Summer Food Festivals: Your Guide to Stuff Your Face

Taste of Chicago
July 11-15, 2012
Chicago, Illinois
This outdoor food festival, located in beautiful Grant Park, highlights the diversity of Chicago's cuisine. Each day will showcase a new group of restaurants, set up as pop-Up restaurants. Some of the restaurants participating include Beat Kitchen, Austrian Bakery, and West Town Tavern. By purchasing a $40 pre-paid ticket, participants will be invited to "Celebrity Chef du Jour", where a guest chef will prepare a three-course meal, and converse with the guests. If you're looking for entertainment, the festival will feature evening concerts with performers such as Jennifer Hudson, Death Cab for Cutie, and Chaka Khan. In case you want to run off some of that food, sign up for the 20th Annual Race to Taste 5k Run/2-Mile Walk, which will be held on Thursday, July 12. Maybe your kids want to get in on the action, and if they do, enter them in the Fleet Feet Sports Kid's Dash, taking place in Butler Field on Saturday, July 14th. Don't miss out on this "taste" of Chicago!

Slugburger Festival
July 12-14, 2012
Corinth, Mississippi
Located at the historic Train Depot in Corinth, Mississippi, the annual Slugburger Festival will be put on for the twenty-fifth year in a row this summer. Don't worry! This hometown treasure is not made from gastropod mollusks. The slugburger is a combination of beef and a breading extender, deep-fat fried, and topped with mustard, pickle, and a generous amount of onions. Back when slugburgers were first created, they sold for a nickel. A slang word for nickel was a slug, and therefore, the name "slugburger" was born. Lately, soybean meal has been used at the breading extender, adding protein to this delicious burger. Vegetable oil is usually used to fry thesm, making them a little bit healthier. So come on down and grab a slugburger, and be sure to catch the Slug Idol contest, back by popular demand. Contestants will compete for money, as well as the title of "Slug Idol". The top three winners will have the opportunity to open the Slugburger Festival Friday night. With good food and entertainment, this festival is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Cheesemakers Festival
July 22, 2012
Shelburne Farms, Vermont

There is something rather charming about people gathering together to celebrate their passion for making and tasting cheese. Vermont is known for their plentiful number of cheesemakers, so therefore it should be no surprise that they have decided to create a whole festival around it. Patrons will be able to taste and buy cheese, along with sip some wine and beer to complement all the cheesy goodness. Even some experimental cheese flavors pop up--who would think to marry the flavors of chocolate or even lavender to cheese? Well, the cheesemakers at this festival seem to think so, and with all their experience, their skills are probably sharper than a bite of cheddar... if that wasn't too cheesy of a pun for this festival.

Gilroy Garlic Festival
July 27-29, 2012
Gilroy, California

For thirty-four years people have been flocking to Gilroy California to celebrate the four elements of life, food, beverages, arts and crafts, and entertainment. The Gilroy Garlic Festival's initial purpose was to share garlic-infused recipes with people from all over. There are also cook-offs, and recipe contests, as well as arts and crafts to keep people entertained and busy. Dishes like garlic fries, garlic chicken stir-fry, and garlic ice cream are only some of what you will see there. What is most intriguing about what goes on at Gilroy is the Gourmet Alley where patrons can enjoy food from a bunch of vendors. Such foods include steak tacos, fried garlic shrimp/chicken quesadillas, smoked beef brisket, calamari, and many more. Enjoy yourself but remember that food-gasming is socially unacceptable in public.

Maine Lobster Festival
August 1-5, 2012
Rockland's Harbor Park, Maine

You wont be able to keep your claws away from all the lobsters they will be serving at this festival! The 65th Annual Maine Lobster Festival wont just be dishing up fresh lobster, but will have music along with carnival rides and games for the whole family to enjoy. With games like children's Cod Fish Carry, Lobster Crate Race, 10K Road Race, Blindfold Row Boat Race, and the Little Lobster Diaper Derby, you wont just have a full tummy but a full day of activities. Also, during the five-day festival, there will be pancake breakfasts, parades, as well as Fisherman's platter of other seafood like shrimp, crab cakes, fried haddock, and fried calamari. With all the excitement going on at this festival, King Poseidon himself might just make an appearance.

National Buffalo Wing Festival
September 1-2, 2012
Coca-Cola Field Buffalo, New York

The concept for the festival was derived from the movie "Osmosis Jones." Bill Murray played a compulsive eater whose goal was to partake in the super bowl of junk food, The National Buffalo Wing Festival. Drew Cerza, also known as the Wing King, decided to make the fictional event into a reality. Cerza takes it one step further by donating a portion of the proceeds to local charities. Compete in a wing contest, enjoy the various entertainment acts, or make it a family event with Kidzone, this festival offers much more than just finger food.

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