Purpose: This research aims to classify and describe food festivals and examine the patterns in food festival naming and festival descriptions in online media. Design: This research represents the first population-level empirical examination of food festivals in the United States using a purpose-built dataset (N=2626). Methodology includes text mining to examine food festival communications. Findings: Food festival size varies across local and regional spheres within the country. Food festivals employ geographical (place-, destination-based) associations in their names. Food festivals’ descriptions and online communications showcase a welcoming environment predominantly emphasizing family-oriented and live entertainment experiences. Food festivals across the country show common naming patterns based on the elements of longevity, recurrence, location name, brand name, geographic scope, theme, and occasion. Originality/Value: The study makes an original contribution to the theory and practice by identifying festival forms, styles, functions, and their diversity. A population level examination of food festivals does not currently exist. Therefore, this research will serve as a foundation for scholarly work in the future and as a benchmark for evaluating current and future research

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Publication Date

Winter 11-30-2021


This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact permissions@emerald.com'

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Hospitality and Tourism Management (SCB)


RIT – Main Campus