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Food Festivals

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America

Food Festivals

American Royal Barbecue, Kansas City, MO. First weekend in October. Invitational and open barbecue competition for pork, ribs, chicken, and brisket; other competitions include side dishes, sausage, dessert, and the International Sauce, Baste, and Rub Contest for professionals.

Contact: American Royal Association, 1701 American Royal Court, Kansas City, MO 64102



Apple Butter Festival, Berkeley Springs, WV. Columbus Day weekend. A celebration of old-fashioned mountain cooking with cider making, fresh apple butter, an apple-baking contest, apple butter contest, and country ham and chicken.

Contact: Berkeley Springs–Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, 304 Fairfax Street, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411



Asian Moon Festival, Milwaukee, WI. Father's Day weekend. The diverse traditions of more than a dozen Asian cultures are celebrated with music, dance, sports, handicrafts, and foods presented by Asian restaurants.

Contact: Wisconsin Organization for Asian Americans, P.O. Box 11754, Shorewood, WI 53211


Bagelfest, Mattoon, IL. Last full weekend in July. Promotes the local bagel industry with a bagel breakfast, games, a parade, and bagel-related food.

Contact: Mattoon Chamber of Commerce, 1701 Wabash Avenue, Mattoon, IL 61938



Beef Empire Days, Garden City, KS. First two weeks in June. Promotes Kansas's beef industry with rodeos, sports events, cowboy poetry, and a variety of food events featuring beef.

Contact: Beef Empire Days, P.O. Box 1197, Garden City, KS



Bratwurst Days, Sheboygan, WI. First weekend in August. The Bratwurst Capital of the World promotes its local sausage industry with entertainment, a bratwurst-eating contest, and an eclectic variety of bratwurst dishes.

Contact: Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce, 712 Riverfront Drive, Sheboygan, WI 53081



Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Breaux Bridge, LA. First full weekend in May. The Crawfish Capital of the World celebrates Cajun cooking and heritage with music, traditional crafts, a crawfish-eating contest, and crawfish étouffée cook-off.

Contact: Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, P.O. Box 25, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517



Burgerfest, Hamburg, NY. Third Saturday in July. Honors the all-American hamburger, reportedly introduced at the Hamburg Fair in 1885, with a burger contest and a variety of entertainment.

Contact: Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, 8 South Buffalo Street, Hamburg, NY 14075



California Strawberry Festival, Oxnard, CA. Third weekend in May. Promotes California's strawberry industry with entertainment, arts and crafts, strawberry-shortcake-eating contest, strawberry foods, and a recipe contest.

Contact: California Strawberry Festival, 1661 Pacific Avenue, # 15, Oxnard, CA 93033



Castroville Artichoke Festival, Castroville, CA. A weekend in September. The Artichoke Capital of the World promotes the local artichoke crop with exhibits, music, arts and crafts, a parade, cooking demonstrations, and artichoke cuisine.

Contact: Castroville Festivals Inc., P.O. Box 1041, Castroville, CA 95012



Central Maine Egg Festival, Pittsfield, ME. Fourth Saturday in July. Promotes Maine's major export with a traditional ham and egg breakfast, a cheesecake contest, cheesecake dessert luncheon, and a chicken barbecue.

Contact: Central Maine Egg Festival, P.O. Box 82, Pittsfield, ME 04967



Chocolate Fest, Burlington, WI. Weekend following Mother's Day. Promotes Burlington's chocolate industry with exhibits, a chocolate-tasting tent, music, parade, carnival, exhibits, and a chocolate cook-off.

Contact: Chocolate Fest, P.O. Box 411, Burlington, WI 53105



Deutsch Country Days, Marthasville, MO. Third Weekend in October. Historic Luxenhaus Farm preserves and celebrates nineteenth-century German American heritage with exhibits, crafts demonstrations, and food preparation.

Contact: Deutsch Country Days, 5437 Highway O, Marthasville, MO 63357



Eastport Salmon Festival, Eastport, ME. First Sunday after Labor Day. Promotes Maine's salmon-farming industry with music, educational displays, farmers market, crafts, and barbecued salmon dinners.

