Food for all seasons
The Italian Fest may be in the rearview mirror but hope you’re hungry because Huntington and its surrounding areas has a full plate of late summer and early fall food fests coming our way. Here’s a look at a few incoming food festivals around the region.
Heat ‘n’ The Hills
Lincoln Primary Care Center and Southern West Virginia Health System are teaming up for the annual Heat’n the Hills Health Fair and set to run 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at Lincoln Primary Care Center Inc., 7400 Lynn Ave., Hamlin, the chili fest includes categories of Hot and Spicy, Sweet and Mild, Corporate, School, Fire Department and LPCC/SWVHS Employees.
Chili samples and concessions start at 4 p.m. at the fest which also features a cruise-in, a cake walk, costumed superheroes and country star Mark Wills at 8 p.m. Lincoln County’s own The Bandwagon opens the evening at 6 p.m. Fireworks pop off at 10 p.m. Go online at www.heatnthehills.com.
Hurricane Cupcake Festival
The fifth annual Cupcake Festival is set to run Saturday, Aug. 25 at Valley Park in Hurricane.
The day kicks off with a sweet Cupcake Chase 5K Run/Walk. Runners and walkers can opt to decorate a cupcake along the course to bring it back to be judged for best decorated at the finish line. More details can be found on tristateracer.com.
The festival itself runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with more than 70 food and craft vendors and of course, cupcake vendors. Event proceeds benefit local kids through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
For folks wanting to bake it off, there’s an Amateur Cupcake competition for those bakers that want to show off their
baking skills. A brand new addition to this year is the Junior Division for ages 8-17.
Don’t forget to include your furry friends in the Cute As A Cupcake Pet Photo contest. Go online at www.wvcupcakefestival.com or call 304-389-8941 if you have any questions.
The West Virginia Honey Festival
Arguably the Mountain State’s sweetest festival, it’s the 36th annual West Virginia Honey Festival that takes place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25-26 in Parkersburg at City Park.
Organized by the Wood County Recreation Commission, the Honey Festival features lots of honey-related food items, as well as entertainment, crafters and of course, continued education about honey and the honey bee including beekeeping demonstrations.
The cost is $2 and $1 for kids. Children 6 and under get in free.
WV Italian Heritage Festival
Celebrating its 40th year on Friday-Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, in Clarksburg. Enjoy free headline entertainment, a children’s area with entertainment and games, authentic Italian food, local and international performers, cultural events throughout the weekend, a grand feature parade and an outdoor mass.
Some of the headliners this year are Jo Dee Messina, Mickey Dolenz, Stayin’ Alive (Bee Gees tribute) and perennial favorites Amici. Go online at http://wvihf.com/ for more info.
Wild Edibles Weekend
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Recreation will host a Wild Edible Weekend Conference at Shawnee State Park and Lodge the weekend of Sept. 7-9. Registration is limited to 80 participants.
Join wild edible experts for an excitably edible weekend of hiking, harvesting and cooking. This year’s event features keynote speaker Dr. Sunshine Brosi on Friday night, with guided programs and field trips on Saturday, Sept 8.
On Saturday evening, participants will enjoy an earth-to-table meal on the Ohio River. The registration fee is $25 for participants under 16 and $50 for anyone 17 and up.
Participants are welcome to camp at the park, book a room at the lodge or commute to the conference each day. For more information or to register for the event, call 740-858-6652 or see the full program schedule at http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/por-tals/parks/pdfs/things_to_do/calendar/ShawneeWEW.pdf.
Gallia County BBQ Festival
Starting at noon an running until 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 at Gallipolis City Park, 334 2nd Ave., Gallipolis, Ohio. Enjoy BBQ by a range of vendors as well as live music. This event is by Gallia County Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information please visit the website at www.visitgallia.com, Facebook page (Gallia County Convention & Visitors Bureau) or call 740-446-6882.
Chilifest — The West Virginia State Chili Championship
Samples are set to blaze Saturday, Sept. 15, in Huntington along 3rd Avenue and Pullman Square. The 35th annual West Virginia State Chili Championship is sanctioned by the International Chili Society. ChiliFest is a charity cook-off event benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Tri-State. All chili sample tickets are $1 each or six for $5.
Since its beginnings at Ritter Park in 1983, the event has grown to more than 20,000 people jamming into Pullman Square in search of their favorite cup of chili.
Winners will receive a piece by Blenko Glass and a ticket to cook in the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff in St. Louis on Sept. 28-30 for a $20,000 First Place prize.
Go to www.chilicookoff.com for more information including the new category Home-Style Chili and http://www.chilifest-wv.com/ for more info on Huntington’s ChiliFest which has raised more than $488,000 for the Ronald McDonald House in Huntington.
Wild Foods Weekend
North Bend State Park’s Nature Wonder Weekend, North America’s premier and longest-running wild foods event, will celebrate its 51st annual event Sept. 21-23. The theme of this year’s event is “Forage and Feast.”
Wild-food foragers from across the country attend the Nature Wonder Weekend every year. This year’s keynote speaker will be Doug Elliott, naturalist, herbalist, storyteller and author from Union Mills, North Carolina. Other guest speakers will include Mike Krebill, wild foods author and teacher from Keokuk, Iowa, and Sam England, chief of West Virginia State Parks.
Events begin Friday evening and conclude Sunday morning. There are scheduled speakers, presentations, nature walks, the event’s first-ever bike hike and collection and preparation of wild foods.
Activities include a park tour, wild food identification instruction, the Hazel Wood Commemorative Wild Food Cooking Contest and the Bill Faust Wild Cake Contest. The Wild Drink Contest winner is awarded the honorary Maxine Scarbro Friendship Cup.
