Casey Reid, Highlands Food and Wine festival director, says she’s looking forward to new venues and formats for the seventh annual event, held this year Nov. 9-12, in Highlands, North Carolina. But she can’t deny she might have a favorite day of the four-day weekend. “I’m maybe the most excited about Sunday,” she says.
With five events spaced out across a four days, Highlands Food & Wine can feel less like a marathon for seasoned festival-goers than other larger regional festivals. Still, by Sunday, many guests are tapped out and head home before the final brunch event. Reid says that’s a mistake.
“Never miss a Sunday show,” she says. “It has, for as long as I can remember, kind of just been the best of the weekend. It’s kind of the dark horse, secret thing to go to.”
This year’s A Shot at Redemption event promises to deliver on that statement with the musical lineup alone. Headlining are The War & Treaty, a husband-and-wife duo who rose to national fame following a critically lauded 2020 Grammy Awards performance. They continue to honor their early supporters by playing smaller venues, like Greer’s Albino Skunk Fest and Highland’s Food & Wine.
“They are the nicest people,” Reid says. “We’re really lucky they’re coming back.”
Opening for them are the Harlem Gospel Travelers, a group Reid says she saw perform and immediately knew they needed to be part of the festival.
The event’s culinary lineup packs equivalent talent. More than a dozen regional chefs with their own awards and accolades will provide a worthy accompaniment to the music and a foundation for the festival’s famous Bloody Mary bar.
Noteworthy culinary talent includes 2023 James Beard Award finalist Sam Hart of Counter- in Charlotte; chefs Adégnimika Carrena and Gerald Hawkins Jr. of the West African dining experience Wa Mi Dounou in Raleigh; Steven Goff of Asheville’s Tastee Diner; and Peter Dale of Maepole in Athens, Georgia.
If staying over Sunday isn’t a possibility, Saturday night’s A Generous Pour will provide an equally impressive musical performance, Reid says. Headlining keyboardist Chuck Leavell has performed with, and laid tracks for, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, George Harrison, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Crowes, Blues Traveler, Train, Martina McBride, John Mayer, and many more.
With event sponsor Tarpon Cellars on tap, the wine pours will be as sophisticated as they are generous.
Learn more and get tickets at highlandsfoodandwine.com.