Contact: Eastport Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 254, Eastport, ME 04631



Feast of San Gennaro, New York, NY. Eleven days including September 19. Vendors and restaurants in Little Italy celebrate this religious holiday and fair with multicultural foods, a cannoli-eating contest, music, and processions featuring the statue of San Gennaro, Patron Saint of Naples.

Contact: Figli di San Gennaro Inc., Most Precious Blood Church, 109 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10002



Feast of the Hunter's Moon, West Lafayette, IN. A weekend in October. Re-creation of an eighteenth-century French and Native American trade gathering along the Wabash River featuring eight thousand costumed participants, traditional craft demonstrations, and over sixty French and Native American foods prepared on open fires.

Contact: Tippecanoe County Historical Association, 909 South Street, Lafayette, IN 47901



Festival of American Folklife, Washington, DC. Last week of June and first week of July. Smithsonian Institution annually focuses on folkways, music, dancing, and arts and crafts of specific American cultural groups, regions, or states with emphasis on ethnic makeup and foodways, including cooking demonstrations and samples.

Contact: Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Studies, 750 Ninth Street NW, Suite 4100, Washington, DC 20560



Fiesta Day, Tampa, FL. Second Saturday in February. Historic Ybor City celebrates Cuban and Latin heritage with music, a parade, arts and crafts, and food specialties, including the world's largest Cuban sandwich.

Contact: Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, 1600 Eighth Avenue East, Tampa, FL



Fillmore Orange Festival, Fillmore, CA. First weekend in May. Honors citrus farming and orange production with a carnival, parade, train rides through the orange groves, and orange-flavored foods.

Contact: Fillmore Chamber of Commerce, 354 Central Avenue, Fillmore, CA 93015



Finger Lakes Wine Festival, Watkins Glen, NY. A weekend in July. Tasting of five hundred wines from sixty Finger Lakes wineries.

Contact: Watkins Glen International, 2790 County Route 16, Watkins Glen, NY 14891



Georgia Peanut Festival, Sylvester, GA. Third weekend in October. The Peanut Capital of the World promotes peanut farming and peanut butter manufacturing with parades, arts and crafts, street dances, and peanut-related foods.

Contact: Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 768, Sylvester, GA 31791



Gilroy Garlic Festival, Gilroy, CA. Last full weekend of July. Growers promote garlic with children's entertainment, dancing, garlic products and food, and a cook-off.

Contact: Gilroy Garlic Festival, P.O. Box 2311, Gilroy, CA 95021



Goleta Lemon Festival, Goleta, CA. Third weekend in October. Promotes local lemon and citrus crops with a farmers' market, musical entertainment, arts and crafts, a lemon pie–eating contest, a pie-baking contest, and lemon-flavored food and drink.

Contact: Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 781, Goleta, CA 93116



Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO. Last weekend in September. A public tasting of twelve hundred beers from three hundred American breweries.

Contact: Association of Brewers, P.O. Box 1679, Boulder, CO 80306



Great Taste of the Midwest, Madison, WI. Second Saturday in August. A public tasting of four hundred beers from one hundred breweries and brewpubs.

Contact: Madison Home Brewers and Tasters Guild, P.O. Box 1365, Madison, WI 53701


Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival, Little Chute, WI. First full weekend in June. Promotes Wisconsin's cheese industry with a parade, sporting events, contests, cheese-carving demonstrations, a cheese omelet breakfast, and cheesecake contest.

Contact: Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival, 200 West McKinley Avenue, Little Chute, WI 54140



Gumbo Festival, Bridge City, LA. Second weekend in October. The Gumbo Capital of the World celebrates Louisiana's famous Cajun gumbo with a champion gumbo-cooking contest and regional specialty foods.

Contact: Gumbo Festival, P.O. Box 9069, Bridge City, LA 70094



Hatch Chile Festival, Hatch, NM. Labor Day weekend. The Chile Capital of the World promotes chiles and celebrates New Mexico culture with music, crafts, dancing, a chile cook-off, jalapeno-eating contest, and southwestern cuisine.

Contact: Hatch Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 38, 112 West Hall Street, Hatch, NM 87937



Hellenic Festival, Buffalo, NY. Second-to-last Friday and Saturday in May. Greek life and heritage is celebrated with music, dancing, shopping in a Greek market, and traditional foods.