To register, contact Wendy Greene by calling 304-558-2754 or send an email to Wen-dy.L.Greene@wv.gov. A registration form is available at and overnight lodging reservation information is available at wvstateparks.com/event/nature-wonder-weekend-north-bend/.
The Tri-State destination German-Appalachian gastropub, Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten, 745 7th Ave., will be hosting live music, food specials at the Biergarten during traditional Oktoberfest season in late September including live polka on Saturday, Sept. 22 and Sept. 29. Find Bahnhof on Facebook or Twitter @BAHNHOFWV.
The 36th annual Greek Festival is set for Friday-Sunday, Sept. 28-30, on Huntington’s Southside neighborhood at the historic St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 70111th Ave., Huntington.
The festival will begin at 11 a.m. and run until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Showcasing the festival will be Greek foods and desserts, music, dancing, a Greek gift shop and tours of the historic church. Visit www.stgeorgehwv.org/festival/.
Enjoy a strike supper at the Mine Wars Museum
On Saturday, Sept. 22, the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum welcomes the public to attend the Blair Mountain Strike Supper, a celebration of the diverse foodways of coal camps in the Mine Wars era.
The Supper begins at 4:30 p.m. at United Mine Workers of America Local 1440′s union hall on Mate Street in Matewan, West Virginia. Attendees will enjoy West Virginia pinto beans, cast-iron corn bread, a pig roast, and sample dishes from African-American, Hungarian, Italian and Lebanese communities.
The West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, a statewide non-profit whose mission is to build the local food and agriculture system in an equitable way, is collaborating with the Mine Wars Museum to provide connections and support for locally grown ingredients, as a part of the Hatfield-McCoy Heritage Foods Dinner Series.
In addition to the meal, the event features a raffle, a story collection area, and a Redneck Army photo booth. The museum will also present its first annual Red Bandanna Awards for modern-day organizing, civic engagement, and historic preservation.
Tickets are $20 and are available through the museum’s website, wvminewars.com. Proceeds from the Strike Supper will help fund a series of planning meetings leading up to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain, a five-day battle that was the culmination of two decades of labor and civil rights conflicts in the coalfields.
For tickets or more information, visit wvminewars.org or call board member Lou Martin at 724-255-0223.
Set for 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in Charleston’s West Side, it’s the 11th annual Oktober-West with more than 100 craft brews, and several limited Octoberfest and German varieties, listen to three incredible bands at this year’s festival including Lucky Chops, and Rev Peyton’s Big Damn Band.
There’s also stein holding and best traditional dress contests. Added this year is the new keg rolling contest.
Admission is $35 general admission, $20 for non-drinkers and $10 for kids 12 and under. Tickets increase by $5 at the gate.
Go online at https://www.cwvmainstreets.org/ for more info.
The West Virginia Pumpkin Festival
Set for Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 4-7 at Milton’s West Virginia Pumpkin Park, the West Virginia Pumpkin Festival features all things pumpkin from baking and cooking contests to pumpkin food booths. Of course, there’s the giant pumpkin auction to raise money for scholarships.
Held since 1986, the West Virginia Pumpkin Festival, which has turned into one of the state’s largest fests with more than 50,000 people travelling to Milton.
There’s also one of the largest arts and crafts selections in the region with more than 100 craft vendors as well as food and business vendors.
There’s set to be a wide variety of demonstrations as area master craftsmen share demonstrations such as blacksmithing, pottery making, quilting and woodworking and lots of old-time demonstrations like sorghum making.
Hours will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 Thursday and Friday and $10 on Saturday and Sunday. Children 5 and under are free. There’s a group rate, as well. Parking is free.
Call 304-743-8774 for more information or visit wvpump-kinpark.com.
The SMG managed2018 Wing Fling is set for noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13. Football tailgate fans will find two important food group as chicken wings and beer are set to heat up Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
The 2018 Wing Fling sponsored in part by Huntington Bank, Republic Services, Sprint and media sponsors Kindred Communications, WOWK and The Herald-Dispatch.
The event will feature all-you-can-eat wings with special sauces and dry rubs from a who’s who of Tri-State area restaurants including Roosters, SAVOR Big Sandy and Texas Roadhouse.
The event includes a “King of the Wings” wing eating contest sponsored by Roosters. A Battle for Bragging Rights, the fan favorite contest in which the restaurant crowned fan favorite.
Tickets are $20 for all-you-can-eat wings. VIP tickets are $30, which includes two drink vouchers, good for both beer and soft drinks and VIP ticket holders are set for 30 minutes early entry with special seating inside the arena.
If you are interested in your restaurant becoming a participant, contact Jennifer Sturgeon at 304-696-5563 or Jennifer@bigsandyarena.com.
The Cast Iron Cook-Off
Get your cast-iron in the fire and the grease melting for the eighth annual Cast-Iron Cook-Off as part of the Way Back Weekend series at Heritage Farm Museum and Village.
This year’s event is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the village, 3300 Harvey Road, Huntington, as part of the Fall Fest which also features the Mountain Games. Fall Fest features wagon rides, cider, and fall farm family-friendly fun.
Teams are signing up now for the competition which emphasizes Appalachian cuisine. The deadline is Sept. 26 but team slots will fill up faster. Winners, chosen by a panel of judges, will receive $300, second place, $200 and third place, $100. The public will choose the recipient of the People’s Choice Award, with a prize of $100.
Go online at https://moun-taingames.chhfoundation.org/cast-iron-cook-off-2/ to register and visit www.heritagefarmmuseum.com for more information on the fest and other Heritage Farm events.