Attention, Tampa Bay, Foodies! Don’t you hate when you miss a tasting event or foodie festival? Well, we do, too!

We don’t want you to miss out anymore, so we created this list of all of the annual tasting events in Tampa Bay! And you may be wondering what the criteria is for this list, so we’ll spell it out for you!

These events go one of two ways. 

The first type of foodie event is where you can go to the event for free but you have to purchase the delectable cuisine once you've arrived. 

The second type is where you're able to purchase a ticket to the event and get unlimited tastings because would it really be a true foodie event if we had to limit our eating?

Each of these events must have a variety of local restaurants present. Here at MyArea Network, we emphasize the importance of supporting your local businesses, so if it’s a tasting event for a bunch of chain restaurants, and only chain restaurants, we won’t count it as a “Tampa Bay Foodie Festival” because Tampa Bay is not represented in the food.

We also require that there are fabulous (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) drinks to wash down your delectable bites from the restaurants that create the Flavor of Tampa Bay!

Here's our list of the annual can't-miss foodie events in Tampa! 

Busch Gardens Food & Wine Fest

A world of taste awaits your arrival at the 5th Annual Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens. The festival features signature dishes along with exciting new cuisine that represents Tampa Bay.

This foodie festival includes all-new dishes plus a large selection of wines, craft brews, and cocktails. So no matter what your preference of food or drink is, Busch Gardens has you covered. Plus, some of the biggest acts in musical entertainment take the stage every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night throughout the festival.

Beer, Bourbon, BBQ

Tampa’s favorite smoked meat onslaught is back for the fifth-annual pig-out in Curtis Hixon Park. Get ready to enjoy all of the pleasures that true Southerners live by: beer, bourbon, barbeque, boots, bacon, and more!  

It's a great day of beer sippin', bourbon tastin', music listenin', cigar-smokin', and barbeque eatin'. This is a tasting event where your admission buys you a sampling glass so you can enjoy an all-you-care-to-taste sampling of beer, bourbon, and barbecue.

Fiesta Day

This family-friendly and free "street festival” celebrates and commemorates the Cuban, Italian, Spanish, Jewish, and German immigrants who settled in Ybor City in the late 1800s as the cigar factories thrived.

This is not a tasting event but, with plenty of food from all over the world, there's something you haven’t tried yet waiting for your arrival at Fiesta Day! So bring some cash and get excited to taste flavors from all seven continents (okay, maybe six because do people really live on Antarctica?).

Cuban Sandwich Festival

The 8th Annual Cuban Sandwich Festival is back in Centennial Park in Historic Ybor City! Watch as we make the biggest Cuban Sandwich in the World! Bring the kiddos so they can enjoy the Kids Cuban Sandwich Showdown and get a taste of Tampa's history. The Big Smackdown brings contestants from all over the world!

Taste of South Tampa

The Taste of South Tampa is an annual event hosted by the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce to give locals and visitors alike a taste of the flavor of Tampa! Join in on the fun for a day in the sun while enjoying food and beverage samples from South Tampa's best restaurants! This is a tasting event, so after purchasing your ticket, you're welcome to taste any (or in my case, ALL) of the samplings provided by local Tampa staples. 

Gasparilla International Food Festival

Gasparilla season has so many great events, but for the foodies of Tampa Bay, this is the one event you must attend! Join hundreds of Tampa Bay residents and tourists in Ybor City for an exploration that takes their taste buds on a culinary journey to explore spicy, savory, sweet, succulent cuisine brought to the city generations ago.

Hosted by local artisan caterers and restaurants that are staples across Tampa Bay, this foodie festival will bring American, Caribbean, Hispanic, Mediterranean, African, and Asian flavors to the forefront. 

The 2nd Annual Gasparilla International Food Festival (or as we like to call it, the Taste of Gasparilla) is a platform for the display of inventive creations and flavors from around the world that are in our backyards every day! So if you're looking for a new restaurant to try, this is the place to find it! 

Tampa Taco Fest

Become a part of the first-ever Tampa Taco Festival! It's an annual festival created to unite the Tampa Bay Community through the love of tacos! We say it often but our favorite day of the week is Taco Tuesday and partly because Tampa Bay has so many local restaurants that celebrate it, too! The event will feature tacos from over 20 local restaurants like BesitoLoli's Food Truck, and Rocco's Tacos

Sushi Battle

Be part of a battle for the ages between Tampa Bay's best sushi joints! Enjoy samples of sushi from Tampa Bay area restaurants and vote on who deserves to win the battle! Sake Tasting, Sake Bombs, Karaoke, Godzilla, Taiko Drums, Sumo Suit Wrestling, and other entertainment will make this a battle to remember (or with too much Sake, maybe a festival to forget)!

General admission to the Tampa Sushi Battle includes samples of sushi and sake from some of the finest sushi joints in the Tampa Bay Area. Taste them all and vote for the restaurant that deserves to win Sushi Battle and the Golden Chopsticks Award!