Contact: Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 146 West Utica Street, Buffalo, NY 14222



Holland Dutch Winterfest, Holland, MI. Day after Thanksgiving through third Sunday in December. Dutch Christmas traditions are celebrated with historic home tours and holiday teas, shopping in an open-air market, theater productions, and special Christmas foods.

Contact: Holland Convention and Visitors Bureau, 100 East Eighth Street, Suite 120, Holland, MI 48423



Hood River's Pear and Wine Festival, Hood River, OR. A Saturday in October. Tasting of Oregon wines, pear sherry, and pear hard cider, plus cooking demonstrations.

Contact: 888-771-7327


Hot Dog Festival, Frankfort, IN. Last weekend in July. Celebrates the all-American hot dog with a flea market, farmers' market, parade, sports tournaments, music, and arts and crafts.

Contact: Frankfort Main Street, 301 East Clinton Street, Frankfort, IN 46041



Hungarian Festival, New Brunswick, NJ. First Saturday in June. Celebrates Hungarian culture with music, dancing, crafts, and traditional foods.

Contact: Hungarian Civic Association; P.O. Box 1144, New Brunswick, NJ 08903



Idaho Spud Day, Shelly, ID. Third Saturday in September. Promotes Idaho's potato industry with musical entertainment, sports events, baked potatoes, and a Dutch Oven Cook-Off.

Contact: Shelley Chamber of Commerce, Box 301, Shelley, ID 83274


Indio International Tamale Festival, Indio, CA. First weekend in December. Celebrates Hispanic culture and cuisine with sporting events, a parade, sports competitions, music, dancing, and a tamale-tasting contest.

Contact: City of Indio, 100 Civic Center Mall, Indio, CA 92201



International Chili Society World's Championship Chili Cookoff, Reno, NV. First weekend in October. Winners of ICS sanctioned cook-offs compete in four contests: Last Chance Red Chili, World's Championship Salsa, World's Championship Chili Verde, and World's Championship Traditional Red Chili.

Contact: International Chili Society, P.O. Box 1027, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693



International Dutch Oven Championship Cookoff, Sandy, UT. Annually in March. Ten qualifying teams compete for the world championship by cooking a main dish, bread, and dessert.

Contact: International Dutch Oven Society, 4558 Midland Drive, Roy, UT 84067


International Horseradish Festival, Collinsville, IL. First weekend in June. The Horseradish Capital of the World promotes horseradish with sports events, a horseradish-eating contest, and a horseradish recipe contest.

Contact: International Horseradish Festival, P.O. Box 766, Collinsville, IL 62234


International Pancake Day Race, Liberal, KS. Shrove Tuesday. Traditional competition with Olney, England, in which married women race while flipping pancakes in skillets; includes pancake breakfast, parade, and eating contest.

Contact: International Pancake Day Inc., P.O. Box 665, Liberal, KS 67905



International Ramp Cook-Off and Festival, Elkins, WV. Last weekend in April. Spring ramp harvest is celebrated with a traditional ramp dinner, a ramp cook-off, and public tasting.

Contact: Randolph County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 200 Executive Plaza, Elkins, WV 26241



Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbeque, Lynchburg, TN. Fourth weekend in October. An invitational event involving fifty competition teams that have won a major contest the previous year.

Contact: Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 421, Lynchburg, TN 37352



Jambalaya Festival, Gonzales, LA. Memorial Day weekend. The Jambalaya Capital of the World holds its championship jambalaya cooking contest accompanied by music, dancing, and regional Louisiana foods.

Contact: Jambalaya Festival Association, P.O. Box 1243, Gonzales, LA 70707




J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake, Crisfield, MD. Third Wednesday in July. The Soft-shell Crab Capital of the World celebrates the harvest with an all-you-can-eat feast.

Contact: Crisfield Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 292, Crisfield, MD 21817



Kentucky Bourbon Festival, Bardstown, KY. A weekend in September. Promotes American bourbon including a food court, seminars, and cooking demonstrations.

Contact: Bardstown Tourist and Convention Commission, P.O. Box 867B, Bardstown, KY 40004



Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Kailua-Kona, HI. First week in November. Promotes Hawaii's cultural heritage and coffee industry with tours, exhibits, parades, a farmers' market, cooking demonstrations, and coffee recipe contests.

