14 Pittsburgh summer food festivals to satisfy your every craving

Warm breezes, sunshine and the aroma of freshly grilled dishes waken the appetite. It’s the perfect basis for the appeal of Pittsburgh food festivals.

The summer schedule tempts foodies with ethnic menus, barbecue, pickles and ice cream.

Here’s when and where to eat your way through the season.

Holy Cross revs up its annual celebration into a full Greek village festival. Musicians will play the bouzouki as dancers in traditional costumes circle the floor. Find Greek beer and liquor at the taverna. Visit the marketplace where vendors sell festival-themed objects, clothing, jewelry and religious items.

Hourly tours of the elegant Byzantine-style church will be offered, giving a glimpse of the theology of icons, hymns and psalms.  

Of course, the biggest draw is the food. The outdoor veranda and grill present favorites like gyros, kebobs and fried loukoumades along with live music by the Greek Company Orchestra. Indoors in the main dining room, start with pork souvlaki, souzoukakia, moussaka and spanakopita. You will find loads of sticky sweet pastries, too.

Those in a hurry can order online for pickup meals, including chicken oregano, pork souvlaki and Greek pastry samplers.

Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. June 11-13, and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. June 14. Admission is free.

Berries take center stage at the Berry Festival and Craft Show. Photo courtesy of Freedom Farms.

Expect a berry merry time at Freedom Farms, where you can savor berry-flavored everything. Cousins Maine Lobster will pick up the slack for hungry folks with lobster rolls, chowder and bisque.

Explore the farm grounds where more than 50 craft vendors will present their wares. Grownups can sample from the beer and wine garden with offerings from the likes of Mazzotta Winery, McLaughlin Distillery and Grist House. There’s plenty of appeal for kids, too, with face painting, tractor rides and a petting zoo.

Hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $10, free for ages 3 and younger.

Greek delicacies like spanakopita are on the menu at the Oakmont Greek Food Festival. Photo courtesy of Oakmont Greek Food Festival.

The Oakmont Greek Food Festival, hosted by Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. All your most desired Greek specialties will be on offer. Or go for something a little different with a baklava sundae made with Glen’s Frozen Custard.

Curbside meal pickup is offered with advance online orders. Frozen half-pans of dishes like moussaka, lamb shanks and pastitsio are available to take home for a future Greek festival in your own kitchen.

Food and pastries are sold from noon to 9 p.m. with live music and dancing until 11 p.m. Admission is free.

Specialty cocktails, like this refresher from Pins Mechanical, are the highlight of Best Bites South Side. Photo courtesy of Made in PGH.

Best Bites South Side combines a neighborhood walking tour with a curated sampling of food and drinks. Present your lanyard at each of the 14 stops throughout SouthSide Works and the surrounding restaurants and businesses. Each stop creates an individual experience of tastings with treats, craft beer, cocktails and food pairings. The tour includes food trucks, business indulgences and a wine party.

At the end, vote for the People’s Choice Awards for Best Bite, Best Drink and Best Tasting Experience.

Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Grand Tasting tickets are $70 and are expected to sell out, with just 300 lanyards being sold.

The Presentation of Christ Greek Orthodox Church hosts the Ypapanti Greek Food Festival at Olympia Hall in East Pittsburgh. The indoor dining room features a menu of Greek entrees and a variety of pastries. Or enjoy the festive environment of the outdoor Grecian Garden with authentic folk dancing and live music, plus gyros and loukoumades – Greek doughnuts with honey.  

More details to come. Admission is free.

Picklesburgh has grown to four days of fun. Photo courtesy of Picklesburgh.

It’s a big dill for pickle lovers to come together at Picklesburgh, named the No. 1 Specialty Food Festival in America by USA Today readers three years in a row. Pickle mania hits its zenith with imaginative pickle-flavored eats. The ever-growing, four-day festival will stretch along the Boulevard of the Allies.

Compete in the pickle juice drinking contest. Savor exotic treats like pickle-flavored cupcakes, cotton candy and beer. Kids will find pickle-ish fun at the L’il Gherkins KidsPlay Activity Area where they can decorate pickle necklaces, make puppets and work on coloring pages. Live music will be on the schedule throughout the festival.

Details are coming soon. Admission is free.

You scream, I scream! We all scream for ice cream! You will finally get your fill of this cold creamy stuff at the annual Ice Cream Fundae. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Pressley Ridge fundraiser. Visitors stroll through the zoo, stopping at stations along the way, where sponsors compete for your vote for best flavor. It will be a tough decision: Graeter’s Ice Cream creates dozens of all-you-can-eat deliciousness.

