Bakersfield’s Best Festivals

Sometimes we all need a little escape and to, let’s be honest, overindulge in a little food and drink. In the not so distant past, one had to travel to far off distant places like San Francisco or Los Angeles (well ok, we’re being a little dramatic here) for these elusive creatures. But no more! Thankfully, event promoters in Bakersfield are now on the same wavelength and have started serving up some awesome festivals. They’re right here in your backyard, though unfortunately, not literally. So let the food and drink flow freely because it’s time to dish up on just a sampling of the festivals Bakersfield has to offer!

Bakersfield’s Best Festivals

Villagefest
Villagefest

We had to start with the Mac and Cheese Fest, which has become a quick favorite amongst the festival attending crowd, though who is really surprised? For anyone looking for innovative ways to experience your favorite carb and cheese combo, this is the gathering for you. By that, of course, we mean everyone. For more information check out themacandcheesefest.com

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While Nut Fest took a breather this year, it’s coming back better than ever in 2017. Celebrating one of the biggest farming industries in Kern County, this expo is your chance to go nuts and enjoy live entertainment while sampling vendor fare. As always, it promises to be a shell of a good time. kcnutfest.com

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Bakersfield has a rich cultural heritage, with many of our residents having Basque ancestry. What better place than to celebrate this fact than at the famed Basque Festival? Held every spring without fail, this event showcases their unique food and cultural background and includes dance groups, music, and even a wood chopping competition. kcbasqueclub.com

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Wingfest
Wingfest

And while we’re talking about Bakersfield’s diverse cultures, it would be a crime to not mention the Greek Food Festival which takes over St. George Greek Orthodox Church every October. With offerings like feta fries and spanakopita it’s a match loukamades (think doughnuts dipped in honey) in heaven. stgeorgebakersfield.org/greek-food-festival

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We know you’re skeptical that a charity fundraiser could be anything worth talking about, but hear us out. Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House’s October Baconfest is definitely not your mother’s bake sale with its bacon themed cocktails, competitive eating contests, and samples from local restaurants. baconfield.com

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Craft Beer Festival
Craft Beer Festival

The Latino Food Festival is filled with Latin favorites as well as the headlining menudo cook-off. This affair sees local professionals, chefs, and yes, even the most threatening of competitors – abuela, competing for the grand prize. There’s also a jalapeño eating contest for the brave of heart, live music, and activities for the little ones.

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Sugar Fest recently came across our radar with their first annual bash held this summer. As if it could get much sweeter, it benefited local schools and included a brownie bake-off and an apple pie eating contest. Which leaves us wondering, how exactly does one become a judge? sugarfestbakersfield.com

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Jazz Festival
Jazz Festival

This July Wingfest held it’s inaugural event to benefit the Alzheimer Disease Association of Kern. Many local businesses competed to win awards such as People’s Choice, Most Creative Flavor, and Spiciest Wing. Hopefully there was no shortage of ranch dressing. bakersfieldwingfest.com

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Bakersfield’s Biggest, Baddest BBQ Championship is on the calendars for October 2017. And it’s sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, so you better be prepared for this word-class competition. Proceeds benefit JJ’s Legacy, which is a proponent of organ donation. bakobbq.com

Drink Festivals

Now that your appetite has been sated, we thought some drink festivals would help wash this list down. With all of the new breweries around town, what better place for them to show off their new suds than at some of these great gatherings?

The July Tehachapi Mountain Beer and Wine Fest is always a treat with its fine selection from California’s best microbrews and wineries. Their website boasts that “Each paid admission includes unlimited beer and wine sampling.” Challenge accepted. tehachapibrew.com

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We know you liked the Craft Beer Festival before it was cool, but for all the hipsters out there who aren’t in the know, this fest sees a host of small batch beers (and even some hard ciders) from over 35 different breweries. bakersfieldcraftbeerfestival.com

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Villagefest
Villagefest

With quirky themed areas like Big KahunaVille and Vino Village, Villagefest is the perfect place for you to let your hair down. Besides the awesome drink and food samples, there’s also multiple stages filled with popular local bands like Mento Buru and Velorio. bakersfieldvillagefest.com

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Junior League of Bakersfield puts on an awesome annual affair, Uncorked!, with wine from all over the state and feel free to stuff your face with a wide selection of sweet and savory bites from scores of local chefs. This one is coming up in November. juniorleagueofbakersfield.org/bakersfield-uncorked

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Though the name provides everything you could possibly need to convince you to go, The Bacon and Craft Beer Festival might have an unlikely combination of flavors but all the same, why not? Isn’t it about time that whenever you order a beer you should be greeted with the sweet question, “would you like a side of bacon with that?” Tickets for the November soiree are already on sale and you can find more information at bcbf.eventbrite.com

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If music is your bread and butter, Fake-A-Palooza might be more your style. This year’s event had attendees rocking out to acts like Fan Halen, Motley Crued, and Paradise City. Come out for the music, stay to consume impossible amounts of drink.

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Known as Bakersfield’s “Rite of Spring”, the Jazz Festival has been going on for a grand total of 31 years now. Besides copious amounts of, you guessed it, jazz music, it also has food, drink, and (drumroll, please) fireworks. bakersfieldjazzfest.com

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So whatever your food and drink preferences happen to be, there’s probably a festivity to your tastes somewhere in town. What’s next exactly? Well, since you asked, we’re officially putting in a request for a chocolate fest, pizza expo, cookie con, avocado soiree…you get the picture. Get to work, Bakersfield.

Editor’s Note: This list is based on information available at the time of writing.

Images courtesy of Rocio Garcia Photography, (Villagefest); Susan Heflin Photography (Craft Beer Festival), TheBAK.com (Wingfest); Jim Cancino (Jazz Fest ), Rocio Garcia Photography (Villagefest 2)

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