September's Smokin' with Barbecue Cookoffs and Other Hot Food Festivals in Florida

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With Florida boasting well over 200 annual food festivals, barbecue cookoffs take top billing in September. And there are plenty of other food festivals to satisfy your cravings, offering a tantalizing selection of seafood and other local cuisine.

If you like barbecue, then September delivers with lip-smackin' good events featuring all the favorites - chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket. Whether vying for prizes or cooking for fun, contestants always have a burning desire to impress and non-contestants feast on their labors.

So sample some of the best barbecue Florida's has to offer - spend a day or weekend at the Florida Barbecue Association Funcook, Southeastern Blues & BBQ Festival, Marzuq Shrine Capital City Barbeque Cook-off, First Coast Ham Jam, or the Q-Fest BBQ & Music Festival. And if you can really stand the fire, try the 'I Like It Hot!' Festival & Barbecue.

When it comes to barbecue, "none of the rules your mother taught you apply," writes Joan Steinbacher, author of "Food Fest! Your Complete Guide to Florida's Food Festivals." "You can eat with your hands and put your elbows on the table, wipe your mouth on your sleeve, and lick your fingers before wiping them on your pants."

But don't think September's events are only for barbecue aficionados. If that's not your thing, there are plenty of other food festivals to satisfy your cravings, offering a tantalizing selection of seafood and other local cuisine. Beer-lovers can get their fill at the Emerald Coast Brew Fest, and for hard-core food-lovers, Epcot begins its 11-day food and wine festival at the end of the month.

Besides the main attraction -- scrumptious food -- Florida's food festivals feature a variety of amusements and are ideal entertainment for the whole family. Eating contests are popular, as well as off-beat competitions. And there's often musical entertainment, arts and crafts, car shows, children's activities, and much more.

Don't miss out on another fun Florida food event! Here's a sampling of what's coming to Florida in September:

  • Crystal River - Florida Barbecue Association Funcook (September 1-2)
  • Sandestin - Seafood & Mini Wine Fest (September 4-5)
  • Pensacola - Emerald Coast Brew Fest & Beach Party (September 7)
  • Panama City - Southeastern Blues & BBQ Festival (September 14-16)
  • Panama City Beach - Lobster Festival & Tournament (September 14-16)
  • Largo - 'I Like It Hot!' Festival & Barbecue (September 15-16)
  • Clearwater - Taste of Clearwater (September 18)
  • Pensacola - Seafood Festival (September 21-23)
  • Tallahassee - Marzuq Shrine Capital City Barbeque Cook-off (September 22)
  • Green Cove Springs - First Coast Ham Jam (September 27-30)
  • Grant - Q-Fest BBQ & Music Festival (September 28-29)
  • Hollywood - Hollywood Beach Clambake (September 28-30)
  • Orlando - Epcot Food and Wine Festival (September 28 - November 11)

So enjoy a fun and food-filled spontaneous day trip or weekend getaway with your family and friends! For additional information and more events, visit "Food Fest!"--the ultimate "foodies" travel guide--at


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Joan Steinbacher
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