World's Weirdest Food Festivals
Spain: La Tomatina
Photo © Juanjo Valverde
What's rumored to have originated as a local brawl (possibly an attack on city council members by disgruntled townspeople) in Buñol, Spain, has turned into the world's largest food fight, with some 45,000 revelers hurling more than 250,000 pounds of tomatoes at one another the last Wednesday in August.
West Virginia: Roadkill Cook-off
Photo courtesy of West Virginia RoadKill Cook-off by the Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce
While the food at this festival, which takes place the last Saturday of September in Marlinton, West Virginia, doesn't actually involve real roadkill, the dishes are prepared with the kinds of animals that often meet their end in traffic accidents. Specialties have included "South-of-the-Border Mishap"tacos filled with armadillo, roadrunner and the mysteriously dubbed "hitchhiker."
Australia: Tunarama Festival
Photo courtesy of Tunarama
Going on its 50th year, the main attraction at the Tunarama, held the weekend nearest to Australia Day (January 26) in Port Lincoln, Australia, is the World Champion Tuna Toss Competition, where participants hurl a roughly 20-pound tuna. The recordapproximately 40 yardswas set in 1998 by a pro: former Olympic hammer thrower Sean Carlin.
North Carolina: Bugfest
Photo courtesy of WRAL.COM
Attendees of this festival held by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh dare themselves to eat insect dishes prepared by local chefsand cheer on bugs at the Roach Race 5000.
England: Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling
Photo © Colin Young
The residents of Gloucestershire, England, are so gung-ho about continuing their more than decadesold cheese-rolling tradition that they held an unofficial roll of semi-hard, unpasteurized Double Gloucester cheese down Coopers Hill this year even after the event was officially cancelled. It's usually held on the last Monday in May.
Wisconsin: Cheese Curd Festival
Photo © Milton Helmer
Ellsworth, Wisconsin, the self-proclaimed "Cheese Curd Capital," hosts a cheese curd eating contest and cheese carving competition every last full weekend in June in celebration of the century-old Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery and the town's proud dairy tradition.
Australia: Chinchilla Melon Festival
Photo courtesy of The Chinchilla Melon Festival
Once every two years in February, Chinchillathe "Melon Capital of Australia" (their watermelon accounts for 25 percent of the nation's crop)celebrates the bounty with a messy melon-strewn street parade and "sports" like seed spitting, melon tossing, and skiing with feet embedded in the fruit.