Kids will have fun visiting with mascots and princess characters, face painting and air-brush tattoos. Weird Eric provides the laughs while the Ambridge Steel Drum Band and DJ Jan Jusa offer background music.

Hours are 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $25, $10 for ages 4-17, free for ages 3 and younger. A Family Four Pack runs $50.

VegFest highlights delicious plant-based foods. Photo courtesy of VegFest.

Those who follow a plant-based lifestyle and those considering that option will find a joyful approach to all the information they need. This showcase of some of the best vegetarian and vegan foods will be on display along with cooking demonstrations. Hosted by the nonprofit Justice for Animals organization, VegFest includes live entertainment, wellness vendors and family-friendly activities.

Hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.

At its heart, Barrel & Flow is a Black-focused beer festival that expounds the drafts of more than 100 brewers and distillers. But the dozens of food vendors taking part qualify the event as a food festival, too. You’ll find everything your taste buds might crave, from Caribbean, Creole and Brazilian cuisine to Salvadorean, Cuban and Middle Eastern fare. A curated market with offerings from indie artisans is part of the appeal.

Barrel & Flow was named the No. 1 Brew Fest in America two years in a row by USA Today readers. The festival fills the streets at the Stacks at 3 Crossings.

More details coming soon. Ticket prices vary: General admission starts at $60. The Art Enthusiast ticket is $30 with no tasting glass. Early Access is $85. The VIP Experience is $225, which includes the Aug. 9 conference.

Little Italy Days began 22 years ago to promote Bloomfield’s Italian heritage. Photo courtesy of Little Italy Days.

Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield will be closing for most of four days to honor Pittsburgh’s Italian heritage. Catch the Celebrity Bocce Tournament, Pizza Acrobatics and the Miss Little Italy Pageant. Italian bands and crooners fill the stages with live music. There’s a tribute to Frank Sinatra, Italian opera vocalists and accordionists. Other music offerings include Dr. Zoot, Mojo Band and an Earth, Wind & Fire tribute band. Wander through the vendors for foods and treats for a complete Italian immersion.

The garage at Liberty and Aspen will offer free parking. Free parking and shuttle service at the UPMC Luna Garage on Baum Boulevard.

Hours are 5-9 p.m. Aug. 15, noon-9 p.m. Aug. 16 and 17, noon-5 p.m. Aug. 18. Admission is free.

The Butler Italian Festival promises lots of divertimento in famiglia gratuito. In other words, free family fun. Butler’s Main Street shuts down from Cunningham to Brady streets to create the Piazza de Italia. Delicious Italian indulgences will be offered along with live music. Watch first responders compete in the Mangia Meatball Eating Contest.  The Kid Zone includes carnival rides, blowup slides and a jump house.

Details to come. Admission is free.

Grillmasters compete for the trophy — and your appetite — at the Kickoff and Rib Festival. Photo courtesy of Acrisure Stadium.

Grab plenty of napkins for this lip-smacking, finger-licking event. Football season officially begins with the Kickoff and Rib Festival that fills the area around Acrisure Stadium. Dozens of competing rib vendors will slather and grill racks of ribs, setting off amazing aromas of barbecue sauce and spicy rubs. A lineup of local and national bands will take the stage throughout the five-day festival.

Stay tuned for the 2024 schedule announcement. Admission is free.

Opa! An army of volunteers is cooking up a storm to prepare for the onslaught of thousands of Greek food fans expected at the Taste of Greece Festival. Favorites include braised lamb shank, moussaka, spanakopita, souvlaki and tiropita. No meal would be complete without pastries – plus a few to take home for a breakfast treat.

Music and dancing are part of the entertainment lineup. Church tours will be offered every two hours from noon to 8 p.m. daily giving a look at the iconography and hand-carved woodwork created by Greek religious artisans.

With limited on-site parking, continuous shuttle buses will run from the UPMC Passavant Green Lot. No online or telephone orders will be accepted.

Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Admission is free.

Entertainment takes on a Latino flair. Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Taco Festival.

Who doesn’t love tacos? This festival draws more than 25 food trucks and vendors offering the city’s best taco variations. Pittsburgh Taco Festival not only celebrates these savory handheld indulgences, the event benefits and supports Pittsburgh’s Latin-American community, including Casa San Jose and Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation. Live Latino music will fill the air, inviting impromptu salsa dancing. Kids will be entertained with games, face painting and other activities. The gathering takes place at the Stacks at 3 Crossings in the Strip District.

More details coming soon. Tickets start at $13 for general admission, free for ages 4 and younger.

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