Stretchy pants? Check. Baby wipes? Check. Full stomach? Check. Festival season has arrived and Austin City Limits is not the only festival to be excited about.
Story by Alexis Fischer
Illustrations by Esther Shin
Food festivals provide a common ground for residents to enjoy cuisine from across Texas. Luckily, Austinites live in a city that values creativity and community, home to many food festivals that give chefs the chance to showcase their best creations. Any niche there is a demand for can succeed in Austin. There’s nothing better than joining a chorus of satisfied “Mmmmmmmmm”’s, so here are five festivals to mark on your calendar this fall.
Austin Mac & Cheese Festival
Where: Auguste Escoffier Culinary Adventures
When: Nov. 19
It’s no surprise that this festival is back for the second year in a row. At the Austin Mac & Cheese Festival, hosted by the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, local chefs can try their hand at reinventing this classic American dish.
Vendors such as Chi’lantro, Burro Cheese Kitchen and Corner Bar will be giving out free samples for everyone to try, and guests in attendance can vote on the best mac and cheese at the show. You’ll never look at Velveeta the same way again. Tickets start at $45.
Austin Margarita Festival
Where: Austin-American Statesman
When: Oct. 28
Food is unifying and neutral. It might just be the tequila speaking, but margaritas are especially unifying. Along with dancing and drinking, don’t miss out on the crowning of the best margarita in Austin as local bars and restaurants compete for the title at the festival.
Guests can sample margaritas flavors ranging from classic lime to the more adventurous jalapeño pepper margarita. While it may not feel like fall outside yet, rumor has it that there will also be a pumpkin spice margarita flavor to help get you in the spirit. Pre-sale tickets are $40 and $55 on the day-of.
Texas Monthly BBQ Fest
Where: The Long Center
When: Nov. 5
Deep in the heart of Texas, there is barbecue. And then there is more barbecue. The Texas Monthly BBQ fest offers carnivores the chance to chow down on more than 30 barbecue vendors from all over Texas.
In its eighth year, the festival is a platform for both food trucks and brick-and-mortars to dish out their best to the people of Austin. Both the Texas traditionalist and the cross-cultural foodie will be licking their fingers clean.
Rest assured, Franklin’s Barbecue will be in attendance, alongside other smoky contenders like la Barbecue and Pecan Lodge. Compliment your ‘cue with a cold beer and live music, and be sure to pack baby wipes. Tickets start at $80.
Austin City Limits Music Festival
Where: Zilker Park
When: Oct. 6-8, 13-15
Listening to The Killers while scarfing down Mighty Cone might just will arguably be the best moment of your life. Although ACL is not considered a food festival, it still makes the list because of the diverse and highly-anticipated food trucks located around the park. ACL is a stomping ground for local eats, such as Bananarchy, East Side King and Southside Flying Pizza.
In line with “Keeping Austin Weird,” ACL does a great job supporting what our locals have to offer. The list of food vendors is crafted to ensure the most satisfying munchies for Austinites running between sets or chowing down after the show. To accommodate Austin’s diverse community, there will be vegan and gluten-free options available at the festival. Ticket prices vary depending on three-day or one-day passes, which. One-day passes start at $100.
Texas Trucklandia Fest
Where: Austin-American Statesman
When: Oct. 21
Food trucks are a staple of Austin’s foodie culture. While one of the most famous food truck success stories is Austin’s very own Torchy’s Tacos, many great brick-and-mortars started in humble trucks. They are casual and affordable, but sometimes difficult to locate. Luckily, Texas Trucklandia Fest gathers all the best meals on wheels to celebrate their success.
At the festival, you can simultaneously give back to the community, support local business and sample an array of specialty crafted food. Trucklandia Fest also hosts monthly events with Fed Truck Friday, an initiative created to battle hunger in the community. Vendors in attendance include Happy Lobster Truck, Cold Cookie Company, Gringa’s Street Tacos and many others.
The first 1,000 people to sign up have the chance to vote for the best vendor, who will receive a $10,000 prize. General admission tickets start at $5.95.