9 Tips for Food Festivals

Spend less time in line and more time trying new foods with these tips.

 

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Giant Omelet Celebration

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. 960 1280

REMY GABALDA  

La Tomatina

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.  

 

960 1280

David Ramos  

Bugfest

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. 960 1280

FREDERIC J. BROWN  

Olney Pancake Race

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.
960 1280

Carl Court  

Chinchilla Melon Festival

Chinchilla Melon Festival

Melon skiing, melon ironman, melon bungee, pip spitting and melon tossing are just a few of the events featured in February’s annual Melon Festival in Chinchilla, Australia. 960 1280

Newspix  

Gilroy Garlic Festival

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.   960 1280

Mardis Coers#102006  

Night of the Radishes

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.  

960 1280

PATRICIA CASTELLANOS  

Maine Lobster Festival

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. 960 1280

Portland Press Herald  

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling

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.   960 1280

JUSTIN TALLIS  

Battle of the Oranges

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.   960 1280

Pacific Press  

Los Dos; Merida, Mexico

Los Dos; Merida, Mexico

The most popular class in Chef David Sterling’s Merida, Mexico cooking school Los Dos is “Taste of Yucatán.” The class includes an overview of Maya techniques and ingredients, a market tour, culinary instruction, and a full afternoon meal. 960 1280

Eduardo Cervantes  

School of Artisan Food; North Nottinghamshire, England

School of Artisan Food; North Nottinghamshire, England

Located in Sherwood Forest (yes, Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood fame), the Schoolof Artisan Food in North Nottinghamshire teaches all levels of students, including one-day classes in cheese making, bread baking, and sausage making. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of School of Artisan Food  

Giuliano Hazan’s Northern Italy Cooking School; Verona, Italy

Giuliano Hazan’s Northern Italy Cooking School; Verona, Italy

In this one-week immersive food and wine course with Giuliano Hazan, chef, cookbook author and son of Marcella Hazan, the godmother of Italian cooking, guests learn to make homemade pasta, risotto, meatballs and more. The class takes place in a sixteenth century villa in the heart of northern Italy’s wine country, where guests stay in luxury accomodations. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of Giuliano Hazan  

James St. Cooking School; Brisbane, Australia

James St. Cooking School; Brisbane, Australia

With a variety of hands-on classes ranging from Modern Australian Cooking to Dude Food (meat-heavy, single serving one pot wonders), Brisbane’s James St. Cooking School offers three-hour classes in which professional chefs demonstrate techniques followed by small group hands-on work, culminating in a shared meal as a class. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of James St. Cooking School   

Tokyo Kitchen; Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Kitchen; Tokyo, Japan

Students in Tokyo Kitchen’s three-hour classes learn about Japanese seasonings and table manners before diving into hands-on lessons in Japanese home cooking techniques. The menu rotates daily between different varieties of sushi, tempura and other Japanese specialties such as okonomiyaki, ramen, katsu and more. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of Tokyo Kitchen  

Cass Abrahams Capetown; Capetown, South Africa

Cass Abrahams Capetown; Capetown, South Africa

Considered the doyenne of Cape Malay cuisine, South Africa’s oldest cuisine, local celebrity chef Cass Abraham teaches private cooking lessons in her home. These courses, organized by Cape Fusion Tours, have been described as a history lesson and a cooking class rolled into one.  960 1280

Photo Courtesy of Cape Fusion Tours  

Langlois Culinary Crossroads; New Orleans, Louisiana

Langlois Culinary Crossroads; New Orleans, Louisiana

Chef Amy Cyrex-Sins describes Langlois Culinary Crossroads as part dinner party, part interactive entertainment. While Langlois hosts private cooking classes by appointment, regular diners at Langlois can tour the kitchen, interact with the chefs and learn about traditional Cajun and Creole cooking.

 

960 1280

Photo Courtesy of Langlois Culinary Crossroads  

Beijing Cooking School; Beijing, China

Beijing Cooking School; Beijing, China

Offering one-day and ten-day classes in traditional Hutong cuisine, Beijing Cooking School trains students in both wok techniques and pastry, which includes dumplings, dim sum and noodles. Classes involve market tours and interactive demos as well as hands-on practice. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of Beijing Cooking School  

GalilEat; Galilee, Israel

GalilEat; Galilee, Israel

GalilEat Culinary Adventures bring students into the homes of Druze, Muslim and Christian hosts to learn traditional Arab cooking. A typical day includes two hours of hands-on instruction followed by a shared meal. 960 1280

Photo Courtesy of GalilEat  

Issaya Cooking Studio; Bangkok, Thailand

Issaya Cooking Studio; Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand’s original celebrity chef Ian Kittichai and his team teach fun friendly workshops in a modern studio space. A favorite class features four recipes from his Issaya Siamese Club restaurant. 960 1280

