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Singular Food Festivals in the USA

Top 10 Single Food Festivals Worth Saving Your Appetite For


Food festivals in the USA are pretty easy to find. Singular food festivals, however, celebrate just one ingredient, typically the host city's best-known and indigenous produce, meat, or seafood. Single food festivals are a great way to show support for local communities, especially in towns where the prized food is the town's claim to fame. If you're keen to try some of America's best foods in the places where they are grown or harvested, check out these 10 single food festivals.

Georgia Peach Festival

© Georgia Peach Festival
Location: Peach County, Georgia
Dates: Early June

Peach County in the Peach State (aka Georgia) hosts this week-long tribute to the sweet, luscious peach. The highlight of the festival is the presentation - and eating! - of the world's largest peach cobbler.

Music City Hot Chicken Festival

Hot Chicken Festival
© Hot Chicken Festival
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Dates: July 4

Coinciding yearly with Independence Day, the Music City Hot Chicken Festival celebrates Nashville's own special way of cooking chicken. Approximately one dozen restaurants that specialize in the Nashville dish are on site at the one-day event and there is also a cook-off for amateurs.

National Cherry Festival

National Cherry Festival
© National Cherry Festival
Location: Traverse City, Michigan
Dates: Early to Mid-July

One of the most-anticipated food festivals of the Upper Midwest is the National Cherry Festival, held continuously since 1946 in Traverse City, Michigan. The nationally-recognized festival broke a world record for the largest cherry pie in 1987 and each year brings ample opportunities to sample cherry pies, cakes, and other foods baked with the local fruit.

Gilroy Garlic Festival

Gilroy Garlic Festival
© Gilroy Garlic Festival
Location: Gilroy, California
Dates: Late July

Billing itself as the "Garlic Capital of the World," Gilroy, California, is located about 30 miles south of San Jose. Since 1979, Gilroy has hosted its popular garlic festival, which features a Gourmet Alley containing rows of vendors cooking all manner of pastas, fish, meat, and snacks with garlic, and a recipe contest and cook-off for amateur garlic chefs.

Maine Lobster Festival

Lobster at the Maine Lobster Festival
© Kelly Woods Photo, courtesy Maine Lobster Festival
Location: Rockland, Maine
Dates: Early August

Lobster, a staple in Maine, has been celebrated with a festival in Rockland since 1947. During the festival, more than 20,000 pounds of lobster is prepared for festival-goers. Most lobster is prepared the traditional way, with drawn butter, and there is a cooking contest during which amateur chefs show off their culinary creativity, making everything from lobster bisque to lobster mac and cheese.

Hatch Valley Chile Festival

Hatch Chile Festival
© Hatch Chile Festival
Location, Hatch, New Mexico
Dates: Early September

Fiery green and red chiles are celebrated at this festival in the village of Hatch, New Mexico, which is near Las Cruces and the border with Mexico. Among the festival activities are chile eating contests and a chile cook-off, which results in an annual cookbook.

Maryland Seafood Festival

Maryland crabs
© Hannele Lahti/Getty Images
Location: Sandy Point State Park, Maryland
Dates: Early September

Bordering the famous Chesapeake Bay, Maryland is known for its seafood, particularly its blue crabs. This popular, going on since 1966, includes a wide variety of local seafood to sample, from clams and oysters on the half shell to boiled shrimp seasoned with Old Bay. Crab eating, picking and soup-making contests are a highlight.

Mushroom Festival

© Mushroom Festival
Location: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Dates: Early September

Going strong since 1985, this festival takes place in Kennett Square, billed the "Mushroom Capital of the World." About 65 percent of the mushrooms consumed in the United States are grown in and around Southern Chester County, and they can be sampled at this festival in various creations in the culinary tent. The amateur mushroom soup cooking contest is a tradition.

Warrens Cranberry Festival

Harvesting cranberries
© Warrens Cranberry Festival
Location: Warrens, Wisconsin
Dates: Late September

Most people think of New England - not Wisconsin - when they think of cranberries. But Warrens, Wisconsin, attracts about 100,000 visitors annual to the "Largest Cranberry Festival in the World." Tour a cranberry marsh or sample dishes and drinks made with cranberries.

Florida Strawberry Festival

© Judy Davidson/Getty Images
Location: Plant City, Florida
Dates: Late February to Early March

Strawberry pies and jams, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and many other strawberry-centric confections have been drawing fruit lovers to the west-central Florida town of Plant City since 1930. Plant City is known as the "Winter Strawberry Capital of the World."

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