Best Festival - 2009
South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Two words: Paula Deen. The lovable Georgia peach, butter lover, and Food Network über-personality lost her pants at this year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and the whole world watched. Nearly 600,000 curious people took to YouTube to view the footage, shot by New Times videographer Jacob Katel. Sauntering across the stage as her drawstring slacks slid down her thighs, Deen attracted even more attention to the weekend that unites foodies and chefs from around the world. But this festival doesn't need middle-age arse to sell tickets. Even with recession-unfriendly prices, it's easily one of the nation's most significant culinary events. This year, luminaries such as the King and Queen of Spain were honored, celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Bobby Flay held up-close-and-personal cooking exhibitions, and Paula — oh, Paula. What started out as a small fete to celebrate local cuisine has blown up to become the only place to get your grub on for an entire weekend at the end of February. Bring your own fork, optional.