Gilroy Garlic Festival

1. Gilroy Garlic Festival
Gilroy, California
July 24–26  
There's nothing like a small-town food festival to make summer come alive! From peaches to pierogies, communities all across the country are coming together to celebrate the best bites their cities have to offer.

Everything's better with garlic! For 30 years, the good people of Gilroy, California, have been celebrating their favorite crop with parades, musical entertainment and arts and crafts. But the real show is the garlic itself. More than two tons of it is used to flavor everything from penne to pepper steak. In 2007 alone, festival goers consumed more than 8,000 servings of garlic fries, 11,000 stuffed mushrooms and over 16,000 slices of garlic bread. If you're feeling really adventurous, try the garlic ice cream!

Amateur chefs get into the action too with the Great Garlic Cook-Off, one of the most popular cooking competitions in the country. And, the Garlic Showdown pits four prominent Bay Area chefs in an Iron Chef competition for a $5,000 prize.

Since its inception, this three-day event—which requires the work of 4,000 community volunteers—has raised nearly $8 million for various local charities!

For more information, visit
Pierogi Fest

2. Pierogi Fest
Whiting, Indiana
July 24–26
Ah, pierogies. There's nothing quite like 'em. For 11 years, the folks in Whiting, Indiana, have been celebrating the delicious eastern European dumplings—stuffed with potato, meat, cheese or kraut— with a three-day celebration.

Visitors to this northern Indiana fest can spend their time carousing tables packed with arts and crafts, warm up their pitching arms at the dunking booth or dine on a variety of scrumptious snacks like polish sausages, fried corn on the cob and potato latkes. Even the family pet can get in on the act with special pooch-only pierogies flavored with puppy-friendly peanut butter.

No visit to Pierogi Fest would be complete without catching an afternoon performance by Mr. Pierogi and the Pieroguettes as well as the pierogi toss, polka parade and a game of Eastern Bloc Jeopardy.

Before packing up your "Hey, nice pierogies" T-shirt and hitting the road, make sure to grab a box of those delicious dumplings to go!

For more information, visit  
Maine Lobster Festival

3. Maine Lobster Festival
Rockland, Maine
July 29-August 2
No place on earth does lobster quite like Maine. Every year, the city of Rockland celebrates the clawed crustacean with parades, crate races, U.S. Navy ship tours, cooking contests and all-you-can-eat pancakes. That's right, pancakes. But don't worry, the main event is always about the lobster—and they have more than 20,000 pounds to go around!

While your there, don't miss King Neptune and his court arrive from the briny deep to raise the official lobster fest flag. So, grab your bib and get ready to dig in.

For more information, visit
Santa Paula Citrus Festival

4. Santa Paula Citrus Festival
Santa Paula, California
July 17–19  
Did you know that lemons were once so rare that kings presented them as gifts? The folks in Santa Paula, California, do! That's one of the reasons they honor lemons—and oranges and avocados—every year with their own three-day event! (That and the fact that Santa Paula is home to expansive lemon and orange orchards.) Live music and amusement rides abound as people from all over the sunshine state gather to celebrate citrus.

Pucker up for lemon juice drinking contests and lemon bobbing. Not to mention awards for largest citrus, fastest peeling and best lemon bars. Yum.

For more information, visit  
Georgia Peach Festival

5. Georgia Peach Festival
Byron and Fort Valley, Georgia
June 12–20  
In Georgia, the peach is king! Not only are hundreds of streets throughout the state named after the peach tree there's also a county named after the fuzzy fruit. For more than 20 years, Peach County has been home to the annual Georgia Peach Festival, a grand event that celebrates peach growers for their contribution to the state's economy.

From the "painting of the peaches" to water slides and fireworks, the peach fest has something for everyone. It's even home to "The World's Largest Peach Cobbler" which is served free to festival goers on the last day of the event.

For more information, visit  
Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival

6. Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival
Doyle Park, Little Chute, Wisconsin
June 5–7  
Every June, Little Chute, Wisconsin, honors dairy month with a "cheesy" celebration—the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival! The weekend kicks off with the Big Cheese Parade, followed by a wide variety of activities including cheese carving demonstrations, cheese curd eating contests, cheesecake contests and free cheese tastings.

Ready for a break from all that gooey deliciousness? The event also has a petting zoo, balloon creations, a chainsaw artist and amusement rides. Want more? How about juggling, karate or wine tasting? No matter how you cut it, this is an event not to be missed.

For more information, visit
Burlington Chocolate Festival

7. Burlington Chocolate Festival
Burlington, Wisconsin
May 22–25  
Who knew there was an entire festival dedicated to...chocolate? That's right! The Burlington Chocolate Fest is honoring the "Pirates of the Chocolate Be'an" in their annual chocolate extravaganza. Festival goers get to eat chocolate, wear chocolate, make art with chocolate and even pair chocolate with wine.

For the first time this year, there will be a Project Runway-inspired candy-wrapper fashion design contest, a children's parade and a geocache treasure hunt. Not to mention culinary demonstrations and a chocolate bake-off. Mmmm...delicious.

For more information, visit


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