Everything from high-priced tickets to watch chef demonstrations at the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, to family gatherings for cheese tasting and watermelon races continue across the vast American landscape in the good old summertime. Following is a guide to the festivals of July and August, 2011.
If you’re a cherry lover, Traverse City, Michigan continues to host the National Cherry Festival, voted one of the nation’s top festivals. The fest celebrate’s America’s world-record tart cherry harvest and offers a week of family entertainment and cherry delights. CherryFestival.org.
If deep fry is your thing, scurry over to the Slugburger Festival in Corinth, Mississippi. Featured is the beef and soy-meat patty, deep fried to produce the famous Slugburger. The corner of Cruise and Fillmore Streets is hosting the event this year to accommodate better parking arrangements. It’s not too late to enjoy the final days of this 23rd annual edition that idolizes the burger. SlugburgerFestival.com.
Coming up this weekend is the “Chicken & A Movie” 2011 Wayne Chicken Show in Wayne, Nebraska. Promising a “cheep” time, the festival is another family oriented fun time sponsored by a hometown crowd. The Wayne Area Chamber of Commerce oversees the event, first held in 1981. A Chicken Cooking Contest is new to the activities this season. ChickenShow.com.
Whatcom County, Washington, provides two-thirds of the United States’ raspberry crop. The fruit is celebrated at the Lynden, Washington Northwest Raspberry Festival. Raspberry pies, sundaes, and wine get their due attention. Bellingham.org.
Have you always wanted to see Vermont? Plan for the 24th and get in on the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival in Shelburne, Vermont, where Shelburne Museum is located. Did you know Vermont has the highest per capita of cheesemakers in the nation? At the Shelburne Farms Coach Barn, you will find products of over 40 cheesemakers, 20 wineries and breweries, 15 artisan food experts, and over 100 cheeses to sample and purchase. VtCheeseFest.com.
Garlic has been hailed as a good health food. You can catch its many flavors in garlic frog legs, garlic bread, and even garlic watermelon at the 33rd Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. The garlic ice cream is free. This season, the festival board of directors agreed to align with Scope Mouthwash of Procter & Gamble fame to boost the festival’s economy. P&G and Scope sponsors will reveal the name of its newest breath freshening product when the festival opens Friday evening. GilroyGarlicFestival.com.
The first day of the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, Maine honors “Hometown Day” with free admission. Four-day passes and individual tickets are available thereafter. Twenty thousand pounds of lobster will be prepared for guests who can entertain themselves in the Lobster Crate Race. Try hopping across 50 lobster crates strung across the ocean surface in a contest to find out who can remain dry. Local artists display their work. MaineLobsterFestival.com.
The Olathe Sweet Corn Festival in Olathe, Colorado gives back. Non-profit groups who participate have the opportunity to earn money by supplying personnel to handle jobs and vendor activities associated with the festival. All the sweet corn you can eat is available during the mountain area event that dates back to 1992. OlatheSweetcornFest.com.
Tastes of the Caribbean will be featured at the Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. Jerk chicken, curried goat dishes, and dance lessons in salsa and calypso will be available. TasteoftheCaribbeanct.com.
Spitting watermelon seeds is approved at the 35th Annual Hope Watermelon Festival at Hope, Arkansas. Besides the spitting contest, you can enter a watermelon-eating competition and the Watermelon Olympics, which features melon tossing and melon bowling. Music, children’s activities, an antique car show, and a softball tournament spice up the weekend. The festival, actually first held for some years in the 1920s, is also a local gathering of Arts and Crafts makers from a six-state area. HopeMelonFest.com.
Another round of berries – huckleberries – can be enjoyed at the 32nd Huckleberry Festival in Trout Creek, Montana. Growing wild in the mountains of the region, the huckleberry shows up in the festival’s cheesecakes, ice cream, shakes, and pancakes. Arts and Craft vendors will be on site. A special feature of the festival is the elk bugling contest. HuckleberryFestival.com.
The 28th Annual Pittston Tomato Festival gets under way in Pittston, Pennsylvania with a $5 admission fee that includes a pair of safety glasses. That’s because participation in the Tomato Fight can get feisty. Rotten tomatoes are provided by the arm-load. All you can throw, that is! Named one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s best festivals, the event also features a 5K run, bingo games, live entertainment, and a parade, as well as Arts and Crafts. PittstonTomatoFestival.com.
The Steinley Cup? “Come for the Beer…Stay for the Bull” is the theme of the (16th Annual) Steinley Cup Officiat State Microbrewery Competition scheduled in Saratoga, Wyoming. Red chili, green chili, and salsa accompany varieties of the brewery kind, all provided for a $20 admission fee to enter the taste contests. The “Bull” is the 11th Annual Saratoga Bullfest at Buck Springs Rodeo Arena. SaratogaChamber.info.
Does hamburger tingle your palate? Then head to the biggest burger fest in the nation – the National Hamburger Festival in downtown Akron, Ohio. There’s a new contest in town this season. It’s the Cheesiest Couple Contest sponsored by Yancey’s Fancy cheese. Maybe you’d rather bob for burgers – from a ketchup-filled kiddie’s pool? Just Wing It Productions of New York came up with this festival idea for Akron. HamburgerFestival.com.
August 31-September 5
From hamburgers to BBQ: travel to Sparks, Nevada for the 23rd Annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. It’s a rib-eating tournament, top-name live entertainment bonanza, Major League Eating sanctioned event that will test your tummy and appeal to your concert criteria. One hundred tons of ribs are sold here. NuggetRibCookoff.com.
At America’s festivals there is something for everyone and every family, from city dwellers to small town folks. Plan ahead from the above list. Visit, or vacation at your favorite location and take in the local festival.