Contact: Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, P.O. Box 1112, Kailua-Kona, HI 96745



Kutztown Pennsylvania German Festival, Kutztown, PA. Fourth of July week. Celebrates Pennsylvania Dutch life with traditional crafts demonstrations, pageants, a quilt sale, farmers market, and foods.

Contact: Kutztown Pennsylvania German Festival, P.O. Box 306, Kutztown, PA 19530



Ligonier Marshmallow Festival, Ligonier, IN. Labor Day weekend. The Marshmallow Capital of the World promotes local marshmallow production with parades, arts and crafts, sports events, marshmallow cuisine, and marshmallow cooking contest.

Contact: Ligonier Visitors Center and Radio Museum, 800 Lincolnway South, Ligonier, IN 46767



Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival and Fair. Last weekend in September. Promotes the state's sugar industry with concerts, art shows, the blessing of the crop, a street fair, boat parade, and sugar cookery contest.

Contact: Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival and Fair Association, P.O. Box 9768, New Iberia, LA 70562



Louisiana Yambilee, Opelousas, LA. Last weekend in October. Promotes Louisiana yam industry with arts and crafts, a parade, sweet potato auction, and yam cooking contest.

Contact: Louisiana Yambilee, P.O. Box 44, Opelousas, LA 70570



Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland, ME. First weekend in August. Promotes Maine's lobster industry with boat rides, marine exhibits, Maine crafts and products, a carnival, and lobster culinary competition.

Contact: Maine Lobster Festival, P.O. Box 552, Rockland, ME 04841



Marion Popcorn Festival, Marion, OH. Weekend after Labor Day. Largest popcorn festival in the world celebrates Ohio popcorn manufacturing with a parade, sports events, musical entertainment, midway, beer gardens, and popcorn treats.

Contact: Marion Popcorn Festival, P.O. Box 1101, Marion, OH 43301



Monterey Wine Festival, Monterey, CA. A weekend in April. America's oldest wine festival; wine tasting, seminars, cooking demonstrations.

Contact: 800-765-2122


Morton Pumpkin Festival, Morton, IL. Second week in September. Promotes the Pumpkin Capital of the World with a carnival, parade, entertainment, sports events, arts and crafts, the Punkin' Chuckin' Contest, a pumpkin cooking contest, and pumpkin foods.

Contact: Morton Chamber of Commerce, 415 West Jefferson Street, Morton, IL



Morro Bay Harbor Festival, Morro Bay, CA. First weekend in October. Promotes California's seafood industry with maritime heritage exhibits, an oyster-eating contest, entertainment, seafood cuisine, and albacore barbecue.

Contact: Morro Bay Harbor Festival, P.O. Box 1869, Morro Bay, CA 93443



Mushroom Festival, Kennett Square, PA. Second weekend in September. Honors the birthplace of the American mushroom industry with exhibits, mushroom sampling, a parade, mushroom auction, arts and crafts, mushroom farm tours, mushroom cooking demonstrations, and cook-off.

Contact: Mushroom Festival, P.O. Box 1000, Kennett Square, PA 19348



Napa Valley Mustard Festival, Napa Valley, CA. February to April. Promotes the agriculture, food, and wines of the region with entertainment, an array of casual and black-tie events, and cooking demonstrations by renowned chefs.

Contact: Napa Valley Mustard Festival, P.O. Box 1385, Sonoma, CA 95476



National Apple Harvest Festival, Arendtsville, PA. First two weekends in October. The Apple Capital of the U.S.A. promotes apple production with apple products, heritage demonstrations, apple pancake breakfast, apple pie–eating contest, and baking contest.

Contact: Upper Adams Jaycees, P.O. Box 38, Biglerville, PA 17307



National Asparagus Festival, Hart and Shelby, MI. Second weekend in June. Celebrates the asparagus harvest with a parade, food show, sports events, asparagus lunch and bake sale, fish boil dinner, and asparagus and roast beef smorgasbord.

Contact: National Asparagus Festival, P.O. Box 117, Shelby, MI 49455



National Basque Festival, Elko, NV. First weekend in July. Celebrates Basque heritage with dancing, contests, a sheepherder's bread-baking championship, and the festival meal on Sunday.

Contact: Elko Basque Club, P.O. Box 1321, Elko, NV 89803



National Buffalo Wing Festival, Buffalo, NY. Labor Day weekend. Celebrates chicken wings, created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, with a wing-eating contest, a wing sauce contest, and entertainment.

