Are you the kind of person who schedules your travels around food? Do you detour for donuts, plot perogy plans, and wander down country roads in search of the best barbecue? Then pack your bags for Northeastern Ontario, where these five summer food festivals offer up lots of local tastes and plenty of local fun.
Start off your food festival summer with the Timmins Rotary Ribfest, the annual saucy meat celebration held at Mountjoy Historical Conservation Area (the Participark). A lineup of local DJs, bands, and other entertainment will keep your toes tapping, while your mouth is busy with barbecued chicken and ribs. The event raises money for local charities, too. June 26–27, 2015.
Sudbury Greek Festival
Every July, Sudbury’s Greek community welcomes visitors to its annual weekend of Greek food, music, food, dancing, and food. From souvlaki to spanakopita, there will be plenty to eat, and an onsite shop sells souvenirs from Greece. The Greek Fest takes place at Sudbury’s Hellenic Centre near St. Charles Lake. July 24–26, 2015.
Esker Lakes Blueberry Festival
You know it’s mid-summer when you start seeing blueberries at the farm stands and markets and on roadside bushes around the region. Esker Lakes Provincial Park in Kirkland Lake celebrates this summer fruit with lots of family-friendly fun, including a pancake breakfast, games on the beach, and a blueberry pie-eating contest. July 30–August 3, 2015.
Cochrane Summer Fest
If you didn’t eat your fill of barbecue during the Timmins Ribfest, you have another chance in Cochrane. As part of Cochrane’s “Live Like a Northerner” Summer Fest, amateur BBQ chefs from across Ontario will compete in the “Smoke On The Water” barbecue competition. Expect canoe races, a horseshoe tournament, kids’ activities, and lots of music featuring northern bands, too. August 7–9, 2015.
Canadian Garlic Festival
Love garlic? Then don’t miss this party for the stinky bulb at Sudbury’s Hnatyshyn Park. Hosted by the Ukrainian Seniors’ Centre, this day-long festival serves up Ukrainian and international music and dance; arts, crafts, and games for the kids; a garlic sale, offering locally grown heads; and all manner of garlicky treats, from pyrohy to chili to pizza. You might even find garlic cookies, garlic ice cream, and garlic fudge. Bring your own breath mints. August 23, 2015.