14 food festivals that show how serious America is about food

Competetive eaters compete in the national chicken wing eating contest in Buffalo, New York.
Image: John Normile / Getty Images

Celebrating food is an American pastime. Nobody does bizarre food festivals quite like the U.S. of A.

From biscuits to chicken wings to garlic, there is (almost guaranteed) a festival for your favorite food somewhere across the country.

So get ready because we proclaim this summer the summer of food.

Image: Mashable composite, TOLOLA / ISTOCKPHOTO / GETTY IMAGES, joeylaxsalinas on instagram, chuck_stopson instagram, JOHN NORMILE / GETTY IMAGES

Camp Bacon in Ann Arbor, Michigan

June 1-5, 2016

Five whole days of nothing but bacon. Seriously. The event draws bacon fans, bacon makers, journalists, sociologists (apparently), chefs, culinary historians and journalists.

There’s a bacon street fair, a bacon ball withbacon, ham and prosciutto as appetizers and even a culinary film festival.

Egg Festival in Mentone, Indiana

June 2-4, 2016

Put all your eggs in one basket at a whole festival dedicated to the incredible, edible egg.

What a beautiful day for some sightseeing! #summer2015 #mentone #mentoneegg #cantthinkofanomeletjoke

A photo posted by Colleen Steffen (@midwest_magpie) on Jun 18, 2015 at 12:37pm PDT

Every year,Mentone “Egg City” whips up a weekend of entertainment that includes a parade, car show, something called the “Miss Chick and Mr. Rooster” contest and an egg toss.

Strawberry Festival in Lebanon, Oregon

June 2-5, 2016

This year is the 107th annual strawberry festival in Oregon. The weekend-long extravaganza comes complete with obscure world record: The world’s largest strawberry shortcake.

Image: tolola / iStockphoto /GETTY IMAGES

The 5,700 pound shortcake which feeds over 15,000 attendees is paraded through Lebanon every year and is the main draw of the festival.

Oyster Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana

June 4-5, 2016

Raw oysters at the New Orleans Oyster Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana on Saturday, June 4, 2011.

Image: kim welsh /offbeat magazine / flickr

The salty gem of the sea should be celebrated all-year round. Luckily, New Orleans has taken the helm for the first weekend in June.

The two-day festival includes a shucking contest, cooking demonstrations, “eating championship” and plenty of live music this is New Orleans, after all.

Celebrate the oyster with some lemon or hot sauce or just enjoy its salty brine, you brazen oyster fiend.

Beer Cheese Festival in Winchester, Kentucky

June 11, 2016

Few foods are as mysterious and arcane as the legendary Beer Cheese. Is it alcohol? Is it dairy? Is it both?

However you classify it, go and celebrate it in Kentuckywith a blind taste test, live music and endless inspiration to add beer cheese to every single meal from now on.

National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan

July 2-9, 2016

Few things announce the arrival of summer better than when the grocery store produce aisles transform with an abundance of cherries.

Parade through an endless stream of the nation’s best cherries at the National Cherry Festivalin Michigan. The festival is over a century old and comes with a century of traditions, like the crowning of the Cherry Queen and the “blessing of the blossoms.”

It won’t be the pits.

Mango Festival in Coral Gables, Florida

July 9-10, 2016

Varieties of mangoes are displayed at the 18th Annual Mango Festival in Coral Gables, Florida, on July 7, 2010. (Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)

Image: MCT via Getty Images

A mango brunch, lectures, demonstrations and mango vendors round out this weekend-long celebration of the “King of Tropical Fruit.”

This year’s festival will be the 24th annual at Coral Gables Botanical Garden. For those inspired by the mango bounty, the garden will sell mango trees and provide lessons to ensure a fruitful tree-growing experience.

Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival in Atlanta, Georgia

July 17, 2016

There are cult movies and then there is Attack of the Killer Tomato.

The 1978 horror musical spoof is so beloved it spawned an unexpected food festival(and surprisingly catchy theme song).

Tomatoes appear in practically every dish, drink and carnival ride at the festival. And on top of a fun theme, the event raises money for Georgia Organics, a nonprofit working to connect Georgia residents with organic produce.

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival in Shelburne, Vermont

July 17, 2016

There are a few things that Vermont takes very seriously: asserting its differences from New Hampshire, maple syrup and cheddar cheese.

The state has the highest number of cheesemakers per capita and over one weekend in July, they all convene in Shelburne to celebrate their craft.

Festival attendees can partake in a cheesemaking demonstration, cheddar tasting course and endless cheese samples.

Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California

July 29-31, 2016

People lined up to buy garlic ice cream at the 2007 Garlic Festival, Gilroy, California.

Image: Mardis Coers / getty images

The Gilroy Garlic Festival rated their top 10 attractions so all attendees know exactly how to prioritize their schedules for the weekend.

While “free garlic ice cream” would be the number one attraction at any other festival, at the Gilroy Garlic Festival the main draw is Gourmet Alleywhere “pyro chefs” set garlicky foods on fire and put on an elaborate, flambeed spectacle.

Lobster Festival in Rockport, Maine

August 3-7, 2016

The Great Maine Lobster Eating Contest, 2011.

Image: Gordon Chibroski / Portland Press Herald / Getty Images

Maine Lobster Fest is the stuff of legend. The state has celebrated its top export in Rockport every year since 1947.

There is, of course, a lobster-eating contest, but plenty of other unexpected activities like an art show, “Sea Goddess Coronation,” pancake breakfast and parade.

Attendees can try their luck at the Great International Lobster Crate Race. The winner for the past two years has been an eight-year-old boy who ran on 3,000 wooden lobster crates across the Maine coastline.

Hot Dog Festival in Chicago, Illinois

August 5-7, 2016

It may just be a tube of unidentifiable meat smushed in some bread, but the hot dog’s topping possibilities are endless.

Every year, the Chicago History Museum hosts an event around the food and its thousand iterations.

The museum hosts lectures by “the citys top hot dog historians and restaurateurs,” with plenty of additional activities for dogs and kids.

Ice Cream Festival in Austin, Texas

August 13, 2016

Ice cream and summer go together like summer and ice cream.

Austin’s Ice Cream Fest celebrates the most refreshing dessert of the summer with trucks, stalls and a popsicle stick sculpture contest.

I scream! You scream! We all eat too much ice cream and regret it the rest of the day!

Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival in Buffalo, New York

September 3-4, 2016

Competetive eaters compete in the national chicken wing eating contest in Buffalo, New York.

Image: John Normile / Getty Images

Every year, the baseball stadium in downtown Buffalo is taken over by rabid wing fans, looking to sample the best of this year’s wings.

Restaurants come from all over the country to compete in “The Superbowl of Chicken Wings” and competitive eaters show up to see who can eat the most of them.

And don’t call them “Buffalo Wings” unless you want a lecture about how they’re just called “wings” here.

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/05/20/summer-food-festivals-2016/