8 fun food festivals in the Bay Area to chow down this summer

This summer, eat your heart out at these very specific food festivals in the Bay Area.
Eat Real Fest
Photograph: Courtesy Eat Real Fest
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Ah, summer, the ideal time for outdoor dining. Whether you're deciding on the perfect picnic spot, or want to enjoy some grub at a street fair, food festival or block party, summer is all about those delicious eats. Kick off your smorgasbord season the right way with one of these delectable food happenings in the Bay Area.

Bay Area food festivals

Lamb Jam
Photograph: Jing Wang

Lamb Jam

Sip and snack on delish lamb-based dishes  at this epic gastronomic event and competition that brings together 16 of SF’s most talented chefs to b-a-a-a-a-a-ttle for the title of Lamb Jam San Francisco Champion.

 July 22 3–6pm at Golden Gate Club; $56–$125.

Gilroy Garlic Festival
Photograph: Gilroy Garlic Festival

Gilroy Garlic Festival

Garlic lovers from around the world flock to this small town for food, drinks, crafts, live music and cooking competitions. Be sure to try the garlic ice cream (and don’t forget to bring your toothbrush).

July 27–29 10am–7pm at Christmas Hill Park; free–$20.

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Hayward Zucchini Festival
Photograph: Shutterstock

Hayward Zucchini Festival

At this healthy food party, discover the versatile uses of the hearty vegetable, from cakes and cookies to snacks and main dishes. Don’t miss the massive zucchinis competing in the growing contest! 

Aug 18, 19 10am–8pm at Kennedy Park; $5–$10.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival

Ghirardelli pairs its world-famous cacao beans with wine, ice cream and tons of other tasty desserts at this sugary soiree. Indulge guilt-free, knowing that 100 percent of the proceeds are donated to local nonprofit Project Open Hand.

Sept 8, 9 noon–5pm at Ghirardelli Square; $26–$55.

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24th Street Cheese Company
Photograph: Courtesy 24th Street Cheese Company

SF Cheese Fest

Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes Farmstead, Cypress Grove and other local makers will provide fromage nibbles at this dairy fest. Of course, cheese gets by with a little help from its friends wine and charcuterie, so expect vendors hawking those tasty delights, as well. Pop a Lactaid and get to work.

Sept 15 at Social Hall SF; $TBA.

Elixir
Photograph: Yelp/Shelley B.

The Bloody Mary Festival

SF’s most beloved brunch cocktail gets its own fest this season: Attendees will sample local bars’ tricked-out versions of the tomato-juice-and-vodka cocktail, then vote for the People’s Choice Award winner. Also, a panel of industry judges will pick its favorite version.

Sept 29 10:30am–6pm at SOMArts Cultural Center; $45–$55.

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Eat Drink SF
Photograph: Flickr/Thomas Hawk

Eat Drink SF

This four-day gourmet fest delights taste buds with bites from more than 30 Bay Area restaurants, plus cocktail classes, taco parties, and meet and greets with local celebrity chefs.

Aug 24 7:15–10pm; Aug 25 12:45–3:30pm, 7-:45–10:30pm; Aug 26 12:45–3:30pm at Fort Mason Center. $109–$229.

Eat Real Fest
Photograph: Courtesy Eat Real Fest

Eat Real Fest

Eat Real combines a state fair, a street-food festival, and a block party to create a celebration of good food in Oakland. Celebrate ten years of local food vendors, food entrepreneurs, artisan products, and demonstrations from the Bay Area’s top chefs and culinary experts. 

Sept 14 3–10pm, Sept 15 11am–10pm, Sept 16 11am–7pm at Jack London Square; free. 

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