Food festival goer preparing food in a paper basket

Variety is the spice of life. And that’s especially true when we’re talking about food festivals. 


Why enjoy just one dish when you can try eight or ten different bites? Why visit just one restaurant when you can sample the specialties of a dozen local chefs?


Food festivals are popular attractions in many cities and communities around the world, drawing both locals and tourists alike to indulge in culinary delights and celebrate the joys of food. They often focus on specific themes or types of cuisine, such as BBQ, seafood, street food, desserts, or international cuisine. Summer is a popular time of year to host food festivals because the weather allows more events to be hosted outside. 


If you need a little help deciding on a theme for your next summer food festival, draw inspiration from these 50 ideas. Then, keep reading below for tips on how to decide which theme you should go with. 


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50 Food Festival Themes

Balkan grill barbecue cooking naan and sausages on a grill at festival

  1. BBQ Bash 🍖 A festival celebrating the art of barbecuing with a variety of grilled meats, sauces, and sides.
  2. Taco Fiesta 🌮 A celebration of all things tacos, featuring different fillings, salsas, and taco styles from around the world.
  3. Seafood Spectacular 🍤 Highlighting the best seafood dishes from coastal regions, including fresh catches, shellfish, and traditional seafood recipes.
  4. Veggie Fest 🍅 A festival showcasing the versatility and deliciousness of vegetarian and vegan cuisine, with plant-based dishes from various cultures.
  5. International Street Food Fair 🍢 Bringing together diverse street foods from around the globe, from Mexican tacos to Japanese takoyaki.
  6. Ice Cream Extravaganza 🍨 A sweet festival offering an array of ice cream flavors, sundaes, and frozen treats to beat the summer heat.
  7. Fruit Frenzy 🍓 Celebrating the abundance of summer fruits with fruit-centric dishes, smoothies, and desserts.
  8. Gourmet Grilled Cheese Festival 🧀 Featuring creative takes on the classic grilled cheese sandwich with different cheeses, breads, and fillings.
  9. Brews and Burgers Bash 🍔 Pairing craft beers with gourmet burgers, sliders, and unique burger creations.
  10. Pasta Palooza 🍝 A pasta lover's paradise with various pasta dishes, sauces, and Italian specialties.
  11. Sushi Sensation 🍱 Showcasing the art of sushi-making with fresh fish, creative rolls, and Japanese delicacies.
  12. Chili Cook-Off 🌶️ A spicy competition featuring different chili recipes, from traditional Texas-style to vegetarian options.
  13. Brunch Bonanza 🍳 A morning festival offering a variety of brunch dishes, from pancakes and waffles to eggs Benedict and mimosas.
  14. Cheese Festival 🧀 Celebrating all things cheese with tastings, pairings, and cheese-inspired dishes from around the world.
  15. Wing Fest 🍗 A finger-licking festival dedicated to chicken wings, with various sauces, rubs, and wing styles.
  16. Farm-to-Table Fair 🚜 Highlighting locally sourced ingredients and farm-fresh produce in a variety of dishes.
  17. Hot Sauce Expo 🔥 A fiery festival featuring hot sauces from mild to wild, along with spicy dishes and challenges.
  18. Lobster Fest 🦞 Indulge in the succulent flavors of lobster with lobster rolls, bisque, and grilled lobster tails.
  19. Popsicle Party 🧊 Cool down with a variety of homemade popsicles in unique flavors and combinations.
  20. Bacon Bash 🥓 A sizzling festival dedicated to all things bacon, with bacon-infused dishes, desserts, and drinks.
  21. Mediterranean Mezze Festival 🫒 Enjoy the flavors of the Mediterranean with a spread of mezze dishes like hummus, falafel, and tabbouleh.
  22. Pie Palooza 🥧 A sweet and savory festival featuring pies of all kinds, from fruit pies to savory pot pies.
  23. Food Truck Rodeo 🚚 Gather food trucks offering a variety of cuisines for a mobile feast of street food favorites.
  24. Bratwurst & Beer Fest 🌭 Celebrate German cuisine with bratwursts, pretzels, sauerkraut, and an array of German beers.
  25. Crepe Carnival 🍫 Indulge in sweet and savory crepes filled with everything from Nutella and strawberries to ham and cheese.
  26. Avocado Affair 🥑 Explore the versatility of avocados with guacamole, avocado toast, salads, and smoothies.
  27. Dumpling Delight 🥟 Sample dumplings from around the world, including Chinese, Japanese, and Polish varieties.
  28. Cornucopia Celebration 🌽 Feast on fresh corn on the cob, cornbread, and corn-based dishes at this summer staple.
  29. Street Taco Showdown 🌯 A competition to find the best street tacos with different fillings, salsas, and toppings.
  30. Cider Sip & Savor 🍎 Enjoy a selection of hard ciders paired with dishes that complement their flavors, like pork and apple dishes.
  31. Gelato Gala 🍨 Indulge in the creamy goodness of Italian gelato with a variety of flavors and toppings.
  32. Paella Party 🍚 Experience the flavors of Spain with traditional paella dishes featuring seafood, chicken, and chorizo.
  33. Pickle Palate 🥒 Dive into the tangy world of pickles with pickled vegetables, relishes, and pickle-themed dishes.
  34. Curry Carnival 🍛 Spice things up with a variety of curry dishes from around the world, including Indian, Thai, and Japanese curries.
  35. Cookie Craze 🍪 Sample an assortment of cookies, from classic chocolate chip to gourmet creations.
  36. Shrimp Fest 🍤 Delight in shrimp prepared in various ways, from shrimp cocktails to shrimp scampi.
  37. Waffle Wonderland 🧇 Enjoy sweet and savory waffles with an array of toppings and syrups at this breakfast-inspired festival.
  38. Noodle Nirvana 🍝 Explore the world of noodles with dishes like ramen, pad thai, and spaghetti served in different styles.
  39. Jerk & Rum Festival 🍹 Experience the flavors of the Caribbean with jerk chicken, pork, and seafood paired with rum cocktails.
  40. Tapas Tasting 🇪🇸 Savor Spanish small plates with a variety of tapas dishes like patatas bravas, croquetas, and albondigas.
  41. Mac and Cheese Madness 🫕 Indulge in creamy, cheesy goodness with various takes on macaroni and cheese.
  42. Pita Party 🥙 Enjoy stuffed pitas filled with falafel, shawarma, and other Mediterranean delights.
  43. Banana Bonanza 🍌 Celebrate the versatility of bananas with banana splits, banana bread, and other banana-infused treats.
  44. Sliders Showcase 🍔 Sample mini burgers with a variety of toppings and flavors at this slider-centric festival.
  45. Salsa Showdown 🌶️ Taste and vote for the best homemade salsas, from mild to spicy, paired with tortilla chips.
  46. FroYo Fest 🍦 Cool off with a variety of frozen yogurt flavors and toppings at this frozen treat festival.
  47. Empanada Extravaganza 🥟 Enjoy savory and sweet empanadas filled with beef, chicken, cheese, and fruit.
  48. Schnitzel Soiree 🇦🇹 Experience the flavors of Austria with crispy schnitzel served with potato salad and sauerkraut.
  49. Gumbo Gathering 🍲 Dive into the flavors of Louisiana with hearty gumbo dishes featuring seafood, sausage, and okra.
  50. Cake Carnival 🍰 Indulge in slices of cake in various flavors and styles, from classic chocolate to decadent red velvet.

