Coffee Festivals Return to the States

The growing lineup of events this fall are proving the world still needs coffee and people. 

BY ZECHARIAH MOSS
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Cover photo courtesy of Teresa Zullo

After moving to digital platforms, rescheduling, and canceling events altogether, 2021 is seeing a surging return of coffee festivals. Organizations large and small across the globe are targeting a fall relaunch, ready to reconnect with local shops and consumers to discuss, inform, and sip.   

Diana is on the left holding a mug and posing smiling next to co-founder Matt Dudley.
Diana (left) and Matt (right), co-founders of the POUR/No Filter Coffee Festival. Photo by Elli McGuire.

No Filter Coffee Festival

Starting out as POUR Coffee Festival in 2018, the group has yet to see a live crowd since rebranding as No Filter Coffee Festival in 2020. As excitement is ramping up, No Filter has experienced a 100% return of vendors for their September 19 relaunch this year. Being one of the newest events hosted in Charlotte, N.C., the founders made plans to expand in 2020, but had to switch to an online platform when the time came. To account for areas experiencing COVID restrictions, this system will continue in some capacity alongside the live event.

No Filter co-founder Diana Mnatsakanyan-Sapp says, “COVID helped make us more aware of those in our life, especially those with disabilities and the need for more digital connection.” While still growing, No Filter hopes to expand further into the Southeast regions of the U.S., developing business-minded events alongside the more consumer-driven expo. “We want people to be aware of what their area has to offer in coffee selection,” says Diana. This will mark their fourth annual appearance and third live event. 

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival will be a four-day event this year instead of its usual 10 days. Photo courtesy of Kona Coffee Cultural Festival 2019.

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

From the newest events to one of the oldest: In a different part of the States in Kona, Hawaii, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is also planning its return. Valerie Corcoran, president of the festival, is planning the 50th anniversary of their respected event. “As Hawaii’s oldest food festival, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival has a long-standing relationship with residents and visitors, which we are projecting to be as strong this year,” says Valerie.

A landmark for any organization, festivities are usually doubled to celebrate such an occasion, but due to fading COVID regulations, plans have been scaled back for the 2021 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival as well. Normally a 10-day excursion through Hawaii’s culture and connection to coffee, it has been cut to a short four-day event. Valerie says, “We look forward to returning to the full 10 days in 2022.” Even with a fraction of the time and safety regulations intact, the planned activities are still vast, from cupping competitions to half-marathons. 

As the full transition from the pandemic world is still easing, both events named will be primarily outdoors with a digital presence for those unable to attend. Wherever you are in the world, connect with what and where you’re drinking. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a connoisseur, reach out to your local coffee community today for information and updates on all things coffee. 

For a full list of global events, see Barista Magazine’s calendar page here.  

Want your event added to our list, or get support? Please contact events@baristamagazine.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A multigenerational native of Charlotte, N.C., Zechariah Moss quit the restaurant industry after a decade to pursue his love of creative writing. While unable to escape his love for coffee, he moonlights as a freelance ghostwriter/copywriter for friends and businesses. His office is found in multiple coffee shops across the Carolinas.

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