STORIES

Spring's Best Food, Wine and Smoke Fests

By David Jenison on March 20, 2017

With airline prices down and the dollar edging up against most other world currencies, travel is on the rise for forward-thinking Americans seeking adventure, and many peg their travels to a food, wine or smoke event in an exciting locale. PRØHBTD will tackle April 20 events in a separate feature, but for other wild events and activities this spring, these are some of your best bets.

Spring Equinox at Chichén Itzá
Pisté, Mexico
March 20

El Castillo is the most famous Maya temple and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and the masses gathered here on December 21, 2012 when the Maya calendar arguably suggested the world would end. Mother Earth obviously lived to see another day, so travelers have the chance to see another gorgeous equinox at the Chichén Itzá ruins. The temple design, seemingly aligned with an astronomical axis, produces a light and shadow show during the equinox that looks like a feathered serpent slithering down the steps. Spectators can also expect to see meteor showers during the solar eclipse. 

Kaya Fest
Miami, Florida
April 22

Bob Marley's son Stephen was born on April 20, and this year the Grammy-winning singer plans to celebrate with the inaugural music- and cannabis-themed Kaya Fest at Bayfront Park. The Marley Brothers will headline the event performing many of their father's classic tunes, while other acts include Lauryn Hill, Sean Paul, Wyclef Jean and Inner Circle, among others. 

Bhang Caribbean Cruise
Miami, Florida
April 22 to 29

The inaugural Bhang Caribbean Cruise is a seven-night voyage aboard to the MSC Divina with stops in Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Nassau. The excursion, originally called the Bhang Caribbean Cannabis Cruise, will feature industry experts discussing cannabis topics. The fine print says "cannabis will not be consumed or distributed as part of this event," but surely enforcement will be at a minimum. 

Los Angeles 420 Games
Santa Monica, California
April 1

The 420 Games are back for a second year in Los Angeles! Find out for yourself if cannabis is a performance-enhancing drug as mostly medicated participants make the 4.20 run from the Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach and back. The run concludes with a two-hour beer tasting (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) courtesy of Lagunitas. More 420 Games follow this spring with runs in Seattle (May 28) and Portland (June 10). 

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Indio, CA
April 14 to 16 and 21 to 23

This year's line-up includes Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Justice, Future Islands, Bon Iver and the Beyonce-replacing Lady Gaga, in addition to about a hundred other artists. The iconic SoCal fest also includes art installations, a craft beer barn, an environmental-awareness program by Global Inheritance, a fine-dining program and top chefs like Ricardo Zarate

Cinco de Mayo
Tulum, Mexico
May 5

Each year, Mexico celebrates its surprise victory over the French army in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla (and not Mexico's Independence Day as commonly thought) on May 5, a.k.a. Cinco de Mayo. Several U.S. cities also celebrate Cinco de Mayo with parties, but why not head to Mexico for this year's remembrance, which conveniently falls on a Friday. The U.S. arguably parties harder on Cinco de Mayo than Mexico does, and the traditional celebration takes place in Puebla, but Tulum on the Yucatan Peninsula is the to-go town to celebrate with white-sand Caribbean beaches, Maya ruins, underground dive caves, trendy new restaurants and a lively party scene. 

MardiGrass
Nimbin, Australia
May 5 to 7

Nimbin, a village in southeast Australia, hosted its first cannabis rally and gathering in 1993, and a quarter century later, MadriGrass is now an annual event. The three-day fest is about education and protest, but it is also a big party for people who want to see cannabis laws change down in Oz. Activities include early-morning yoga, the Hemp Olympix, the Pot Poet's Breakfast, a joint rolling competition and the Tug O' Drug War Between Police and Polite with a hemp rope. 

Indie Spirits Expo
New York, New York
May 24 

The Indie Spirit Expo returns to New York City at the midtown Penn Club. The annual tasting exclusively showcases independent alcohol companies serving small-batch spirits like scorpion-spiked mezcal, solera-aged bourbon, vodka made from sugar beets and George Washington-recipe rye whiskey. Did a PRØHBTD writer once eat the scorpion at the bottom of the mezcal bottle? Absolutely. The Expo is all about pacing so choose your spirits wisely and never arrive on an empty stomach. 

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
New Orleans, Louisiana
May 25 to 28

What type of wine pairs with crawfish, andouille sausage and alligator? Find out at NOLA’s hottest food and wine experience where the crazy pairings include the Big Gateaux Show where pastries, cocktails and burlesque all come together. We’re guessing the tagline is “redefining food porn.”

BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa Valley, California
May 26 to 28

Northern California is famed for wine, food and smoke, and all three pleasures (two of them officially) come together at the BottleRock festival. The music lineup includes the Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, The Naked and Famous, Fitz and the Tantrums, Macklemore, the Roots and the Strumbellas, while participating restaurants include Morimoto, Bouchon, Meadowood, Homeslice Pizza, Sweetie Pies Bakery, Smoke Open Fire, The Farmer's Wife and Me So Hungry Too. Judging by the restaurant names, some of the chefs clearly enjoy a good smoke. 

Primavera Sound 2017
Barcelona, Spain
May 31 to June 4 

Barcelona is the new hot spot for green tourism, and the city’s five-day summer music fest fully gels with the sounds of cannabis culture. Performers include Flying Lotus, The Magnetic Fields, Skepta, The xx, Run the Jewels, !!!, Swet Shop Boys and a 50th-anniversary performance of Odessey & Oracle by The Zombies. 

Good Food & Wine Show
Cape Town, South Africa
June 2 to 4

The Good Food & Wine Show hits Johannesburg in July and Durban in October, but the best bet is the autumn (for the southern hemisphere) exhibition in Cape Town, the waterfront city nestled in one of the few recognized floral kingdoms. The event features celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations and hundreds of exhibitors showcasing the latest spirits, wines, kitchen tools and culinary treats. The only negative is that a past event introduced the well.i.am kitchen, which we presume will endorse any utensil for a price.  

Mike the Headless Chicken Festival 
June 2 and 3
Fruita, Colorado

This event only makes the list because Colorado legalized recreational cannabis. In 1945, local farmer Lloyd Olsen chopped the head off a chicken he named Mike—yes, he named all his chickens—but his would-be dinner didn't die. Instead, Mike tucked his severed little head under his wing and continued to to peck and preen. Despite having no head, Mike lived for another 18 months and even went on a national tour. Local residents now honor their hometown star with an annual festival that includes a chicken dance, a wings-eating contest and games like Pin the Head on the Chicken. The second night will feature a headlining set by The Smithereens. 

David Jenison (david@prohbtd.com) is Editor-in-Chief at PRØHBTD. Photo credits: Coachella (top image) via Flickr, 420 Games via Facebook, BottleRock via Facebook and the Headless Chicken via Facebook.


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