Summertime is festival-time, and what's better than festival food? Check out some of our favorite food festivals that celebrate summer bounties!
Living up to its nickname as "The Peach State," Georgia produces more than 1.7 million bushels of peaches annually — so it only makes sense to hold a festival surrounding their precious peaches! Each year, the Georgia Peach Festival attracts as many as 10,000 visitors. This year's festival is held June 7 and 8 in Fort Valley, GA, and June 15 in Byron, GA. A much-anticipated highlight of the festival is the creation of the World's Largest Peach Cobbler. Volunteers begin creating the colossal cobbler in the wee hours of the first Saturday of the festival using 90 pounds of butter, 150 pounds of sugar, 150 pounds of flour, 32 gallons of milk, and 75 gallons of peaches. The cobbler is fully cooked and ready to serve by Saturday afternoon when festival-goers can enjoy a famous slice. But don't worry — you can work off those extra calories by dancing to live music! Other entertainment options include a neon foam party and a fireworks display.
Traverse City, perched on the shore of Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan, is rightly known as the cherry capital of the world. French settlers from Normandy brought cherries to Michigan as they planted trees along the Saint Lawrence River and down into the Great Lakes region. Northwest Michigan still produces 75 percent of the tart cherries grown in the U.S. The city celebrates every summer by dishing up sweet delights and holding a parade and fireworks, known as the National Cherry Festival. More than 40,000 pounds of cherries are consumed during the event! This year’s event is held June 29 through July 6 in Traverse City, MI. The week-long celebration also features bike races, beach volleyball, a beer tent, an amusement park, a wine excursion, and countless contests for the chance to win cool prizes.
Follow your nose to the “stinking rose” festival, also known as the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA. Held July 26 through 28 this year, this garlic-crazy crowds spend the weekend devouring more than two tons of the flavorful bulb. In the “Great Garlic Cook-Off,” dueling chefs chop, mince, and roast as they strive to create the best garlic-heavy dish to win the highly coveted garlic-bulb crown. Lesser-known garlic fare includes garlic desserts — that’s right — such as sweet garlic ice cream. All this garlicky goodness is accompanied by top-notch entertainment. This year, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, Colbie Caillat, headlines the festival.
Home to the world’s largest lobster cooker, the Maine Lobster Festival serves more than 20,000 pounds of the steamy crustacean each year. Held in Rockland, ME, this year’s festival begins July 31 and continues through August 4. In addition to lobster, fried clams, Maine shrimp, and steamed mussels in wine and vegetable sauce will tempt you as well. Try your luck at the popular Great International Lobster Crate Race, in which competitors run across a string of 50 floating lobster crates (the one who falls into the ocean last, wins). Check out the live music, parade, juried art show, lobster-eating contests, and — for the kids — marine touch tanks.
It’s hard to imagine something as small as a lentil attracting thousands of people. But in Pullman, WA, it does. In late summer – this year’s festival is held August 16 and 17 – people from all over the country descend on Pullman to honor the tiny legume for the National Lentil Festival. The “Legendary Lentil Cook-Off,” one of the most popular events, has yielded winning recipes for Cinnamon Lentil Mini Pies, Baked Lentil Empanadas, and a Caramel Lentil Cheesecake. On the annual “Tour de Lentil,” visitors pedal bikes through the beautiful and bountiful Palouse countryside, where one-third of the U.S. lentil crops are grown. Other activities include live music, a mini golf tournament, and trivia.