What follows is just a taste of the many food and drink happenings packed into the next two weekends, from chili to Chillounge. Pinellas, I hope you're hungry.
The Dunedin Wines the Blues Festival returns to Pioneer Park for a 20th year, Nov. 11-12, celebrating topnotch jazz musicians and excellent wines from around the globe. This year's event will kick off with the 2nd Friday Dunedin Wine and Art Walk with live entertainment in the park. Saturday's lineup includes the featured performers, plus over a dozen wines by the glass, beer and food from local restaurants. Free admission (food and drink sold separately); Fri.: 5:30-10 p.m.. Sat.: 5-11 p.m. Main St. between Louden Ave. and Broadway, Dunedin, dunedinwinestheblues.info.
Grab the kids and head on down to the Pinellas Pioneer Settlement for their Family Fun Day and Chili Cook-off on Sat., Nov. 12. Attendees will be able to sample offerings from all competitors and vote for their favorite. Participate in some good ol'-fashioned family fun with sack races, corn hole, horseshoes, crafts, hay rides and more. Free admission and parking (donations greatly appreciated); 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 2900 31st St. S, St. Pete, 727-893-7326, pinellaspioneersettlement.org.
If there's one thing the Cajun Cafe On the Bayou does best (besides make mouthwatering Cajun fare), it has to be their craft beer festivals. This fall marks their biggest and best one yet: the 6th Annual Fall Craft Beer Festival on Sat., Nov. 12. Attendees will have a chance to taste over 100 different beers — from home brews to American craft to European imports — listen to the Dixieland jazz of Bobby Tess and, of course, feast on Cajun fare. Admission buys a ticket to the fest, tasting glass and free food. $40 for drinkers, $15 for designated drivers; 2-6 p.m. 8101 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park, 727-546-6732, cajuncafeonthebayou.com.
Prepare to feast on just about everything that swims or crawls in the sea at the Largo Stone Crab and Seafood Festival on Sat., Nov. 12. Grab fresh seafood dishes from over 30 local vendors in just about every form, including stone crab claws, Grouper, Mahi, scallops, seafood salads and more. Street performers, live music and arts and crafts are also to be found. Free admission (food and drink sold separately); 6-9 p.m. Clearwater-Largo Road South and First Avenue SW, Largo.
The third Thursday in November can only mean one thing: Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé! To honor the yearly celebration of the release of this wine from the Beaujolais region of France, Cassis American Brasserie will be hosting a Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Dinner on Thurs., Nov. 17. Guests can indulge in a three-course, prix fixe menu by Chef Jeremy that includes crab-stuffed trout, frogs legs, venison and more, paired with Beaujolais Nouveau from Georges Duboeuf. Local artist Bill Correira will capture the evening on canvas; the painting will be auctioned off at the end of the night. Call to RSVP. $45 (plus tax and gratuity); 170 Beach Drive NE, St. Pete, 727-827-2927, cassisab.com.
The people have spoken and Pinellas will get its very own food truck fest on Sat., Nov. 19. Like the Tampa Food Truck Rallies before it, the Pinellas Food Truck Rally will feature a multitude of trucks and trailers serving tasty fare. Come hungry (and early) and bring cash! Free admission (food and drink sold separately); 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 500 West Bay Drive, Largo, tastingtampa.com.
Sat., Nov. 19 brings Chillounge Night back to Downtown St. Pete. Straub Park transforms into a pop-up "lounge" where guests can relax under the stars while enjoying food from local eateries, fancy cocktails, a high-energy fashion show, Brazilian Samba parade and a fireworks display at the end of the night. 21+. $20 in advance, $25 at the door; 6-11 p.m. 350 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Pete, chilloungenight.com.