals This Summer
From beer and wine to honey, ribs, and bacon, local fests have all the treats to fuel you through sunshine-filled days along the Hudson River.
Farmers & Chefs truck at the Warwick Food Truck Festival / Photo by Mary-Ellen Kerr
Summer days in the Hudson Valley are sweet. Literally speaking, they’re filled with drippy ice cream cones, homemade donuts, and confectionary fair treats (we see you, 4-H milkshakes). Of course, they’re also packed to the brim with food festivals so scrumptious that it almost doesn’t seem fair to the rest of the continental United States.
From June to September, here are a few of the finger-licking local dining experiences you won’t want to miss. As you hop from one fest to the next, don’t pass up the chance to speak with Hudson Valley vendors and hear their stories.
Who knows? If you’re very, very lucky, you may even walk away with a new recipe to recreate at home.
St. Stephens Pl, Warwick
June 20-21, July 18-19, September 19-20
Warwick’s Food Truck Festival returns for its third year on three separate occasions this summer. Try a deep-fried hot dog from Jersey Johnny’s Grill, savor a slice from Vesuvius Brick Oven Pizza, and wash it all down with an over-the-top milkshake from Carnivale Donut Bar. Did we mention that there will be performances from musicians like Emish and the Moonshine Creek Bluegrass Band too?
Riverfront Park, Beacon
June 22, 1-5:30 p.m.
You had us at tacos, Hudson Valley Taco Fest. At the very start of summer, the savory affair heads to its new location in Riverfront Park to dish out loaded tacos and Latino treats. Take in the picturesque Hudson River views as you sip on sangria and sashay to the tunes of a mariachi band and freestyle mixes.
For true taco fans, the Taco Takedown eating competition will challenge your elastic waistband like never before.
Museum Village, Monroe
June 23, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The sweetest festival of them all camps out at Museum Village in June for a full day of buzzy treats and community entertainment. After you sample the honeys and artisan goods on the grounds, grab a glass of mead or cider and peruse the Monroe space’s historic exhibits or hop on a free ride from the horse-drawn Consestoga wagon.
If you plan ahead, you can wear your dancing shoes for country line dancing to old-timey tunes. For the little ones, games, face painting, and beekeeping demonstrations will keep them entertained throughout the day.
Mayor’s Park, Cold Spring
June 29, 12-6 p.m.
Love Hudson Valley brews? You’re going to want to pick up passes to Hops on the Hudson’s epic summer festival stat. The event packs more than 45 breweries and 90 taps into Cold Spring’s Mayor’s Park, so bribe your DD friend with chocolate (or a Hudson Valley spa day) now.
In addition to samplings from top local breweries, attendees can dive into brisket, tacos, pizza, sliders, and more. As far as entertainment goes, there will be axe throwing…and cornhole, raffles, and basketball if you’re looking for something tamer.
Benmarl Winery, Marlboro
July 13-14, August 10-11
Is there any drink that defines summer in the Hudson Valley quite like sangria? As the sun shines down on the Hudson River, locals and visitors alike can head to Marlboro for Benmarl’s annual Sangria Festival. Held in both July and August, the event packs in all the vino-filled fun. Hop from sampling sessions and live music shows to vineyard and cellar tours through the winery grounds.
As far as the sangria lineup goes, Benmarl will have six homemade sips on hand, plus bottled white and red sangrias that are an ideal way to bring a sliver of summer home.
Barton Orchards, Poughquag
July 20, 3-7 p.m.
Talk about a triple threat! Barton Orchards doesn’t mess around when it comes to its three-B festival, which features everyone’s favorite flavors over the course of one afternoon. Depending on which tier of tickets you purchase, you’ll have access to dozens of beer and bourbon samples, plus bacon bites for purchase or sampling and access to live music and entertainment all day long.
Not a bad way to spend a Saturday, huh?
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Brotherhood Winery, Washingtonville
August 3-4, 1-5:30 p.m.
Craving a lobster roll? You can score the iconic summertime handheld – and so much more – at the Hudson Valley’s seafood-centric fest in August. Go for the fried seafood, ceviche, and oysters, then stay for the craft brews and Brotherhood wines.
Worried about gluten-free and vegan options while you’re there? The fest has alternative treats for every sort of eater.
