Growing up in Aspen and working for a catering business I had more than one opportunity to partake of the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, which to a high schooler was one big party with great free food, and occasionally, people who didn't bother to check ID to get a drink. I'm sure they've gotten a little more tight on security these days, and the only way I could go now would be to pay, but if you don't mind a bit of a mob scene, food and wine festivals can be a lot of fun and a great way to rub shoulders with some top names in food and wine. Here's a list of the main festivals in the U.S.
Naples Winter Wine Festival, Naples, Fla., Feb. 4-6, 2005, (239) 514-2239
Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival, Austin, Texas, April 1-4, (512) 542-9463
Taste of Vail, Vail, Colo., April 7-10, call (888) 311-5665
Florida Winefest and Auction, Sarasota, Fla., April 13-18, (877) 352-9463
Taste Washington Ultimate Wine & Food Event, Seattle, Wash., April 16-18, (206) 667-9463
Nantucket Wine and Food Festival, Nantucket Island, Mass., May 19-23, (508) 228-1128
New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, New Orleans, May 26-30, (504) 529-9463
Napa Valley Wine Auction, St. Helena, Calif., June 3-6, call (707) 963-3388
Food & Wine Magazine Classic at Aspen, Aspen, Colo., June 18-20, contact Todd Peters, (212) 382-5880
Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, July 8-11, (800) KAPALUA
Interlochen Wine, Food & Fine Arts Festival, Interlochen, Mich., May 30, call (231) 276-7141
South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Miami, Feb. 25-27, 2005, (305) FIU-WINE
Biltmore International Food & Wine Weekend, April 30-May 2, Coral Gables, Fla., (305) 273-6015
Miami Wine & Food Festival, Miami, (formerly The Biltmore Great South Florida Wine Festival), April 30-May 1, (786) 596-WINE
For more information and additional festival listings, see Gayot.Com.
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