Contact: RMI Promotions Group, 9060 Main Street, Clarence, NY 14031



National Cherry Festival, Traverse City, MI. Eight days beginning the first Saturday after July 4. The Cherry Capital of the World promotes cherries with parades, sporting events, arts and crafts, a midway, air shows, concerts, cherry orchard tours, cherry products, and a cherry pie–eating contest.

Contact: National Cherry Festival, 108 West Grandview Parkway, Traverse City, MI 49684



National Cornbread Festival, South Pittsburg, TN. Last weekend in April or first weekend in May. Celebrates southern cornbread with music, a car show, arts and crafts, a working gristmill, southern barbecue, and a cornbread-baking contest.

Contact: National Cornbread Festival, P.O. Box 247, South Pittsburg, TN 37380



National Date Festival, Indio, CA. Third weekend in June. Promotes local date production with entertainment based on an Arabian theme, exhibits, cooking demonstrations, and recipe contest.

Contact: Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, Fairgrounds Administration Office, 46-350 Arabia Street, Indio, CA 92201



National Shrimp Festival, Gulf Shores, AL. Second full weekend in October. Promotes local shrimp industry with music, a boat show, sailboat regatta, arts and crafts, and shrimp culinary specialties.

Contact: Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Drawer 3869, Gulf Shores, AL 36547



Nebraska Czech Festival, Wilber, NE. First weekend in August. The Czech Capital of the United States honors its heritage with a kolache-eating contest and traditional Czech dinners.

Contact: Wilber Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 1164, Wilber, NE 68465



Ninth Avenue International Food Festival, New York, NY. Third weekend in May. Celebrates the cuisine and culture of multiple ethnic groups in the Ninth Avenue neighborhood with food sold by local businesses and street vendors plus music and entertainment.

Contact: Arthur Metz Public Relations, 122 West Twenty-sixth Street, NY, NY 10001



North Beach Festival, San Francisco, CA. Third weekend in June. California's Little Italy honors Italian heritage with a street fair, including a book sale, arts and crafts, music, dancing, blessing of neighborhood pets, and food from local restaurants and vendors.

Contact: North Beach Chamber of Commerce, 556 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133



North Carolina Seafood Festival, Morehead City, NC. First weekend in October. Promotes the state's seafood industry with the blessing of the fleet, exhibits, demonstrations, entertainment, ship tours, arts and crafts, sporting events, dances, and seafood sampling.

Contact: North Carolina Seafood Festival, P.O. Box 1812, Morehead City, NC 28557



North Carolina Turkey Festival, Raeford, NC. Third weekend in September. Promotes North Carolina's turkey industry with musical entertainment, children's activities, car show, arts and crafts show, sports events, dog show, Stompin' Turkey Dinner and Dance, Turkey Hoagie Brunch, and turkey cooking contest.

Contact: North Carolina Turkey Festival, 101 North Main Street, Raeford, NC 28376



Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, Cincinnati, OH. Third weekend in September. The world's second-largest, authentic Oktoberfest, modeled on that in Munich, celebrates German heritage with German food, beer, games, a parade, and music.

Contact: Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, 441 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202



Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland, OR. Last weekend in July. A public tasting of handcrafted beers from seventy top American craft breweries.

Contact: Oregon Brewers Festival, 5019 SW Lowell, Portland, OR 97221



Original Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert–Wick Fowler Memorial Championship Chili Cookoff, Behind the Store, Terlingua, TX. First weekend in November. Competitions include the Terlingua International Chili Cookoff Championship, World's Championship Margarita Mixoff, and Brisket BBQ, Bean, and Black-eyed Pea Cookoffs.

Contact: The Cook Off, 1400 Mockingbird Drive, Grapevine, TX 76051



Parke County Maple Syrup Festival, Rockville, IN. Last weekend in February and first weekend in March. Promotes maple syrup production with tours of sugar camps and covered bridges, pancake feeds, and maple products.

Contact: Parke County Maple Syrup Festival, P.O. Box 165, Rockville, IN 47872



Peach Days, Brigham City, UT. Weekend after Labor Day. Promotes the local peach crop with sports tournaments, an antique car show, a carnival, parade, and Dutch Oven Cook-Off that includes an event requiring peaches.

