Seems wherever you live, there should be a food festival taking place nearby this week. I've touched on just a few here and noted their most unique events but most include musical entertainment, parades, rides, arts & crafts, car shows and more. Go to their individual websites for more details and time schedules.
Have you ever really considered how much deep fried asparagus you could eat in one 10 minute session? I mean, if you really really put some effort into it or, like, if you could win $1500? (That factors out to $9,000 an hour. Not bad pay if you can get it!)
Well, if you aren't already registered for the World's Deep Fried Asparagus Eating Championship on Saturday, this isn't your year to find out. That's right. The field is full and new entries are closed.
Last year, local food hero, Joey Chestnut, lost the title he held for four years to a protege, Patrick Bertoletti, who managed to down 7 lbs. 5.81 oz. while Joey was only able to do in 7 lb. 2.81 oz. Both are members of the IFOCE (International Federation Of Competitive Eaters) and hold numerous titles. You may have seen them compete in the Nathan's Hot Dog contest last July 4th on ESPN.
This contest is only one of the events taking place at the 25th Annual Stockton Asparagus Festival in Stockton, CA this weekend, Apr. 23-25. There are also the run of the mill festival events and a 5K (the Spear It Run), Spear Its of the Valley (local wines and such), a Celebrity Kitchen, recipe contests and more.
Prefer your green food to be in pickle form? Then you need to head for the 24th Annual North Carolina Pickle Fest in Mt. Olive, NC taking place Apr. 22-24. Eat some pickles. Have some fun. Some of the notable events at this festival include a Pickleball Tournament, a student Pickle Art Contest and a Tickled Pickle Poetry contest.
Or, you could check out the 18th Annual Crawfish Festival in Biloxi, Mississippi, Apr. 22-25. Visitors can purchase a $10 tasting ticket and sample dishes from numerous restaurants and cook teams and vote for the People's Choice Award. Over 20,000 Cajun mudbugs will be served at this gathering and ther will be a Crawfish Cookoff where over 18 local teams will compete for the coveted Budweiser trophy and a cash prize. This event is held over 2 weekends, so you can still make the trek next week, too.
Back on the East Coast, we have the 33rd Annual Vidalia Onion Festival in Vidalia, Georgia, Apr. 22-25. In addition to a Miss Vidalia Onion Pageant, one can enter an Onion Eating Contest, watch a Vidalia Chef Team Competition, an Onion Cook-Off Tasting, a Vidalia Onion Recipe Contest, and so much more. There's even some "onion entertainment," featuring Mark Ballard presenting the Vidalia Onion Culinary Experience of a demo of culinary expertise, wit and comedy about the vidalia onion.
No? Then truck on down to Celebration, Florida, for The Great American Pie Festival, Apr. 24-25. Hundreds of pie bakers from all over the country will compete in pie making at several levels - jr., amateur, and professional. There will be pie-making demos, PieCasso art, Pie Eating Contests, and a never-ending pie buffet.
They'll be selling slices off of a 200 lb. fruit pie to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank. The Crisco Kid's Creation Station will have children making their own pies, and they can participate in pie decorating, pie scraping and pie tin art. There will be a Pietopia demonstration on stage.
Feeling really adventuresome?
Check out the 8th Annual Waikiki Spam Jam in Waikiki, Hawaii on Apr. 24th. It's a street festival to celebrate Hawaii's love for Spam. Hawaiians consume more Spam per capita than any other state. Almost 7 million cans of Spam are eaten in Hawaii each year. This is one of Honolulu's most popular festivals. Spam themed souvenirs are for sale and stands throughout the festival will collect cans of Spam to go to the Hawaiian Food Bank. Check out the website for Spam recipes that share the taste of the Islands.
Happy Thanksgiving, Serious Eaters! - With the Thanksgiving preparation madness winding down, and the cooking madness about to begin, I have to take a moment to reflect on the many, many things...