Unusual and some would say 'Wacky' Food Festivals
If you are feeling hungry (and adventurous) these festivals are not for the fainthearted.
People love food and celebrate it in all forms at festivals all over the world. However, if you’re planning to attend one of our top 10 outlandish food festivals you won’t encounter your average, run-of-the-mill foods. Unless, of course, your diet frequently consists of roadkill, frog legs, animal testicles, insects and other delicacies.If you are feeling hungry (and adventurous) venture to one of these festivals to celebrate locally prepared dishes made with ingredients not for the fainthearted.
Roadkill Cook-Off, Marlinton, West Virginia, USAHave you ever seen a dead animal lying on the side of the road and thought, “Wow, I’m hungry?” If you answered yes to this question, then the annual Roadkill Cook-Off in Marlinton might be the perfect food festival for you. Held on the last Saturday in September, this festival features dishes made from creatures who often find themselves flattened on the side of the road. Actual roadkill isn’t used in the dishes, but visitors will be sure to get an authentic roadkill experience with sample dishes such as tacos filled with armadillo, porcupine stew and marinated bear.
La Tomatina, Bruñol, SpainFeel like taking some aggression out on strangers by throwing crushed tomatoes at them for an hour? Then head to Spain on the fourth Wednesday in August for the largest tomato food fight you will ever encounter.La Tomatina began around the end of World War II due to a rumoured local fight (the exact origins are unknown) and now draws around 45,000 people every year to toss nearly 113,400kg of tomatoes at one another.Participants are urged to wear goggles and gloves during the fight and, of course, clothing you don’t mind getting permanent tomato stains on.
BugFest, Raleigh, North Carolina, USAOnly for those with an ironclad stomach (or fans of “Fear Factor”), the annual BugFestsponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, incorporates insects and creepy crawlers in all of its featured dishes.This September festival encourages participants to try bug-inspired foods prepared by local chefs, and fine-tune their entomophagy skills – the practice of eating bugs. Past featured dishes have included superworm enchiladas and cinnamon-sugar crickets. Bugfest
Testicle Festival, Clinton, Montana, USAIf the name of this annual festival hasn’t made you squirm yet, then keep reading. ThisMontana event, held in August and known formally as the Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival, is named for one of the main dishes served – bull testicles. Undecided on your testicle of choice? Enjoy a sampler plate of the featured fare. Reports from last year’s festival found that participants consumed an average of 50kg of bull and bison testicles served deep fried, beer-battered or marinated. After attending this one-of-a-kind event you’re sure to be chanting its motto: “I had a ball at the Testicle Festival.”
Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea, ItalyThis food festival is only for the brave considering its participants often come out bruised, injured, or even hospitalised. The Battle of the Oranges, which lasts for three days and concludes on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent), involves teams of helmet-clad diehards hurling oranges at one another in a tradition that dates back to the 12th century. Festival organisers ship in approximately 400 tons of oranges annually for the event, and the aftermath requires a clean-up crew of around 100 members.
Cheese Curd Festival, Ellsworth, Wisconsin, USATo help promote the local dairy tradition in the town of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, locals began hosting the Cheese Curd Festival (taking place June 28-30), complete with eating contest and cheese carving competition.Now, a cheese festival in a state known for its cheese production may not seem uncommon. But given the main dishes at this festival derive from cheese curds – the solid part of soured milk – it deserves this ranking in our top food festivals for those with a stomach of steel.
Waikiki Spam Jam, Waikiki, Hawaii, USA
A food staple in Hawaii, Spam® is that canned meat favourite that some (but not us!) refer to as “mystery meat.” This annual festival honouring the staple (held in April this year) is one of the most popular Hawaiian festivals combining the love of Spam with a family atmosphere and live music. Don’t fear if this one-of-a-kind meat isn’t your favourite; the festival features some of Honolulu’s best restaurants serving up the meat in a variety of ways for all to enjoy.
Chinchilla Melon Festival, Chinchilla, AustraliaWhat does the so-called “Melon Capital of Australia” do with its excess Watermelon crop? Host a melon-filled festival, of course! Held once every two years in February in Chinchilla, this melon festival features activities like seed spitting, skiing with watermelon on your feet, melon tossing and more. Past festivals have made the Guinness Book of World Records for most watermelons broken on someone’s head in one minute: 47.
Gilroy Garlic Festival, Gilroy, California, USACalling all garlic lovers! The annual Gilroy Garlic Festival celebrates all things garlic in the nicknamed “garlic capital of the world,” Gilroy, California. The July festival, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, attracts around 100,000 visitors all uniting for the love of garlic. Delicacies include garlic goodies such as lollipops, soft drinks and ice cream.
Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, Fellsmere, Florida, USAWho wouldn’t love of mouthful of frog leg or gator tail? Well, you’re sure to get plenty of both at this Florida festival held in January. The festival features plenty of other tasty treats as well but many visitors come to get the authentic culinary experience. Festival profits go toward supporting youth recreational needs, so rest assured you are snacking on frog legs for a good cause.