Need an excuse to get outside, eat and drink, and have a good time? These weird food festivals around the globe are worth traveling to just for the sheer strangeness. Some are outright curious; others bizarre. You may just find yourself scratching your head on how someone came up with the idea to celebrate. And yet, regardless how strange or interesting they may be, you’re likely to want to join in on the fun.
Here are eight wacky festivals dedicated to a specific food, dish or even food as a sport.
Editor’s note: Many festivals listed may not be held in-person this year or may operate on an altered schedule due to the pandemic. Save these ideas for when it’s safe to travel again, and always follow all COVID-19 restrictions, rules, and safety regulations both at your destination and upon returning home.
Poutine Festival, Ottawa
For those who love poutine, this festival has your name on it. This 3- day event is usually held in early May and celebrates the love of poutine: fries, cheese curds and gravy. There are many interpretations on this poutine theme so come with an open mind and an empty stomach and if you’re game, consider joining the poutine eating contest! With over 100 versions, including gluten-free, vegetarian and even vegan poutine, the hardest decision just might be which ones you sample.
Tunarama has become a well-known day long festival because of their World Famous Tuna Toss, a fish throwing contest that attracts locals and tourists throughout Australia and beyond, in hopes of winning prize money. This curious event is held in late January in Port Lincoln in South Australia. This festival was inspired by fishermen unloading heavy fish from the fishing boats and hauling and throwing them onto trucks, all while locals watched. One day locals were offered the chance to help out by throwing tuna as far as possible. Those who did the best earned a day’s worth of work.
La Tomatina, Spain
This festival has become famous for all the photos of people covered in splattered tomatoes all while having a big smile on their face. Celebrated in Buñol, Spain, a small town outside of Valencia, this big gathering is considered one of the largest food fights in the world and is held on the last Wednesday of August. Although there are an array of tomato-based dishes to sample, most people go to participate in the action or observe.
PizzaFest, Naples, Italy
If you love pizza and are always in search of the best tasting pie, look no further. This event is held in September in the city of Naples, considered the birthplace of pizza. You’ll have a chance to sample an array of pizzas, watch pizza professionals in action, take classes and have everything centered on pizza for several days.
Salon du Chocolat, Paris, France
If you’re a chocolate lover or are curious about learning about the latest flavors and trends in chocolate, you won’t want to miss the Salon du Chocolat. This week-long international event is held at the end of October and is targeted towards those who work in the chocolate industry. From workshops and masterclasses to entertainment, including a chocolate fashion show dedicated to chocolate, you’ll definitely get your fill and satisfy your palate.
Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, Florida, USA
Feeling adventurous in tasting new foods? Sample frog legs and even gator tail at the Frog Leg Festival in Fellsmere, Florida held in January each year. The idea was inspired in the 1990’s in an effort to create events to attract people to the city by hosting a frog leg dinner. The turn out was overwhelming, something the organizers never expected. Because it was such a hit, its now become a four day event. Make a day or a weekend out of it between entertainment, browsing and shopping booths and hoping on carnival rides.
Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling, England
Rolling a heavy cheese wheel down the steep Coopers Hill and then chasing after it may seem like a strange event and dangerous, too, yet this tradition has been around since the 1800s. Although it’s near impossible to catch the cheese while in motion (it reaches speeds upwards of 70mph), the first person to cross the finish line wins. The event is held every year at the end of May in the town of Gloucestershire. Spectators and participants come from all over England and even from different countries.
Jeonju Bibimbap Festival, South Korea
If you love Bibimbap, the Jeonju Bibimpbap Festival is entirely dedicated to and inspired by this classic meal. Bibimbap is a rice-based dish served with beef, mixed vegetables and a chili pepper sauce. This 3-day event is based in the city of Jeonju and takes place at the beginning of October. There is plenty of entertainment including magic shows and concerts, as well as a market and a line-up of cooking events. Plus, they serve up a huge bowl of Bibimbap that serves around 400 people.
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