And it’s almost here: pumpkin beer and bratwurst, candy-filled Halloween bags and bobbing for apples, Thanksgiving turkeys and stuffing, holiday parties and pick-me-ups The quintessential fall season brings with it a host of eat-and-drink fests. As the swimsuit season pares down, the sweater season gains heat, and that means more freedom to indulge on stick-to-your-ribs grub. Here are a few of our favorite culinary events happening in the coming months that will sate every sweet and savory tooth imaginable. And some even benefit charity—isn’t that just delicious?
Sept. 3, 5:30 p.m.
Wilmington Convention Center
515 Nutt Street
The ninth annual culinary extravaganza, featuring restaurants, bakeries, and breweries. or brewery. Emceed by Frances Weller, with featured speaker Sherry King, live auction, tastes of the competition between epicureans (Bistro at Duplin Winery, Catering Thyme, East, Elijah’s, Hilton, Little Dipper, Low Tide Pub, 22 North, and more). Tickets are $125; all monies go to the Methodist Home for Children.
A Taste of the Town
Sept. 22, 6 p.m.
Thalian Hall • 310 Chestnut St.
Every year Thalian Hall holds a delicious tour across downtown restaurants, with proceeds benefitting the performing arts center. For $45 a ticket, culinarians will be hauled via trolley—or by foot, should one please—to all participants. They’ll be given a map of the restaurants, and at each stop will taste decadent tapas before voting on best appetizer, best entrée and best overall.
Flavor of NC
Sept. 26, 6:30 p.m.
St. James Parish, Lee Perry Hall
25 S. 3rd St.
Experience the three regions of North Carolina as chefs, musicians and performers present the flavors of the mountains, Piedmont and coast. Experience regional food, wines, beers, locally roasted coffees, and a lemonade bar. Enjoy the culture and uniqueness of our state as you help Good Shepherd Center provide a pathway to self-sufficiency for our hungry and homeless neighbors who share our Carolina home. Tickets are $75.
NC Spot Festival
Sept. 26, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sept. 27, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Arts and crafts, food vendors, children’s zone, with blow-up rides, camel and pony rides, gem-mining, and more are all part of the Hampstead festival that celebrates the spot fish! Children 12 and under are admitted free; otherwise there is a $3 entry (no pets, no coolers). Lawn chairs welcome.Spot dinners, which includes two spot fish, hush puppies, French fries, and coleslaw, will be sold for only $8. Also, there will be a Spot Festival 5k on Sept. 28: register online!
Greenfield Lake Garden Party
Oct. 3, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Greenfield Lake’s Dr. Heber W. Johnson Rotary Garden • 1940 Amphitheatre Dr.
With proceeds benefitting the Greenfield Lake Collaborative Endowment Fund to help beautify Greenfield Lake, the $55 ticket to the annual fall garden party comes with all kinds of goodies. There will be an open cigar bar and an open bourbon bar, hosted by Trey Herring’s Carolina Bourbon—which will serve up the official Greenfield Cocktail. Plus, a pig pickin’ will take place, courtesy of Skylight BBQ Inn and Cheshire Farms Heritage Pork. Live entertainment will be played by Paleo Sun, featuring Sai Collins, and other goodies are in store! Oh, yeah … and you can get half-price tickets this week only at encoredeals.com ($27.50)!
Taste of Wrightsville Beach
Oct. 10, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
130 Short St, Wrightsville Beach
The festival will celebrate the island’s diverse and delicious fare on and around the beach, with over 30 local cuisine, beer and wine tasting booths. Celebrity judges will rate the dishes with a “Best in Show” and participants will select the “People’s Choice” award. Net proceeds will be divied up as such: 20 percent toward the New Hanover County Weekend Meals on Wheels program; 30 percent toward the Cape Fear Community College Pineapple Guild Club for Hotel-Restaurant and Culinary Technology students to help fund their annual trip to the National Restaurant Association Expo in Chicago; 25 percent toward Wrightsville Beach Park Amenities and Programs; 25 percent toward Wrightsville Beach Beautification Projects. Tickets: $50-$100.
Encore Restaurant Week
Various locations across Wilmington!
It’s the tastiest week of fall! Encore Restaurant Week features special prix-fixe deals all across Wilmington. From low-country to French, Indian to Italian, American and beyond, diners get a taste of all styles of cuisine without breaking the bank. Visit www.encorerestaurantweek.com to see all participants and menus, or pick up the Encore Restaurant Week Menu Guide at free-standing locations in October.
Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival
Battleship NC and off Randall Pkwy.
Beer. It gets everyone excited! The annual Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival manages much anticipation annually as it brings thousands of people out to sip on craft brews and tasty wine for a day of imbibing and live music. Oh, and it raises money for Carousel Center for Abused Children, too.
This year their Voracious Rare Beer Festival kicks off on the deck of the Battleship NC on Oct. 23. This tasting features underground sought-after beers that will excite any beer aficionado. Tickets are limited ($75), and the event takes place from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
On Saturday, Oct. 24, beginning at noon ($30)—or 11 a.m. for VIP pass holders ($40)—the official festival kicks off. It will feature over 50 craft breweries and loads of wineries, as well as live music and food vendors. Free shuttle services are offered to ensure safety, too!