Eat Up! 10 Summer Food Festivals
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Summer is festival season – the time of year that small towns celebrate the ripest produce, regional cooking, and traditional hospitality. It’s Americana at its finest, and a chance to introduce kids to the quirky pleasures they won’t find in chain restaurants and corporate amusement parks. Here is a sampling guaranteed to get your mouth watering:
Blue Ridge BBQ Festival, Tyron, North Carolina, June 10 - 11, 2011
If you only visit one cook-off this summer, this should probably be it. It’s not only “the biggest event in Polk County” – it’s also considered one of the top ten barbeque cook-offs in the world. In addition to meat cooked “low and slow,” you’ll find bingo, live music, and fun parks.
Georgia Peach Festival, Byron and Fort Valley, Georgia, June 4 - 11, 2011
This festival in “Peach County” is home not only to the world’s largest peach cobbler, but also to a train, water slides, free concerts, tours of a local packing company, and the “painting of the peaches.”
Hampton County Watermelon Festival, Hampton, South Carolina, June 18 - 26, 2011
The 66th annual watermelon festival will feature a carnival, old-fashioned street dance, youth parade, fishing contest, free kayaking and canoeing on the lake, a “mud run,” live gospel music, and, of course, watermelon judging in the categories of “best crimson sweet,” “best jubilee,” and “heaviest.”
Taste of Chicago, Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, June 24 – July 3, 2011
The Taste of Chicago is more of a straight pig-out than an all-around festival. Since most kids don’t have the patience to sit through a meal at Charlie Trotter’s, this is a great opportunity to sample food from local restaurants – vendors include everyone from local pizzerias to five star restaurants.
Gilroy Garlic Festival, Gilroy, California, July 29 – July 31, 2011
You’ll know you’re there before you reach the parking lot – the smell of everything from garlic ice cream to garlic pizza is that strong. The children’s area features art projects and entertainment, rock climbing, and live music.
Maine Lobster Fest, Rockland, Maine, Agust 3 – August 7, 2011
Celebrate the king of crustaceans with a carnival, live music, a parade, a kids’ one mile fun run, all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts, and, of course, lotsa “lobstah.”
National Blueberry Festival, South Haven, Michigan, August 11 – August 14, 2011
If the prospect of unlimited blueberry confections doesn’t tempt them, the chalk art sessions, pie-eating contests, magic show, sand sculpting event and parade should do the trick.
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