7 mouthwatering Atlanta food festivals

As spring blooms, the smell of flowers won’t be the only thing wafting through the Atlanta air.

Starting in April, thousands of people will fill local parks and downtown areas to sample the food of local restaurants. From Jamaican to Southern cuisine, restaurants will get to show how they put their unique spin on familiar foods as festival attendees listen to live music and purchase gifts from artisans.

Beyond the traditional festival food at one of the can't-miss spring festivals, here are seven mouthwatering festivals that are sure to satisfy any foodie:

Beltline Boil

The third annual Beltline Boil will bring “low country cooking” to the Old Fourth Ward on April 2.

Benefiting the Atlanta Beltline’s “Light the Line” campaign and other improvement programs for Atlanta parks, the festival will allow local restaurants to compete against one another for a charitable cause.

In 2015, the Nook on Piedmont Park proved it had the “best boil in town” and secured $5,000 for Safehouse Outreach. This year, restaurants such as Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall and Venkman’s and Tapa Tapa will compete to donate the same amount to the charity of their choice.

For $30, attendees can help select the competition’s winner.

Falco Brown, Darnell Boys, All the Locals, Radiolucent and Wasted Potential Brass Band will provide the live music for this event.

11 a.m.-7 p.m. April 2. $10, general admission. $30, competition tasting ticket. Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail, 830 Willoughby Way, Atlanta. Beltlineboil.com.

Grant Park Food-O-Rama

Created to give local food truck owners a platform to showcase their delicious and quick food, the Grant Park Food-O-Rama festival will feature a variety of cuisine choices, including Jamaican, Italian, South African and more.

Nearly 30 food trucks, including Viet-Nomie, Tex’s Taco and Nana G’s Chik-n-Waffles, will line up in Grant Park on April 16 to feed attendees.

VIP attendees can see the inner workings of a food truck by taking a “behind the scenes” tour, before cashing in on their four drink coupons and enjoying complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

Kick the Robot will perform during the festival.

11 a.m.-8 p.m. April 16. $5, general admission. $50, VIP. Grant Park, Atlanta. foodoramagrantpark.com.

Taste of Marietta

More than 70 restaurants and food trucks will be on hand for the 23rd annual Taste of Marietta on April 24.

The festival will feature live music on two stages, including the Main Band Stand inside Glover Park. This stage will host a sunset concert at 5 p.m. Attendees can reserve tables or lounge on blankets in the grass, while listening to music, eating and socializing.

Throughout the day, kids can create sand art and enjoy a moonwalk in between indulging in samples from local Cobb County restaurants with their chaperones.

Chicken and the Egg, Seed Kitchen & Bar and Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q are just a few of the restaurants that will offer tastes for $1-$5.

11 a.m.-7 p.m. April 24. Free admission; $1-$5, food samples. Marietta Square, 50 Park Square, Marietta. Marietta.com.

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Atlanta Taco Festival

You may be able to get tacos at several of the food festivals in Atlanta, but the Atlanta Taco Festival is dedicated solely to the dish.

Local restaurants and companies such as Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, On the Border and Bartaco are bringing their unique take on tacos to Candler Park on May 1.

Munch on soft or hard-shelled tacos while drinking tequila and listening to live music from DJ Mike and Bird City Revolutionaries at this festival.

For this event, attendees will purchase a desired number of “points.” Tacos will be sold at two to three points each. Ticket options include 12 taco points and five beer points for $37 (additional fees are not included).

A portion of proceeds from the festival will go to the nonprofit organization CHRIS Kids, which seeks to provide families with trauma-informed behavioral health services and support.

1-7 p.m. May 1. Starting at $27 (for adults). Candler Park, 1500 McLendon Ave., Atlanta. AtlantaTacoFestival.com.

Taste of Alpharetta

The 26th annual Taste of Alpharetta will once again fill the streets of downtown Alpharetta with thousands of people looking to get a snapshot of the local dining scene.

Enjoy lobster rolls or chargrilled oysters from Atlantic Seafood Company, or taste tortellini or meatballs from La Casa Italian Grill during the five-hour event. About 50 restaurants are expected to participate in this year’s festival.

Get to know local chefs by attending one of their culinary demos or watching competitions in categories such as “best fine casual entree” and “best appetizer/salad.”

Bluegrass and folk band Old Salt Union is among the live entertainment that will perform this year.

Children can participate in obstacle courses, climb a 24-inch rock wall, ride a pony or get their face painted in one of three fun zone areas during the festival.

5-10 p.m. May 12. Free admission; $5, 10 food and activity tickets; 50 cents-$3, food samples. Milton Avenue and Roswell Street, Alpharetta. Awesomealpharetta.com.

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Southern cuisine will once again be on display in Midtown during the 2016 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

Participate in a virtual road trip through some of the South’s top food destinations at American Spirit Works at 7:30 p.m. June 2, watch one of the two-hour Masterclasses on topics such as rare bourbons and wine pairings on June 4 or enjoy a Sunday brunch with menu items from more than 15 chefs and mixologists at Loews Atlanta Hotel while listening to live music at noon June 5.

This year’s attendees will also get to explore a “pop-up vineyard and event space,” inspired by McGuigan Wines Dublin City Vineyard. At noon June 3, the space will host a “Grapes From A-Z Wine Luncheon.” Tickets for this event are $100.

Attendees must be 21 or older.

Times vary. June 2-5. $160, day passes purchased by April 15. $190, day passes. $485, Friday-Sunday passes purchased by April 15. $575, Friday-Sunday passes. 12th and Midtown, 1075 Peachtree St., Atlanta. Atlfoodandwinefestival.com.

Candler Park Music and Food Festival

While many food festivals offer live music, the Candler Park Music and Food Festival elevates the performances to the same level as the delicious food it showcases.

Galactic, Chris Robinson Brotherhood and the Revivalists are among the 10 bands that have been announced as performers during the two-day event.

Attendees will select food items from more than 20 local food trucks and vendors before settling in to hear live music or exploring the artist market and the Atlanta Sport & Social Club Game Zone.

4 p.m. June 3; noon June 4. $20, weekend general admission passes. $60, VIP weekend passes. Candler Park, 1500 McLendon Ave., Atlanta. Candlerparkmusicfestival.com.

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