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World's Weirdest Food Festivals

From armadillo-tacos and cheese-curd eating, to tomato hurling and tuna tossing, these spirited events celebrate food around the world.

Spain: La Tomatina

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

Weirdest Food Festivals: 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

Weirdest Food Festivals: 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 record—approximately 40 yards—was set in 1998 by a pro: former Olympic hammer thrower Sean Carlin.


North Carolina: Bugfest

Weirdest Food Festivals: 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 chefs—and cheer on bugs at the Roach Race 5000.


England: Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling

Weirdest Food Festivals: cheese rolling

Photo © Colin Young

The residents of Gloucestershire, England, are so gung-ho about continuing their more than decades–old 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

Weirdest Food Festivals: 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

Once every two years in February, Chinchilla—the "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.



slideshow Slideshow: More World's Weirdest Food Festivals

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