For 7 years now, The Jamaican Jerk Festival has brought together some of the best in island music and food. In a time where music/food festivals seem to hop the bullet train to corporate run monsters, this little indie festival guarantees true local flavor. Even though the title sponsor is one of the largest producers of West Indian food products, you can’t rattle the “real” out of the 5 borough Caribbean community. This year will be the biggest, best and booyakasha of all years with Barrington Levy anchoring the vibes and a quarter mile of jerk stands to spice up the day. Appropriately hosted by our new home borough in Roy Wilkins Park, take the E train to Jamaica center and then get cozy up on the Q5 bus. We promise a Sunday adventure in sound, culinary and transit. Sunday, July 23rd from 12-8pm in Queens, NY.
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It was 20 years ago now we first sampled Kansas City, Missouri (don’t be confused with Kansas Kansas) at a little roadside joint named LC’s. From the moment one of their burnt ends hit my tongue they were on my map for life. No doubt the barbecue mecca birthed a fest that marries both the BBQ favorite beverages to one crazy slow cooked meat festival. Touting the best bourbons and beers Missouri has to offer, the Pig and Swig is three hours of afternoon, stomach debouchery. While you indulge in your destruction you’ll have some feeding music compliments of the festival and local radio stations. Need some exercise between chow downs? Lawn games will also, appropriately, be on hand. I’d imagine later in the day that just turns into a bourbon-beer fueled slapstick comedy show. Fun all around. Saturday July 30th from 3-6pm in Kansas City, Missouri.
Don’t let the name fool you — the Phuket Vegetarian Festival may be the most hardcore festival we’ve ever heard of. While veggie-friendly eats do play a role in this firecracker-friendly affair on Thailand’s largest island, this nine-day religious festival is really known for its ceremonies that include acts of self-mutilation and face and body piercing with knives, stakes, and household items by entranced mediums — called mah song — who parade through the city in outfits of white. While these and other rituals like firewalking, bladed ladder climbing, and bathing in hot oil may make you cringe, they demonstrate a belief that the gods will heal any wounds and are part of a larger goal of purification that includes abstinence from sex, alcohol, and meat. But don’t worry — like any good festival, this one doesn’t forget the food, and je, special vegetarian dishes marked by red and yellow signs, is one festival tradition that’s easy to stomach. Although you may encounter a bleeding mah song or two as you chow down, that will be the only surprise — apparently je tastes just like the meat-based classics. October 1-9 in Phuket, Thailand.
We can’t wait for the porking tasty (see what we did there?) good time we’re gonna have at Pig Island, NYC’s definitive pork fest, where the hogs come from small local farms, the chefs are top-notch. The eats are crazy, as in, crazy good and plain old crazy. Especially if you’re not in the habit of consuming obscure cuts of pork on the regs. Where else is it possible to eat locally sourced pig head tacos and crispy pig ear lettuce wraps in the same meal? But if that’s not exactly your jam, don’t worry, there will be lots of tamer fare to pig out on, too. Although we wouldn’t exactly call last year’s bacon banana bread with caramelized bacon “tame.” If you’re still not convinced, maybe the all-inclusive ticket with unlimited pork and free-flowing beer, wine, and cider will push your to snap up a ticket. So go ahead — go completely hog wild. Saturday, September 10th from 11:30am to 4pm in Brooklyn.
Set in the incredible and manicured 50-acre gardens of this English country estate you’d be hard pressed to find a better setting then Sandon Spring Fair for a food and craft weekend in April. Of course there might be some travel involved. Just 45 minutes out of London (7h 45min from NYC) the grounds transform into a global street food cornucopia and a craft market featuring artisans from all over the isle. If a reprieve is necessary, afternoon tea is quintessentially available inside the majestic, 162 year old hall itself. While inside make sure to explore a little and enjoy the beauty of the building but be careful the Harrowby family still operates part of it as their home.