  

Los Angeles Bee Transfer

Los Angeles Bee Transfer

Los Angeles bee expert Ruth Askren transfers 30,000 feral bees from an old desk into a Langstroth hive box. 960 1280

  

Prepared for 30,000 Feral Bees

Prepared for 30,000 Feral Bees

Geared up in this fashionable veil, I can get close to a colony of 30,000 feral bees in Los Angeles. 960 1280

  

Underwood Ranch

Underwood Ranch

I commandeer a harvester tractor on <a href="http://underwoodranches.com" target="_blank">Underwood Ranches</a>’ jalapeno pepper farm outside Los Angeles. 960 1280

  

Huy Fong Foods Factory

Huy Fong Foods Factory

That's me on a factory tour with <a href="http://www.huyfong.com" target=_blank">Huy Fong Foods</a> founder David Tran, the man behind the world-famous Huy Fong sriracha. 960 1280

  

Harvested Chilies at Underwood Ranch

Harvested Chilies at Underwood Ranch

From August through November, Underwood Ranches in Southern California harvests nearly 60,000 tons of chilies for Huy Fong Foods. 960 1280

  

World-Famous Sriracha Hot Sauce

World-Famous Sriracha Hot Sauce

The main ingredient of Huy Fong Foods' world-famous sriracha hot sauce is grown and harvested just outside Los Angeles. 960 1280

  

Live Prawns at Santa Monica Seafood

Live Prawns at Santa Monica Seafood

A live Santa Barbara prawn inside Southern California's premier seafood supplier, <a href="http://www.smseafoodmarket.com/santa-monica-seafood-market-and-cafe" target=_blank">Santa Monica Seafood</a>. 960 1280

  

Fijian Moonfish

Fijian Moonfish

That's a Fijian moonfish imported by my pals at Santa Monica Seafood. 960 1280

  

Sea Urchin Examination

Sea Urchin Examination

When I am at Santa Monica Seafood, I like to examine sea urchins … what can I say? 960 1280

  

Wolvesmouth's Halibut

Wolvesmouth's Halibut

Chef Craig Thornton's <a href="http://wolvesmouth.com/wolvesden" target=_blank">Wolvesmouth</a> tasting menu includes halibut with tarragon-spinach hollandaise, sunchoke, green apple, celtuce and a potato profiterole filled with onion jam. 960 1280

  

Whipped Ponzu and Blue Dashi Gelee

Whipped Ponzu and Blue Dashi Gelee

Whipped ponzu and blue dashi gelee resemble sea foam flooding over seared albacore with cucumber masago crunch in a dish created by chef Craig Thornton at Wolvesmouth. 960 1280

  

Wolvesmouth's Pork Belly

Wolvesmouth's Pork Belly

The tasting menu at chef Craig Thornton's Wolvesmouth dining experience includes amazing dishes, such as this pork belly. 960 1280

  

Edible Art at Wolvesmouth

Edible Art at Wolvesmouth

Each course at chef Craig Thornton's Wolvesmouth dining experience looks like a work of art. 960 1280

  

Koreatown's California Market

Koreatown's California Market

Myself and chef Sang Yoon, owner of the famed LA gastropub Father's Office and the restaurant Lukshon, inside Koreatown's California Market. 960 1280

  

Swordfish at Santa Monica Seafood

Swordfish at Santa Monica Seafood

Cleaned and trimmed swordfish at Santa Monica Seafood, ready to be portioned and delivered to Los Angeles restaurants. 960 1280

  

Santa Barbara Prawns

Santa Barbara Prawns

Over the past decade, Southern California's premier seafood distributor, Santa Monica Seafood, has seen a spike in demand for Santa Barbara prawns. 960 1280

  

Photos

Giant Omelet Celebration

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. 960 1280

REMY GABALDA  

La Tomatina

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.  

 

960 1280

David Ramos  

Bugfest

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. 960 1280

FREDERIC J. BROWN  

Olney Pancake Race

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.
960 1280

Carl Court  

Chinchilla Melon Festival

Chinchilla Melon Festival

Melon skiing, melon ironman, melon bungee, pip spitting and melon tossing are just a few of the events featured in February’s annual Melon Festival in Chinchilla, Australia. 960 1280

Newspix  

Gilroy Garlic Festival

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.   960 1280

Mardis Coers#102006  

Night of the Radishes

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.  

960 1280

PATRICIA CASTELLANOS  

Maine Lobster Festival

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. 960 1280

Portland Press Herald  

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling

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.   960 1280

JUSTIN TALLIS  

Battle of the Oranges

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.   960 1280

Pacific Press  

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