Are you an adventurous foodie looking for unique culinary experiences? We’ve compiled a list of the weirdest food festivals from around the world that are sure to make you go “WTF”. From deep-fried insects to fermented fish, these unique food festivals offer an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.
1. Bug Fest – Raleigh, USA
Held in late September, this weird food festival celebrates all things buggy. From chocolate-covered crickets to mealworm stir fry, visitors can sample an array of insect delicacies. They have bug-free food as well but where’s the fun in that?!
2. Cheese Rolling Festival – Gloucester, England
This is one of the funniest food festivals around. Held every May sees participants racing down a steep hill while chasing a wheel of cheese. As always, people get injured, hopes get crushed and only one will get the cheese. It’s a unique event that has been going on for centuries.
3. Roadkill Cook-Off – Marlinton, USA
Held every September, this food festival is not for the faint of heart. Participants are challenged to cook up tasty dishes using roadkill like, you guessed it, squirrel, deer, and raccoon. It may sound gross but apparently, the dishes are surprisingly delicious.
4. La Tomatina – Bunol, Spain
A festival that is somewhat more popular, La Tomatina takes place on the last Wednesday of August in the town of Bunol. People will then start a massive food fight using whatever ammunition they have nearby, in this case tomatoes, overripe tomatoes. They will then literally paint the town red. It’s wild, it’s messy which makes it a veritable tourist magnet.
5. South by Southwest festival – Austin, USA
Hosted by celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, SXSW is a weird food festival featuring exotic and unusual foods from around the world. From cow brain tacos to deep-fried tarantulas, visitors can taste some of the most bizarre foods on the planet.
6. Herring Festival – Siglufjordur, Iceland
Every August, the small town of Siglufjordur celebrates its love for herring with a funny food festival. Visitors can try a variety of herring dishes, including fermented herring, which is considered rather an acquired taste.
7. La Pourcailhade – Trie-Sur-Baise, France
From herring to pork, this weird food festival in August is dedicated to all things pork-related. From pig races to sausage-making competitions, pork costumes and pork-themes games, visitors can indulge in all kinds of porky goodness.
8. Lopburi Monkey Banquet – Lopburi, Thailand
Held on the last Sunday of November, this food festival is a feast for monkeys. The residents of Lopburi prepare a lavish feast of fruits, vegetables, and other treats for the town’s macaque population.
9. World Grits Festival – St. George, USA
Every April, the town of St. George hosts a weird food festival dedicated to grits. From grits-eating contests to a parade featuring grits-themed floats, this festival is a must-visit for grits lovers and for those who are not gluten-intolerant.
10. Barnesville Potato Festival – Minnesota, USA
This is big for potato lovers, they get to enjoy their favorite vegetable cooked in a ton of ways while wrestling in a weird potato mud.
11. Fête du Citron – Menton, France
Talk about your daily dose of vitamin C! They decorate the city with around 145 tones of oranges and lemons and not just by putting them in baskets, these guys go all the way. We’re talking about huge and intricate displays that will be on show for three weeks.
12. Oyster Festival – Galway, Ireland
Held each September, this festival is a celebration of Ireland’s famous Galway oysters. Visitors can sample oysters prepared in all sorts of ways, from raw on the half shell to grilled with garlic butter. Or they can try to beat the 2005 record of the most oysters eaten in three minutes – 233.
13. Chinchilla Melon Festival – Chinchilla, Australia
Every two years, the town of Chinchilla hosts a weird food festival dedicated to melons. Visitors can enjoy melon-themed activities and games, including a melon-eating competition and melon bungee jumping. There’s sticky watermelon and ooey gooey seeds everywhere!
14. Spam Jam – Waikiki, USA
This funny food festival held every April celebrates Spam, the canned meat product. Visitors can try Spam musubi, Spam burgers, and other Spam-based dishes while enjoying live music and entertainment. Want to keep things healthy and fresh? Add a salad.
15. Durian Festival – Chanthaburi, Thailand
Durian is a famously divisive fruit, with a strong odor that some find impossible to tolerate. But for those who love it, the Durian Festival in Chanthaburi is a must-visit. Visitors can sample durian in all sorts of forms, from fresh fruit to durian ice cream.
16. Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival – Florida, USA
You are either totally in or totally out with this one. Popularized by the French cuisine – where they’re a full on delicacy, frog legs have their very own festivals with themed food, rides and live events.
17. Bacon Festival – Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Held annually in February, this festival is a bacon-lover’s dream come true. You can sample all sorts of bacon-inspired dishes, from bacon-wrapped dates to bacon mac and cheese, keep it fancy or go for the classics, your choice.
18. Pizzafest – Naples, Italy
As the birthplace of pizza, Naples hosts an annual pizza festival every September. This is paradise on earth for us carb lovers: you can enjoy all sorts of pizza varieties, including the classic margherita and even fried pizza.
19. Ugly Food Festival – Iceland
And no, we’re not talking about eating oddly shaped vegetables that might otherwise end up in the trash. The festival revolves around food like blood pudding, liver pudding, boiled sheep head, pickled ram’s testicles, rotten shark and co. Hard to digest for the usual stomach, these will take a bit of convincing to stay down.
20. Humongous Fungus Fest – Michigan, USA
A whole festival dedicated to just one mushroom, humongous fungus. Engage in all sorts of sporty competitions and be rewarded with the sight of a 10 x 10 feet mushroom pizza.
21. Cheese Curd Festival – Wisconsin, USA
Or how much cheese can you have in one day? Ellsworth, WI, or as they like to be referred to, “cheese curd capital,” has a huge cheese curd festival each June.
22. Night of the Radishes – Oaxaca, Mexico
A food festival focused on creating overly complicated radish sculptures. A festival with a history spanning over more than a century, this started when local merchants started carving random designs which were then sold during the Christmas season.
23. The Testicle Festival – Clinton, Montana
This festival, held annually in late July, is all about eating…well, you guessed it. Rocky Mountain Oysters, aka deep-fried bull testicles, are the star of the show. Connaisseurs seem to be head over heels for them so why not?!
Bonus: Gilroy Garlic Festival – Gilroy, USA, CANCELED
Held every July, this funny food festival celebrated all things garlic. Visitors were able to try garlic ice cream, garlic fries, and garlic bread while enjoying live music and entertainment.
You don’t have to be a foodie to enjoy these equally unique and weird food festivals, you can go just for the sport events or music. Either way, fun will be guaranteed.
Still hungry for more? How about the weirdest soups in the world to satisfy your appetite?
What is the world’s biggest food festival?
Taste of Chicago is the world’s largest food festival, spanning over five days in July in Chicago, Illinois in Grant Park, with more than 3 million people attending this event.