One big part of traveling is eating – discovering local dishes wherever you may raise your fork, or spoon. Beignets in New Orleans. Pho in Vietnam. Croissants in Paris. And for a lot of people, food and wine events are as good a reason to travel as any.

I recently came across a number of food events happening in the next month or so, mostly here in Florida, and thought I’d give a quick rundown in case you feel the urge to hop on a plane and get eatin’!

keylargouncorked

In the sunny Florida Keys, the Key Largo and Islamorada Food & Wine Festival runs through Jan. 18 and features 10 days of culinary events, cooking demonstrations, themed wine dinners, food and wine pairing classes, art and wine shows, gourmet chocolate-crafting for kids (kids get all the fun, don’t they?!) and a Grand Tasting festival finale. Come hungry! Photo courtesy of fla-keys.com.

brewonthebay

Unlimited beer tastings with food, music and entertainment are on tap at Key Largo’s Brew on the Bay, Jan. 10 – 11. Cheers! Photo courtesy of fla-keys.com.

Florida Keys Seafood-Festival

Love seafood? You won’t want to miss the Florida Keys Seafood Festival Jan. 18 – 19 back in Key West. The two-day event showcases fresh, local Keys seafood, drinks, marine-related crafts, kids’ activities and music. Photo courtesy of athomekeywest.com.

KeyWestFoodandWineFest

And if you didn’t get enough at the Florida Keys Seafood Festival, hang around a bit longer for the Key West Food and Wine Festival, Jan. 22 – 26. Highlights of the event include Duval “Uncorked,” food-related adventures and a “Save the Turtles” grand tasting. Photo courtesy of fla-keys.com.

keylargostonecrabfestival

When you’ve had your fill in Key West, travel north a bit Jan. 25 – 26 for the Key Largo Stone Crab & Seafood Festival, full of fresh conch, local stone crab and much more! Photo courtesy of travel.yahoo.com.

ClearwaterUncorked

Even further north, Clearwater Beach Uncorked will be held Feb. 8 – 9 and features the “hippest beachfront gastronomic event on Florida’s west coast.” Tickets include access to the private Grand Tasting Village, and the Uncorked Spirits Beach Club. It’s a weekend filled with world-class food, wine, spirits and microbrews. Cheers! Photo courtesy of destinationtampabay.com.

epicurean

Though not a festival, the new Epicurean Hotel in Tampa is celebrating its Grand Awakening the weekend of Jan. 17, and you’re invited! The food-inspired hotel is offering two packages so that you can indulge in all the culinary events. Photo courtesy of Epicurean Hotel.

foodwine-crowd-shot_fs

If you find yourself in Palm Desert, Calif. March 21 – March 23, you’re one lucky traveler! That’s when the fourth annual Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert transforms the desert into a culinary oasis, with live cooking demonstrations, a four-course gourmet luncheon with James Beard-recognized chefs, wine and craft beer seminars, and two days of Grand Tastings from more than 50 restaurants and 70 wineries, spirits companies and microbrewers. Photo courtesy of PalmDesertFoodandWine.com.

sweetgreen

A few page turns ahead in the calendar, the fifth annual sweetgreen music + food festival lands at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, Md. On May 10 – a day that brings together food from top chefs, food trucks, food purveyors, farmers, top bands and 20,000 of your closest friends. They do say, after all, eat, drink and be merry! Photo courtesy of bizbash.com.

What upcoming food festivals are you most looking forward to? What’s your favorite that you’ve attended?