Italian Food Festival

If you're looking to get your gains this April, then your first stop should be the Italian Food Festival! Festa Italiana 2019 has expanded to two full days of live entertainment, endless Italian food, culture, and heritage at Centennial Park in historic Ybor City.

Mark your calendars for the biggest Festa Italiana to date on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7. This is not a tasting event, so bring a full wallet and empty tummies so you can fully enjoy this foodie festival. 

Taste at The Straz

Tampa’s Best Party is back with a new name and a new look but the same “eat, drink, party” spirit! Best of Tampa Bay is now TASTE @ The Straz, an all-inclusive, all-you-can-eat food, and drink extravaganza boasting more than 50 of Tampa Bay’s finest restaurants.

Also, enjoy full open bars and 5 live bands! Since its inception 34 years ago, the Straz Center’s signature fundraising event has generated more than $2.5 million for arts education programs. Let me tell you, supporting the arts has never tasted so good! 

Bloody Mary Festival

Sunday Funday! Mix and mingle with fellow Bloody Mary enthusiasts and join us as we celebrate the most beloved brunch cocktail in the world, The Bloody Mary! With some of Tampa's best local restaurants in attendance, if you love the hair of the dog signature cocktail, you need to check out this celebration. 

Bern's Wine Fest

Bern's Steak House, Haven, Bern's Fine Wines and & Spirits, and The Epicurean Hotel present the 22nd annual event of food and wine. Along with the culinary talents of their properties’ teams, this year’s festivities will include talented chefs from the Bay area and all over the state of Florida. Join in on the fun for a full week to indulge in all your wildest culinary and wine fantasies. For your additional pleasure, they have added two dinners to this year’s list of events.

Hyde Park Fall Festival (2019 Dates Coming Soon)

The Fall Festival will be held on a night in late September from 5-9 p.m with fall festivities like the pumpkin patch and a gaggle of food trucks lining the street this is an event for all. Bring the entire family and help support a great cause, The Children's Home.

A portion of the proceeds goes towards bringing the holiday season to the kids, so come enjoy the festivities so that a young child can experience Christmas the way it's supposed to be! There will be craft beer, food trucks, live entertainment, and games for attendees to take part in.

Tailgate Taste Fest (2019 Dates Coming Soon)

Tampa Bay’s Tailgate Taste Fest is the ultimate place to be on a day in late September. A free and family-friendly event, Tailgate Taste Fest has a robust schedule. The schedule includes entertainment for the casual event-goer and the ultimate football fan alike.

Entertainment consists of a food competition with local restaurants serving up the most delicious tailgate foods Tampa has to offer, live music from the best local bands, a competitive corn hole tournament, and, of course, live action from the day’s most exciting college football games on large LED video screens!

Brews By the Bay (2019 Dates Coming Soon)

Make a splash at The Florida Aquarium's 10th Annual Beer and Food Festival presented by Pepin Distributing. The Aquarium will be overflowing with endless beers, delicious food from local area restaurants, and live entertainment. Last year, they even had a silent disco on the roof of the aquarium so you could dance the night away while enjoying a view of the Bay! 

Zoofari (2019 Dates Coming Soon)

Bring your appetite and get ready to party at the 29th annual Zoofari at ZooTampa. Devour food from more than 50 local restaurants, enjoy our open bars, and then party down with live music throughout the Zoo. This is a tasting event, so leave your wallet at home and be sure to show up on an empty stomach so you can enjoy all of the foods ZooTampa has to offer! 

Tampa Greek Festival (2019 Dates Coming Soon)

One of Hillsborough County’s oldest cultural celebrations, The Tampa Greek Festival was established more than 30 years ago to share its heritage, it's Orthodoxy, and its wonderful food with the Tampa Bay community.

Throughout the weekend, guests can enjoy strolling through the Grand Hall, indulging in inventive spirits at the Opa! Party Tent, and discovering market treasures. Whether it’s freshly-prepared Mediterranean style food and pastries, an evening of live music and beautiful dance, or a unique shopping experience, the Tampa Greek Festival gives everyone the chance to enjoy life like a Greek. OPA!

Tampa Bay Veg Fest (2019 Dates Coming Soon)

The 8th Annual Tampa Bay Veg Fest is back! The first Saturday of November can be spent at beautiful Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park in Downtown Tampa for its ninth year! There will be vegan-friendly food to sample and to buy, a wide array of vendors and nonprofits, live music, animal adoptions, and nationally known guest speakers- and this year there will be a bigger, better children's area.

Tampa Bay Food Fight (2019 Dates Coming Soon)

Tampa vs. St. Pete teams of chefs from both sides of the Bay will compete for the Tampa Bay Food Fight Best of the Bay crown, judged by top chefs at Armature Works in Downtown Tampa.

Restaurants from Tampa and St. Pete will be competing and guests will have an opportunity to vote for the Best City, Best Restaurant, Best Cocktail, and Best Craft Beer. Tampa Bay Food Fight guests will enjoy fun, friendly food competition, live music, food, drinks, silent auctions, and more!

Find more events in Tampa by registering on 813area, your free local guide to everything going on in Tampa Bay.
Cover photo courtesy of 813area photographer