The middle of October is a great time to find fall foliage, sure, as well as attend the city’s biggest food and wine festival, celebrate the special relationship among two unique neighborhoods, and/or find your perfect pumpkin. Read on for our picks of the best eating, drinking, and merrymaking events this weekend. By Jessica Allen.
Probably the preeminent event in the season’s food- and wine-related calendar, the Food Network’s New York City Food & Wine Festival, presented by Food & Wine magazine, features such good times as a hot dog happy hour, Burger Bash (the annual burger competition), intimate dinners, tastings, talks, panels, and demos. Such luminaries as Martha Stewart, Dan Barber, Michelle Bernstein, and Ted Allen are scheduled to appear. Thursday, October 16, through Sunday, October 19, see schedule for details, prices vary, tickets required.
The sixth annual Marco Polo Festival, like the five previous festivals, celebrates Manhattan’s Little Italy and Chinatown. The festival begins with a parade of giant marionettes of both Kublai Khan and Marco Polo as well as a hand-painted silk banner depicting the Silk Road. Other events include traditional Italian and Chinese opera, contemporary musical performances, acrobatics, and folk dances. Saturday, October 18, 11 am to 3 pm, free.
The Staten Island Jazz Festival began in 1988 as a way of bringing this distinctly American art form to the borough via workshops. Today, the one-day festival still offers family-friendly workshops in art, vocals, dance, and music, as well as panel discussions. There are concerts too, featuring performances by Rudi Mwongozi, the Javon Jackson Quartet, the Leopoldo Fleming Afro-Caribbean Jazz Ensemble, and others. Saturday, October 18, 2 to 7 pm, $25, tickets required.
Still looking for that perfect gourd to decorate your house this Halloween season? Head to the Harvest Fest and Pumpkin Patch at the Queens Botanical Garden to find the perfect pumpkin. While you’re there, you can also grab a beer in the beer tent, ride a pony, listen to live music, play games, stroll around the craft vendors, and hang out in the petting zoo. OK, so some of those activities are more for the kiddies, but still. Sounds like fun, right? Sunday, October 19, 11 am to 6 pm, $4, tickets required.
Begun by James Beard Award-winning writer Josh Ozersky in 2004, Meatopia honors the carnivore. To celebrate its tenth birthday, the festival has teamed up with the New York Food & Wine Festival to produce the Carnivore’s Ball, with Bryan Voltaggio and Paul Qui, among many others, slated to appear. Be sure to stop by the “Whole Animal Court,” with whole goats, hogs, and lambs. Pat LaFrieda will be on hand to cook every bit of a 1,000-lb steer. Sunday, October 19, 4 to 7 pm, $150, tickets required.