Wednesday, June 10, 2009

12 Spectacular Summer Food Festivals

It seems that for every type of food, there’s a festival—and why not? With the summer season approaching, it’s the perfect time to hit the road and celebrate your favorite foods at one of the hundreds of festivals taking place around the country.Here is a dozen of the most eagerly-awaited celebrations in the coming months. Many of the annual events have already gained national media buzz, while others are simply an opportunity for friends and family to bond over a favorite food. Whether its sweet Maine lobster or taste bud-blazing Buffalo chicken wings you crave, there’s sure to be at least one festival here to whet your appetite.

Sweet Corn Fest

Nothing says summer quite like a stalk of sweet corn on the cob—stamped with fresh grill lines and slathered with creamy butter. Starting on September 2nd in Millersport, Ohio, the Historic Lions Park hosts a celebration dedicated to the season’s most popular veggie. The festival combines an array of down-home cookin’ with events like a tractor tug pull, a corn-eating contest and music performances from popular country artists. For more information, visit

Gourmet Chili Pepper and Salsa Festival

Spice up your summer in Fredericksburg, Texas, at this Longhorn State extravaganza. This spectacular outing, starting on July 24th, is complete with an air balloon show and an array of specialty vendors, such as jam stands, nut nooks and salsa shacks—and that’s just the beginning. Hosted at Wildseed Farms, home to numerous fields of colorful peppers—sweet, hot and ornamental alike—this spicy-hot festival’s Scoville rating is off the charts! For more information, visit

Maine Lobster Festival

Fresh. Hot. Maine. Lobster. Need we say more? At noon on July 29th, the gates to Harbor Park in Rockland officially open for start of the 62nd Annual Maine Lobster Festival. Guests can enjoy a plethora of exhibition tents, booths and vendors—along with plenty of lobster-inspired fun! Favorite events include the Maine Sea Goddess competition, an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, a lobster crate race and an amateur-only lobster cook-off. For more information, visit

Georgia Peach Festival

Peach County, Georgia, officially kicks off its annual week-long peach festival at 7:30 pm on June 12th with a free concert and fireworks display. Don’t miss events like a free serving of the “World’s Largest Peach Cobbler,” the Miss Georgia Peach Pageant and the Painting of the Peaches, during which event artists paint peaches on the pavement leading into the festival! For more information, visit .

Louisiana Watermelon Fest

Beginning July 23rd, pink and green watermelons rule the town of Farmerville, Louisiana, for three wild-and-crazy days. Seed-spitting attendees can participate in the Watermelon Hunt, Watermelon Eating Contest and Miss Louisiana Watermelon Contest—and of course enjoy juicy slices of the quintessential summertime fruit. For more information, visit

National Cherry Festival

This summer, celebrate cherries and community at the national Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan. Starting on 4th of July weekend, festival attendees can join in on events like a cherry pit spitting contest and a pie eating event. Plus, don’t miss Cherry Idol, a spin on the hit reality TV show American Idol, in which competitors are asked to sing an a cappella song of their choice in a one-minute audition. Finalists then compete throughout the eight days of the festival. For more info, visit

Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival

Calling all cheese connoisseurs! Beginning June 5th, the city of Little Chute will host Wisconsin’s 21st annual cheese festival and charity event (all proceeds are donated to the community). For three days, beginning at 5:00PM on Friday evening, food booths, novelty booths, children's rides and games will be scattered throughout Doyle Park. However, what really makes this a festival of fromage are events like cheese carving demonstrations, the big cheese breakfast, the cheesecake contest, free cheese tastings and more! For a full list of events, visit

Pierogi Fest

Celebrate everyone’s favorite potato dumplings at the Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana, beginning July 24th. What started as a way to honor the Eastern European heritage of many in the nearby communities has grown into an event that has been featured on The Food Network and in the pages of Bon Appetit magazine. Fun-filled activities include a pierogi eating contest, a pierogi toss and a polka parade! Last year’s festival even featured the “World’s Largest Pierogi,” which was made with 27 lbs of flour, 18 eggs, 58 potatoes, two gallons of water, “too much” butter and “lots o’ onions.” Total weight? 92 lbs! For more information, visit

Yarmouth Clam Festival

July is no time to clam up; if you’re in Maine anytime from the 17th to the 19th head on over to Yarmouth and enjoy an array of delicious clam dishes—including whole fried clams in crumbs, fried clam strips, clam cakes, crab rolls, steamed clams and more. The featured event is a clam-shucking contest (pictured above)! Plus, look out for the events mascot Steamer the Clam! For more information, visit

Gilroy Garlic Festival

Stop and smell the “stink rose”! Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, California, is home to the famous Gilroy Garlic Festival starting on July 24th. Last year’s festival attracted over 100,000 attendees, and throughout its 30-year history, the festival has raised over $8 million dollars for various charities. Among the anticipated events are the Great Garlic Cook-Off and the Miss Gilroy Garlic Pageant. The gourmet garlic menu includes garlic bread, garlic fries, garlic calamari and much more! For more information, visit

Salmon Festival

Hosted right on the world-famous Copper River is the Copper River Wild Salmon Jam Music Festival in Cordova, Alaska. On July 9thth through the 11th, join in on the celebration of artistic talent and the promotion of the health and sustainability of local salmon runs. The headlining event? Salmon Jam Music festival, with (who else?) musical guests the Sweating Salmon. For more information, visit

National Buffalo Wing Festival

The first of this fiery festival’s three (!) buffalo wing eating contests begins at 6:00PM on the Friday of Labor Day weekend. Sample more than 100 different styles of chicken wings from almost two dozen restaurants. Once you’ve had your fill of wings, stick around to watch the Blue Cheese Bowl, during which competitors aim to pluck as many chicken wings from a kiddie pool filled to the bring with blue cheese dressing! For more info, visit


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