Fall in Columbia means — well, let’s be frank: For most people, it means college football. The city is awash in garnet and black, and Williams-Brice Stadium and the surrounding areas fill with some 120,000 fans for each home game. And college football, fortunately, means tailgating food. Many local restaurants offer tailgating packages — for starters, check out Compton’s Kitchen, Doc’s Barbeque, Fancy That Bistro and Catering, Seawells and Thirsty Fellow.
Fall also brings a slew of events, many of them centered around eating and drinking. A great recent addition to the fall lineup is Incarnation Lutheran Church’s Oktoberfest, which runs Oct. 11-13 on the church’s 3005 Devine St. grounds. It offers lots of beers on tap, including German classics like goses and hefeweizens from breweries near and distant; and there’s no finer place to tuck in to a jaeger schnitzel and some rotkraut. Also, there’s usually someone dressed like Martin Luther wielding a big hammer.
The popular Five Points Chili Cookoff, now in its 27th year, is Nov. 9 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; scores of teams compete to cook the best batch of chili, and you get to gorge yourself on the results. (And drink beer on the street, which might as well be Columbia’s official pastime.) Also on Nov. 9 is the Korean Festival, where you can stock up on homemade kimchi.
If you’re into local food and farmers dining, Motor Supply Co. bistro hosts a twice-yearly weeklong celebration
known as Harvest Week. During the week of Oct. 15-20, stop by the Vista restaurant to meet the people who grow
and raise the foods served there, and try out some wonderful drink specials and foods.