Empire State Plaza, Albany
August 7, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Adding to a stellar lineup of summer concerts that feature names like The Wallflowers and Salt-N-Pepa, Empire State Plaza sweetens the deal with a Capital Region food fest in August. A free event (to attend, at least), the to-do brings together all the vendors from the Empire State Plaza Farmer’s Market, along with NYS craft beers, wines, and artisanal food.
Unsurprisingly, the entertainment isn’t too shabby either. This year, Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot plays tunes to keep your feet tapping all day.
August 10, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Before apple-picking and all the harvest fetes return to the Hudson Valley, Ellenville takes a moment to appreciate the bounty of the region’s blueberry season. The day begins with a blueberry pancake breakfast to raise funds for Pioneer Engine Co., then flows into a community shindig filled with live music from local bands, a blueberry pie sale, a blueberry muffin contest, and dozens of other blueberry goodies.
P.S. You might not want to wear white to this one.
Mayor’s Park, Cold Spring
August 10-11, 11 a.m.
While Cold Spring is worthy of a Hudson Valley day trip all on its own, the riverside town is the place to be when the Putnam County Wine & Food Fest rolls into Mayor’s Park. Now in its ninth year, the hoopla features a delightful mix of wineries, cideries, distilleries, arts and crafts vendors, and, of course, food stands.
Keep an eye out for beloved local businesses like Freefall Sangria, Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, Hillrock Estate Distillery, and KAS Spirits while you’re there. Also happening that weekend, a diverse medley of demonstrations and performers take the stage to showcase everything from cooking tips to fashion shows.
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Dutchess Stadium, Wappingers Falls
August 15, 6-10 p.m.
It wouldn’t be summer in the Hudson Valley without a truly epic burger bash that throws it down between the top chefs and grill masters in the region. Held at Dutchess Stadium, Hudson Valley Magazine’s signature summer event brings together dozens of burger-flipping pros as they duke it out to see who has the best burger of them all.
As you sample burger after burger, you can wash them down with ice-cold brews (or Greenwood Lake Roasters coffee). If your teeth lean on the sweeter side, never fear! Hudson Valley favorite Cardoso Cookies will be dishing up chocolate chippers, among other things, too.
Ulster County Fairgrounds, New Paltz
When it comes to Hudson Valley Ribfest, napkins are not optional. The saucy, spicy event brings every sort of rib to the Ulster County Fairgrounds over the course of three days in August. Whether you like ‘em dry and smoky or saucy and hotter than the sun, you’ll be on cloud nine as you get your hands more than a little messy.
While the ribs are the reason to get your ticket, the musicians on deck are a worthy reason to stick around after your waistband won’t give anymore.
Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck
If you’ve never been to the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest before, it’s time to pick up tickets ASAP. The annual event is a paradise for winos, foodies, and #shoplocal supporters, thanks to the multitude of regional vendors who show up to fill the indoor spaces at the Rhinebeck fairgrounds.
On top of the abundance of New York wine available for sampling and shopping, the fest also includes wine and cooking demos throughout the course of the two days. This year, Chopped champion Roshni Guarani, Aroma Thyme Bistro chef and owner Marcus Giuliano, and Hudson Valley restaurateur Dana Johnson will all make appearances on the mainstage.
Riverfront Park, Beacon
September 14, 12:30 p.m.
One of the best parts of living in the Hudson Valley is that there’s truly a festival for everyone. Case in point: the Hudson River Craft Beer Festival is a veritable dream for hops heads in the region. Whether you go for the VIP or general admission tickets, you’ll gain access to samplings of more than 180 craft beers from over 90 of the top breweries in the nation.
If you’re planning to go, take advantage of the $40 pre-sale price, which extends to September 2. After that, the cost bumps up in $5 increments until it’s $55 at the door.
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Ulster County Fairgrounds, New Paltz
September 15, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
In case you haven’t been to New Paltz recently, we’ll be the first to admit that the local food scene is divine. That’s why it comes as no surprise that there’s a full festival devoted to the college town’s glowing restaurants, wineries, and food vendors. As visitors traverse the path from one stall to the next, they can find favorites to vote upon for Best Food Truck, Restaurant, and Winery/Distillery.
Last year, Lola’s Café & Catering, Off the Hook Food Truck, and Whitecliff Vineyard took home the top awards. Who do you think will take home the titles this year?