Finding the Right Theme

Small group of friends sharing portions of french fries at a festival

The possibilities are endless, but how can you decide which theme is right for your food festival? Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you decide. 

What Other Festivals Already Exist in Your Area?

Unless you have a really unique angle to offer, if your town already has a burger throwdown, you probably don’t need a second one. Do some research on other festivals that already exist in your area and try to stay clear of those concepts. 

What is Your Town Known for?

Think about the local food scene and what makes you unique. It might be seasonal produce, like cherries or sweet corn, or a regional cuisine such as Latin American pupusas. If you’re not sure what your town is known for, start by researching what type of restaurants you have in the area. Are there taco joints on every corner? Try to focus on highlighting Mexican cuisine. Lots of small diners? Maybe a breakfast theme would be popular with guests in your area!

What are the Chefs’ Specialties?

You might want to talk with a few local chefs and try to get them interested in participating before you decide on a theme. The process will go easier if you can highlight the foods that these chefs cook well and love to prepare. Each chef is going to be different, but you might start to notice a theme in the types of dishes they mention. 

How Flexible is Your Theme?

You want your theme to be flexible enough that the chefs are able to get creative. Diners will want a variety of savory and sweet dishes, with some familiar flavors and unexpected pairings in the mix. That’s what makes a food festival exciting. 

Final Thoughts

Food festivals are a great way for guests to sample a variety of food from different vendors, chefs, restaurants, and food producers. Having a strong theme will help you to better market your festival and reach more people who want to attend. 


When you’re ready to start selling tickets to those guests, schedule some time with our team! We’ll help you set up all your ticketing and payments, including food & beverage bundles or VIP passes. Let us do the heavy lifting so you can focus on creating sweet experiences for your guests. 


Schedule a Demo


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