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5 Fun Lake Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss This July

1. The ILBBQ Festival, Lake Placid, NY, July 4-6

The I Love Barbecue Festival at Lake Placid, New York, begins on Thursday, the Fourth of July, and runs through Saturday, July 6. Some of the nation’s best teams will be there, competing for the title of Grand Champion and $10,000 in prize money, including Purple Turtle Catering Company, I Smell Smoke, Philly Pigs, Hog Heaven BBQ, Lost Nation Smoke Company and Jack’s Downhome BBQ, headed by Jack McDavid, the former host of the Food Network’s Grillin’ and Chillin’.

In addition to the BBQ competition, the celebration includes live music, a motorcycle parade and, of course, lots and lots of great food, including pulled pork, ribs, brisket and pork butt—all set on Lake Placid in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of New York. Other nearby lakes include Saranac Lake and Oseetah Lake.



2. Finger Lakes Wine Festival, Watkins Glen, NY, July 12-14

The Finger Lakes Wine Festival is set in upstate New York, a region world-renowned for its fishing, its rich history and its more than 100 wineries. The village of Watkins Glen, which hosts the annual festival, sits along the southern tip of Seneca Lake near Lakeside Park and the Catherine Creek Wildlife Management Area.

This year’s wine festival extends from Friday, July 12, through Sunday, July 14, and features more vendors and entertainments than ever before, including over 190 vendors, fireworks, music, cooking demos and lots of food by some of the best chefs in the region. Wine-specific events include seminars and tastings (including a taster’s banquet).

3. The Lake Arbor Jazz Festival, Mitchellville, MD, July 13

Lake Arbor, an upscale lake community in Mitchellville, Maryland, is the site of the Lake Arbor Jazz Festival. The festival lasts one day only from noon to 9 PM on Saturday, July 13.p>

Line them up on the mantle, the bookcase or your desk. Vacation jars are attractive reminders of the fun you had and the fun to come.

This year’s lineup of talent includes seven great jazz performance artists: Marion Meadows, Collaboration, Alan King, Shelby Brown & Bob Baldwin, Deborah Bond and Secret Society. In addition to phenomenal music, the festival features lots of food and vendors.

The festival is situated near the twin lakes of Lake Arbor and Northampton Lake.

4. Festival of the Lakes, Hammond, IN, July 17-21

The city of Hammond, Indiana’s Festival of the Lakes is a five-day, six-night extravaganza that begins Wednesday, July 17, and doesn’t end until Sunday, July 21. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, George Lake and Wolf Lake, the festival features a fishing derby, amusement park rides, live musical entertainment, a Polka party and lots of food and vendors. This year’s musical entertainment includes Smokey Robinson, Lifehouse, Better Than Ezra and LL Cool J.

5. Virginia Lake Festival, Clarksville, VA, July 18-20

The 36th Annual Virginia Lake Festival runs from Thursday, July 18, through Saturday, July 20, in Clarksville, Virginia, which bills itself as the state’s only lakeside town. This year’s festival includes, among other things, hot-air balloon rides, live music, lots of food, a juried arts & craft show, and fireworks over Kerr Lake.

Fall Lake Festivals

Looking for lakeside festivals that occur in autumn? The season’s best includes the County Musical Festival near Detroit Lake, Minnesota, August 1-3; Moon Fest 2013 on Lake Leland in Quilcene, Washington, August 23-25; and Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival in Moneta, Virginia, Sept. 28-29.


  • Scott
    Scott Tuesday, 02 July 2013

    I had no clue Finger lakes had 100 wineries around them. Would love to visit this festival, but won't be able to :(

  • LakeR
    LakeR Tuesday, 02 July 2013

    I Love Barbecue Festival ... such a cool name!

  • Nathan75
    Nathan75 Wednesday, 03 July 2013

    Festival of the Lakes in Hammond is definitely worth the time. I have attended it a number of times, great atmosphere for the whole family. Live music is great ...

  • Sunny
    Sunny Friday, 05 July 2013

    Jazz by a lake sounds amazing. I wonder if it's performed indoors or outdoors by the lake at the Lake Arbor Festival.

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