Swimsuit season is almost over! Celebrate at one—or all—of September's many food events.
Hop over to the Downtown Brew Festival at the Clark County Amphitheater.
In non-desert climes, food festivals rule the summer, when weekends serve as a delicious excuse to be outside in the sun. But not many people want to chow down at an outdoor food stall when it’s 120 degrees in the shade, so Las Vegans put off this tradition until everyone is back from their summer travels and the temperature at 8 p.m. is down to a reasonable 85. In a word: September. And these aren’t your typical afternoon community street fairs. Las Vegas brings it with nighttime food festivals that feature the best big-name chefs and sommeliers, celebrity cabanas, and only-in-Vegas entertainment.
The most extravagant of these affairs is the James Beard Foundation-supporting Las Vegas Wine & Food Festival (September 5 and 6), which this month hits Red Rock Casino for the third time. On its plate: 100 top chefs from around town, including Charlie Palmer and Vincent Pouessel (Aureole Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay) and Barry Dakake (N9NE Steakhouse, Palms). Neighborhood hot spots such as Honey Salt and Origin India will also get top billing. There will be private poolside cabanas for celebs and VIPs, and delicious wine and spirits tastings permeate this two-day event. And, of course, it wouldn’t be Vegas without some razzle-dazzle, so the VIP hour will include a live performance by the seductive dancers of Fantasy. “It’s important to get people excited about what we do with food,” says participating chef Laurent Tourondel of Mirage’s BLT Burger. “And it’s good to be back together after summer.”
Flavors of the Heart (September 20) is a festival with a purpose: It raises money for charity. Held at Downtown’s World Market Center, Flavors spotlights 25 local restaurants, including Cabo Wabo, Cantina Laredo, and Hash House, and raises funds for the American Heart Association. About 500 guests will enjoy food and wine tastings and live music.
September is also a beer lover’s dream. Desert Hops: An International Beer Experience will bring more than 150 beers from 25 countries (along with tons of food pairings and live entertainment) to Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool on September 27. More than 3,000 people are expected to show up at the Clark County Amphitheater to enjoy the Downtown Brew Festival’s 150 craft beers from 50 breweries, plus food trucks and live local bands. “Our beer festival is designed to introduce people to the craft beer movement, which isn’t entirely embraced in Las Vegas yet,” says Brian Chapin, who runs the event (September 20) and its sister festival in the spring. “Celebrity chefs curate a special menu that might not be exactly appropriate for their restaurant—high-end gastropub cuisine. In the spring, there was a watermelon kale salad served with watermelon beer. They get creative! Then everyone can sit on the grass and listen to the bands play under the stars.”