Food can be the best way to experience and get to know a new place. Maybe it’s getting recommendations from the locals, or maybe it’s just eating your way through a city’s most popular neighborhood. Either way, what you put in your mouth on vacation can have a huge impact on how much you enjoy yourself. That’s why planning travel specifically around food festivals is such a great idea—especially as more events and restaurants cater to those with culinary curiosities.
Food festivals are especially fun because of the atmosphere they provide. In addition to the best of the best eats, crowds of people and other local attractions all come together at food festivals for an unforgettable experience. Plus, you can get hyper-specific. Instead of dining at a well-reviewed American restaurant, you can deep dive into a food you’ve barely had before. Talk about getting out of your comfort zone! With that in mind, here are a few oddly specific but still delicious food festivals that are more than worth the trip.
1. Giant Omelette Celebration — Abbeville, Louisiana
Every year in Abbeville, Louisiana, egg-lovers enjoy the weekend of their dreams. The Giant Omelette Celebration is basically a parade/party that cumulates with the cooking of a 5000-egg omelette in a 12-foot skillet. There’s also an egg-cracking contest, live music, an arts and craft show, and an antique car show. Even better, the town of Abbeville is just a 2.5 hour drive to New Orleans and and a 30-minute drive to Lafayette. This is a great weekend stop on a longer Louisiana tour.
2. Roadkill Cook Off — Marlinton, West Virginia
If eggs are too tame for your liking, book a trip to Marlinton, West Virginia this September instead. There, you can enjoy the annual Autumn Harvest Festival and West Virginia Roadkill Cook-off, which is exactly what the name suggests. Food festival participants cook up everything from bear to elk to reptiles in a variety of (often fried) dishes. The event also includes a pageant, craft show, and more. Marlintown’s rural vibes will definitely be a change of pace for city dwellers. If you want to make it part of a longer trip, the town is 2.5 hours south of Clarksburg, which itself is just a 30 minute flight from Morgantown, home to West Virginia University.
3. Cheddar Cheese Festival — Adams, New York
While road kill is pretty niche, this next food festival takes the crown when it comes to specificity. This year, the village of Adams, New York will host its eighth-ever cheddar cheese festival. In addition to all the cheddar cheese you could dream of, the one-day event also features a cheese sculpture, wine tasting options, and a plethora of complementary community events. Last year, every kid who attended got a free book, for instance. Heartwarming and delicious, right? The village of Adams is located an hour north of Syracuse, basically in Canada.
4. National Hard Crab Derby — Crisfield, Maryland
If you’re from Maryland, there’s nothing odd about a crab festival. But if you’re from just about anywhere else, the state’s obsession with crabs is a bit surprising. What better way to experience than the annual Crab Derby in Crisfield (right on the Chesapeake Bay)? This year, the event will take place during the first few days of September and will include crab races and picking, a parade, boat docking, a carnival, arts and crafts, entertainment and fireworks. The best choice is to stay in Ocean City—the local resort town about an hour north—and to make day trips to the crab derby and other nearby attractions, like Chincoteague Island, best known for its stunning beaches and wild horses.