10 Craziest Food Festivals Around the World

Food festivals are a great way to get a flavor for local customs. But as these over-the-top food festivals suggest, some local customs are crazier than others.

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Giant Omelet Celebration

Legend has it that Napoleon enjoyed the omelet he had in Bessieres, France so much that the next morning he ordered every egg in town be broken to prepare a giant omelet for his troops. Bessieres carries on the tradition to this day, with a 15,000-egg omelet, usually at Easter. Several other cities with French heritage host their own omelet festivals each year as well, including Abbeville, Louisiana, which celebrates with a 5,000-egg omelet in October.

La Tomatina

Billed as the world’s biggest tomato fight, Bunol in Spain’s Valencia region has been hosting La Tomatina since the 1940s. If you want to participate, plan your trip to Spain for August.

 

Bugfest

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Annual Bugfest, every September, features the popular Cafe Insecta where festival-goers can sample a variety of culinary treats featuring – you guessed it – insects.

Olney Pancake Race

Legend has it that residents of Olney, England have been running an annual pancake race on Shrove Tuesday since 1445. A 400-yard run by the town’s
women while carrying pancakes in cast iron pans, the race has developed into an international competition, with a second race run in Liberal, Kansas on the same day. Other activities include children’s races and a pancake lunch.

Chinchilla Melon Festival

Melon skiing, melon ironman, melon bungee, pip (seed) spitting and melon tossing are just a few of the events featured in February’s annual Melon Festival in Chinchilla, Australia.

Gilroy Garlic Festival

The centerpiece of Gilroy, California’s late-summer Garlic Festival is Gourmet Alley, featuring an outdoor kitchen with an enormous fire where chefs prepare garlicky dishes including garlic-laced calamari, garlic fries and garlic bread. Away from the flames, you can even find garlic ice cream.

Night of the Radishes

In this annual carving contest each December in Oaxaca, Mexico, local artisans carve elaborate scenes from giant radishes. Because the radishes are perishable, much of the handiwork has a lifespan of just a few hours, so competition to see the best pieces can be intense.

Maine Lobster Festival

Love lobster? How does 20,000 pounds of it sound? That’s how much lobster gets eaten the first weekend of August at Rockland Maine’s annual Lobster Festival. Other popular festival events include the sea goddess coronation, a parade and a foot race across lobster crates bobbing in the water.

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling

In this annual event each May, a nine-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth, England (near Gloucester) and then chased by contestants trying to catch it, no small feat as the wheel can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.

Battle of the Oranges

A three-day food fight dating to the Middle Ages, the annual Battle of the Oranges takes place just before Mardi Gras each year in Ivrea, Italy, just north of Turin. During the battle, townspeople, divided into nine uniformed squads, throw oranges at attacking enemies who arrive –in armor–via cart in the center of town.

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