Mac and cheese lovers take note, there may be a festival near you where you can indulge in your favorite cheesy dish.
The Mac and Cheese Festival, which debuted in Baltimore; Pittsburgh, PA; and Richmond, VA last year, is now expanding to two more cities in 2020.
The event is scheduled for:
• Scranton, PA’s Montage Mountain on April 18
• Baltimore’s Power Plant Live on May 16-17
• Buffalo, NY’s Buffalo River Works on May 2
• Pittsburgh, PA’s Highmark Stadium on September 21
• Richmond, VA’s Raceway Complex on October 12.
“My goal is to help small producers make more money and profit by doing small festivals,” says Charlie Adler, founder of TasteUSA Festival Management, which runs the festivals. “I work with small cheese people, wine producers and craft brewers and market their product at the event.”
Attendees will have the opportunity to vote on some of these areas’ most popular mac and cheese dishes. The vendor’s dish with the most votes wins $500 and bragging rights to the Best Mac and Cheese in their region.
“Last year, the Baltimore festival sold out on Saturday and the Pittsburgh event had over 3,500 people in one day,” says Adler. “We average 3,000 people per day.”
The festival is divided into two sessions, both of which are expected to sell out quickly. The first session runs from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. followed by the second session from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The entry fee is $20 in advance, not including food samples. General Admission tickets cost $40 in advance and include 10 mac and cheese tickets and one drink ticket for an alcoholic or a non-alcoholic drink. At $55 in advance, VIP tickets entitle attendees to enter sessions a half hour early, 10 mac and cheese tickets, two drink tickets as well as provide access to private bathrooms and a VIP area.
The Mac and Cheese Festival will also host a selection of vendors serving craft beers, ciders and wine.
There are between 15 and 30 vendors, with each selling two kinds of mac and cheese. Festivals also feature live music or a DJ and games; however, food and drinks are the focus.
“At the Baltimore fest last year, a vendor with brisket mac and cheese didn’t have a line less than 200 people all day, and the doughnut mac and cheese was another best seller,” says Adler. “Mac and cheese fests go viral. There are 100 each year in this country, but they can be hard to find. My goal is to make them more accessible.”
For more information on Adler’s mac and cheese festivals, visit macandcheesefestival.com.