Contact: Brigham City Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 458. Brigham City, UT 84302



Peanut Butter Festival, Brundidge, AL. A Saturday in October. Promotes area peanut production with a street dance, arts and crafts, a parade, contests, the South's largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and peanut butter cuisine.

Contact: Brundidge Historical Society, 128 South Main Street, Brundidge, AL 36010



Persimmon Festival, Mitchell, IN. Last weekend in September. Celebrates the American persimmon and Hoosier cooking with sports events, a parade, carnival, dinners, and a persimmon pudding contest.

Contact: Greater Mitchell Chamber of Commerce, 602 West Main Street, Mitchell, IN 47446



Phelps Sauerkraut Festival, Phelps, NY. First weekend in August. Promotes the local cabbage industry with arts and crafts, bands, a parade, and sauerkraut cuisine.

Contact: Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce, 113 South Main Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424



Pie Town Festival, Pie Town, NM. Second Saturday in September. Pie-eating and pie-baking contests, pie sale, breakfast, pit barbecue, fiddling contest, and hot air balloons.

Contact: Pie Town Community Council, Pie Town, NM 87827



Polish Fest, Milwaukee, WI. Third weekend in June. The largest Polish festival in the country features folk dancing, polka bands, a cultural village with crafts, and traditional foods.

Contact: Polish Fest, 6941 South Sixty-eighth Street, Franklin, WI 53132



Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival, Reynoldsburg, OH. Weekend after Labor Day. Celebrates Reynoldsburg as the birthplace of the tomato, developed commercially by resident Alexander W. Livingston, with a parade, car show, rides, exhibits, and tomato cookery.

Contact: Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival, P.O. Box 599, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068



Rhode Island May Breakfasts, RI. Throughout the month of May. Traditional May fund-raising breakfasts featuring johnnycakes at various venues throughout Rhode Island.

Contact: Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation Tourism Division, 1 West Exchange Street, Providence, RI 02903



St. Mary's County Oyster Festival, Leonardtown, MD. Third weekend in October. Celebrates the opening of the Chesapeake's fall oyster season with oysters, entertainment, a carnival, arts and crafts, exhibits, the National Oyster Shucking Championship, and the National Oyster Cook-Off.

Contact: St. Mary's County Oyster Festival, P.O. Box 653, Lewistown, MD



Selma Raisin Festival, Selma, CA. First weekend in May. The Raisin Capital of the World promotes local production with a carnival, photography exhibits, craft vendors, entertainment, and a raisin-baking contest.

Contact: Selma District Chamber of Commerce, 1710 Tucker Street, Selma, CA 93662


Staunton's Annual African-American Heritage Festival, Staunton, VA. Third weekend in September. African American heritage is honored with music, dance, arts and crafts, exhibits, children's activities, and traditional foods.

Contact: Staunton Convention and Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 58, Staunton, VA 24402



Summer Loaf: A Celebration of Bread, Portland, OR. First Saturday in August. The Bread Capital of America honors Oregon's wheat industry with artisan breads, milling and baking demonstrations and classes, a bread-baking contest, and a farmers' market with local foods and produce.

Contact: Portland Farmers Market, P.O. Box 215, Portland, OR 97207



Swedish Festival, Stromsburg, NE. Third weekend in June. The Swede Capital of Nebraska celebrates its heritage with sporting events, parades, dancing, a band concert, smorgasbord, and Swedish pancake breakfast.

Contact: Swedish Festival, P.O. Box 715, Stromsburg, NE 68666



Terlingua International Chili Championship, Chili Appreciation Society International, Rancho CASI de los Chisos, Terlingua, TX. First weekend in November. Winners of CASI sanctioned cook-offs compete in the TICC International Chili Championship Cookoff; other competitions include wings, beans, and salsa.

Contact: Chili Appreciation Society International, 493 Stonegate Drive, Johnson City, TX 78636


Texas Folklife Festival, San Antonio, TX. Second weekend in June. Celebrates the heritage of over forty Texas ethnic groups with pioneer crafts demonstrations, entertainment, and Texas ethnic and regional foods.

