6 Food Festivals Honoring Uniquely Tasty Treats

Summer is filled with festivals of all kinds. From state fairs to music festivals to Renaissance fairs, these events are always a great way to soak up the summer sun. Everyone knows and loves classic fair foods like funnel cakes and cotton candy, but some festivals make the food the centerpiece and take the offerings to the next level.

Food and drink festivals are not new to the circuit, and fairsn across the country pop up serving various cuisines from all around the world. But the following six festivals are a little different in that they pick one dish — or ingredient— and run with it.

Tater Tot Festival
The first-ever Tater Tot Festival is set to take place this weekend in Ontario, Oregon. Ore-Ida, the famous frozen potato company was founded in Ontario almost 70 years ago. bhofack2/Getty Images

Tater Tot Festival, Oregon

In the town where the tiny fried treats were invented, patrons will celebrate the first-ever Tater Tot festival in Ontario, Oregon, this weekend. Food and Wine reported that the festival will include a taste test to determine the winner of the Tater Tot Cooking Competition and Tater Tot Eating Contest. One of the event's sponsors is Ore-Ida, which was founded in Ontario almost 70 years ago.

BugFest, North Carolina

This festival, out of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, has gone virtual the past two years due to COVID. Previous editions featured much more than food, which might be expected from an event called "Bugfest." In 2019, the festival included Café Insecta, a place for guests to try treats made out of bugs themselves.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival
The Gilroy Garlic Festival has been celebrated for over 40 years in Gilroy, California. The festival was started by Rudy Melon, who was the president of Gavilan College in Gilroy at the time, Nikolaeva Elena/Getty Images

Gilroy's Garlic Festival, California

The Gilroy Garlic Festival has taken place in Gilroy, California, for over 40 years. As the story goes, Rudy Melon, who was the president of Gavilan College at the time, read an article about a small town in France that claimed to be the "garlic capital of the world" and hosted an annual garlic festival. Melon disagreed as he viewed that Gilroy's garlic production and processing were far greater, according to the festival's website. And thus, Gilroy's own garlic celebration was born.

West Virginia Roadkill Cook-Off, West Virginia

This one is not for those with weak stomachs—but if you have a strong constitution, read on. Each year, teams gather together in competition for the top honor. Though some of the meat used has been shot and killed, one team in a 2017 video posted to YouTube by Delish shows a team who says they actually hit the animal they were grilling. According to Atlas Obscura, it's not required that the ingredients are actual roadkill, but they must be animals that are commonly victims of traffic accidents. Though the event was cancelled this year, it is set to return in September 2022.

Cheese Curd Festival
Ellsworth is said to be the cheese curd capital of Wisconsin. Here, a worker scoops up a pail of Colby cheese curds on June 27, 2016 in Theresa, Wisconsin. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ellsworth's Cheese Curd Festival, Wisconsin

For those who've never had a cheese curd, think of a tiny mozzarella stick — sort of. Legitimate Wisconsin cheese curds must be sold within one day of production without being refrigerated, according to Allrecipes.com. The result is essentially a young cheese that is often fried. The Ellsworth's Cheese Curd Festival takes place in what is known as the cheese curd capital of Wisconsin. The 2022 event is set to have 6,000 pounds of cheese curds.

Waikiki Spam Jam, Hawaii

Spam is an infamous ingredient in many kitchens. But at this festival in Waikiki, Hawaii, it's the main event. Spam is a staple in Hawaii and this festival showcases unique ways to prepare the canned meat. The restaurant lineup from the 2019 event shows all the menu items from various vendors, including Spam tacos to Spam mochi waffles.