8 Tastiest Food Festivals Across the U.S.
Whatever you like to eat, somewhere there’s bound to be a festival celebrating it. Throughout the year, you’ll find communities coming together to share their love for food, fun and fabulous entertainment. Here’s our round-up of the tastiest food festivals from across the United States.
Garlic: Gilroy, CA (July)
If you’ve ever wondered what garlic-flavored ice cream might taste like, then you need to get yourself over to Gilroy in time for their annual Garlic Festival. It is certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest of its kind in the world, and they certainly don't do things by halves. From classic garlic dishes like garlic french fries to more questionable experiments (garlic Moscow mules, anyone?) you're sure to go home with a full stomach and horrible breath at the end of the day. Head to California in 2019 when it celebrates its fortieth birthday with gourmet garlicky food, live entertainment, cooking competitions, and fun for all the family.
Lobster: Rockland, ME (August)
No state does lobster quite like Maine. Rockland has been hosting the Maine Lobster Festival since 1947, a five-day extravaganza that delights locals and visitors alike. You’ll find the world’s greatest lobster cooker, witness the coronation of the sea goddess and cheer on the participants of the international crate race. On top of all that, there’s plenty of entertainment, arts and crafts and, of course, cooking contests.
Spam: Waikiki, HI (April)
Did you know there’s such a thing as spam sushi? Hawaii has the highest per capita consumption of Spam (canned meat) in the United States, chowing through a whopping 7 million cans every year. The state’s love affair with the pink stuff stems from World War II, when GIs relied on the salty luncheon meat because it would keep without refrigeration. The Waikiki SPAM JAM is Hawaii’s most popular food festival, featuring new and creative ways to use the canned Spam in surprisingly delicious recipes. If you go, be sure to take a can with you to donate to the Hawaii Food Bank.
Peaches: Byron/Fort Valley, GA (June)
The Peach State has been growing its namesake fruit since the 18th century and its annual festival focuses on the contributions made to the local economy by its many commercial peach growers. The Georgia Peach Festival splits events between Fort Valley and Byron over two weekends to coincide with the harvest and includes the Miss Georgia Peach Pageant, live music, fireworks and the creation of the world's largest peach cobbler.
Key lime: Key West, FL (July)
It takes careful planning to succeed at the Key Lime Pie drop. The aim? To drop that pie from the top of the Key West Lighthouse without damaging the pie. It’s hard, of course, which is why it makes such a great spectacle for those watching from below. If you prefer your citrus in liquid form, sign up for the “Sip and Stroll” where you can compare which of Key West’s many participating bars serves the best cocktail.
Potatoes: Shelley, ID (September)
Idaho Spud Day is a ninety-year-old tradition that celebrates the state’s love affair with the humble potato. Sign up in advance for the 5K Spud Run – potato costumes optional – or cheer on the kids as they make a dash for it at the Tater Trot. There are floats galore at the Spud Day Parade, as well as a Spud Tug, a Miss Russet competition and plenty of free baked potatoes hot out of the oven.
Catfish: Belzoni, MS (April)
Fried catfish features on many a Mississippi menu and Belzoni celebrates this signature dish by hosting the World Catfish Festival each April. It’s been a fixture on the social calendar since 1976 and its popularity shows no signs of waning. Celebrate one of the world’s ugliest-looking marine creatures at the catfish eating contest or cheer on your favorites in the Miss Catfish Pageant.
Grits: St George, SC (April)
Legend has it that the manager of the Piggly Wiggly Supermarket was ordering his store’s grits order when it was remarked that for a small town, St George sure ate a lot of grits. The seed for a grits festival was sown and it’s been taking place annually in this small town near Charleston ever since that first event in 1986. With a “rolling in the grits” competition, it can get messy, but whether this Southern specialty is to your taste or not, you’re bound to have fun.
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