6 food festivals honoring unique tasty treats


Summer is filled with festivals of all kinds. From state fairs to music festivals to Renaissance fairs, these events are always a great way to soak up the summer sun. Everyone knows and loves classic fair trade foods like funnel cakes and cotton candy, but some festivals are making food the centerpiece and taking the offerings to the next level.

Food and drink festivals are nothing new to the circuit, and fairs across the country are popping up serving various cuisines from around the world. But the following six festivals are a little different in that they choose a dish – or an ingredient – and work with it.

The very first Tater Tot festival will take place this weekend in Ontario, Oregon. Ore-Ida, the famous frozen potato company was founded in Ontario almost 70 years ago.
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Tater Tot Festival, Oregon

In the town where little fried treats were invented, patrons will celebrate the very first Tater Tot Festival in Ontario, Oregon this weekend. Food and wine said the festival will include a taste test to determine the winner of the Tater Tot Cooking Competition and the Tater Tot Feeding Competition. One of the event’s sponsors is Ore-Ida, which was founded in Ontario almost 70 years ago.

BugFest, North Carolina

This festival, outside of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, has gone virtual for the past two years due to COVID. Previous editions featured much more than food, which one would expect from an event called “Bugfest”. In 2019, the festival included Café Insecta, a place where guests could try insect treats themselves.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival
The Gilroy Garlic Festival has been celebrated for over 40 years in Gilroy, California. The festival was started by Rudy Melon, who was at the time president of Gavilan College in Gilroy,
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Gilroy Garlic Festival, California

The Gilroy Garlic Festival has been held in Gilroy, California for over 40 years. As the story goes, Rudy Melon, who was then president of Gavilan College, read an article about a small town in France that claimed to be the “garlic capital of the world” and organized an annual festival of garlic. ‘garlic. Melon disagreed as he considered Gilroy’s garlic production and processing to be much more important, according to the festival’s website. And so, Gilroy’s own garlic celebration was born.

West Virginia Roadkill Cook-Off, West Virginia

This one’s not for those with a fragile stomach, but if you have a strong build, read on. Each year, the teams come together to compete for the highest honor. Although some of the meat used was butchered and killed, a team in a 2017 video posted to YouTube by Delish shows a team saying they actually hit the animal they were grilling. According to Atlas Obscura, the ingredients don’t have to actually be road killed, but they have to be animals that are common in traffic accidents. Although the event has been canceled this year, it is expected to return in September 2022.

Cheese curds festival
Ellsworth is considered the cheese curd capital of Wisconsin. Here, a worker picks up a bucket of Colby cheese curds on June 27, 2016 in Theresa, Wisconsin.
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Ellsworth’s Cheese Curd Festival, Wisconsin

For those who have never had cheese curds, consider a small stick of mozzarella, of sorts. According to Allrecipes.com, legitimate Wisconsin cheese curds must be sold within one day of production without being refrigerated. The result is essentially a young cheese which is often fried. The Ellsworth’s Cheese Curd Festival takes place in what is known as the cheese curd capital of Wisconsin. The 2022 event is expected to have 6,000 pounds of cheese curds.

Waikiki Spam Jam, Hawaii

Spam is an infamous ingredient in many kitchens. But at this festival in Waikiki, Hawaii, that’s the main event. Spam is a staple in Hawaii, and this festival showcases unique ways to prepare canned meat. The 2019 event dining lineup shows all menu items from various vendors, including Spam tacos to Spam mochi waffles.


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