Contact: The University of Texas Institute of Texas Cultures, 801 South Bowie, San Antonio, TX 78205



Texas Rice Festival, Winnie, TX. Last weekend in September. Promotes Texas rice with livestock shows, farm equipment displays, competitions, music and dancing, exhibits, a parade, BBQ and fajita cook-offs, and rice cooking contest.

Contact: Texas Rice Festival, P.O. Box 147, Winnie, TX 77665



Trigg County Ham Festival, Cadiz, KY. A weekend in October. Promotes Kentucky country hams with a ham judging and giveaway, a horse and mule pull, parade, the world's largest ham and biscuit sandwich, canning contest, and baking exhibit.

Contact: Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist Commission, P.O. Box 735, Cadiz, KY 42211



United Tribes International Powwow, Bismarck, ND. Weekend after Labor Day. A celebration of Native American culture with drumming, singing, and dancing competitions, traditional foods, and Sunday dinner, Native American–style.

Contact: United Tribes Technical College, 3315 University Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58504



Vidalia Onion Festival, Vidalia, GA. Last weekend in April. Promotes Georgia's sweet Vidalia onion industry with entertainment, an onion-eating contest, cooking demonstrations, and cooking contest.

Contact: Vidalia Onion Festival, P.O. Box 2285, Vidalia, GA 30475



Virginia Wineries Festival, The Plains, VA. A weekend in June. Virginia's oldest and largest wine festival features 45 wineries pouring 350 selections, seminars, and cooking demonstrations.

Contact: The Virginia Wineries Association, P.O. Box 31342, Alexandria, VA 22301



Warrens Cranberry Festival, Warrens, WI. Third weekend in September. The Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin promotes its crop with antique vendors, a flea market, farmers market, cranberry marsh tours, cranberry pie sales, cranberry foods, and cranberry recipe contest.

Contact: Warrens Cranberry Festival, P.O. Box 146, Warrens, WI 54666



West Virginia Black Walnut Festival, Spencer, WV. Second weekend in October. Promotes Spencer's black walnut crop with a parade, carnival, flea market, sports events, Civil War encampment, and the Black Walnut Bake-Off.

Contact: West Virginia Black Walnut Festival, P.O. Box 1, Spencer, WV 25276



The Whole Enchilada Festival, Las Cruces, NM. First weekend in October. Honors New Mexico's culinary heritage with enchiladas and other southwestern foods, a parade, games, street dances, historical exhibits, and the world's largest enchilada.

Contact: Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau, 211 North Water, Las Cruces, NM 88001



Wild Blueberry Festival, Machias, ME. Third weekend in August. Promotes Maine wild blueberries with sports events, quilts, a pie-eating contest, blueberry pancake breakfast, and blueberry dessert bar.

Contact: Machias Wild Blueberry Festival, Centre Street Congregational Church, P.O. Box 265, Machias, ME 04654



World Catfish Festival, Belzoni, MS. First or second Saturday in April. Promotes Humphreys County as the Catfish Capital of the World with music, arts and crafts, the South's Largest Catfish Fry, a catfish-eating contest, and celebrity chef's cook-off.

Contact: World Catfish Festival, P.O. Box 385, Belzoni, MS 39038



World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Memphis, TN. Third weekend in May. Part of Memphis in May, this contest is billed as the “Superbowl of Swine” because the emphasis is on pork barbecue.

Contact: Memphis in May, 245 Wagner Place, Memphis, TN 38103



World Chicken Festival, London, KY. Last weekend in September. Honors Colonel Sanders and Kentucky-style fried chicken with parades, magic shows, rides, musical entertainment, a chicken wing–eating contest, and fried chicken dinners.

Contact: London-Laurel County Tourist Commission, 140 West Daniel Boone Parkway, London, KY 40741



World Grits Festival, St. George, SC. A weekend in April. Celebrates grits as southern heritage food with dancing, music, a parade and carnival, and contests, including a grits cooking competition.

Contact: World Grits Festival, P.O. Box 756, St. George, SC 29477


Carlson, Barbara. Food Festivals: Eating Your Way from Coast to Coast. Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI, 1997.Find this resource:

Mercuri, Becky. Food Festival U.S.A.: 250 Red, White and Blue Ribbon Recipes from All 50 States. Laurel Glen Publishing, San Diego, CA, 2002.Find this resource:

Becky Mercuri