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Bring Your Appetite to Kentucky’s Food Festivals

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

On almost any given weekend, you’ll encounter a festival devoted to unique food going on somewhere in Kentucky. Here are several examples to help you plan your gastronomic adventures in the Bluegrass State. Find more listings of food festivals at

The sixth annual Winchester Beer Cheese Festival is Saturday, June 14, 2014 in downtown Winchester.  Sample a large variety of beer cheese and vote for your favorite. The festival also features music, children’s area, arts and crafts and Kentucky Proud food products.   

Covington’s MainStrasse Village hosts the Original Goettafest June 13-15, 2014. Enjoy goetta, a unique dish from Germany, in new and appetizing recipes. Arts/crafts and entertainment complement the goetta and other favorite festival foods. Mainstrasse also hosts Maifest, a traditional German welcoming of spring wines, May 16-18, and a rollicking Oktoberfest Sept. 5-7.  

Barbecue on the River runs Sept. 25-27, 2014 in Paducah. Gather with local Kentuckians to feast on mouthwatering hickory smoked meats. More than 40 barbecue teams cook up 60 tons of meat during the three-day fall festival in this historic Ohio River city. 

In Irvine, celebrate the Appalachian morel mushroom at the annual Mountain Mushroom Festival (April 2014 dates TBA). 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. 

Harlan County celebrates its love for poke sallet, a hardy plant that grows wild in the region, with a festival that started six decades ago. At this June festival (2014 dates TBA), 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.  

Since 1971, Morgan County and thousands of visitors have celebrated the Sorghum Festival in West Liberty. A mule-drawn cane mill, steaming vats and little jugs of sorghum molasses set the stage for three days of Kentucky mountain heritage. Experience the 44th annual Morgan County Sorghum Festival during the last full weekend of September 2014 for a taste of pure Kentucky.

Some of the many other Kentucky festivals foodies will enjoy include the Spoonbread Festival (Berea, September),World Chicken Festival (London, September), Knott County Gingerbread Festival (Hindman, September), Monroe County Watermelon Festival (Tompkinsville, September), Casey County Apple Festival (Liberty, September),International Barbecue Festival (Owensboro, May) and Seedtime on the Cumberland (Whitesburg, June).

Let your taste buds be your guide as you discover Kentucky’s love for its unique foods in these and other fun festivals throughout the commonwealth.