Food Festivals: Eating Your Way Across The Northeast

The Hartford Courant

Taste garlic ice cream or turnip cake. Try your luck at becoming the nation's fastest Moxie chugger. Bake a creation for the world's greatest grape pie contest. Experience entertainment, family activities and parades. When folks gather to fete their favorite foods at festivals around the Northeast, it's the perfect recipe for a good time.

"People love food festivals," says Barbara W. Carolson, a Branford resident, who researched hundreds of the events for her book, "Food Festivals: Eating Your Way From Coast To Coast." (The book is currently out of print.) "Many of these have been going on for decades. Towns or regions get into being identified with a particular specialty. You'll see people walking around dressed up as onions or whatever food is being highlighted. You'll taste weird and wonderful things. These are fun and funny family happenings."

>>Like the Moxie Festival, held since 1982 on the second weekend in July, (July 11-13), in Lisbon, Maine. The event highlights the unusual beverage, now Maine's official soft drink, that was created by a local resident in the 1800s. Attendees sample Moxie pulled pork, Moxie crème Brule and other Moxie-based recipes. Information:

>>Here in Connecticut, Clinton's annual Bluefish Festival takes place on July 18 and 19 and features a seafood chowder cook-off, bluefish fishing tournament, entertainment and children's activities. Information:

>>Wardsboro, Vermont's Gilfeather Turnip Festival celebrates the vegetable that is said to have originated in the little town, (population is less than 900). This year's festival takes place on Saturday, Oct. 25, and features a turnip song sing along, turnip delicacy tastings, entertainment and sales of tuber-themed products and fresh turnips. Information:

>>For 53 years, people have been coming to Naples, a town at the southern end of Lake Canandaigua in New York, for the annual Naples Grape Festival. The two-day fair, taking place on Sept. 27 and 28, features entertainments, arts and crafts, winery tours, grape-centric food tastings and the World's Greatest Grape Pie Contest. Information:

>>"Vermont Stinks" is the motto for the state's Garlic and Herb Festival, an annual event in Bennington where visitors gather to sample all things garlic — including garlic ice cream and garlic margaritas. This year's event takes place on Aug. 30 and 31. Information:

>>Bourne, Mass, serves up more than three tons of scallops to close to 50,000 attendees at its annual Bourne Scallop Fest. Activities include arts and crafts, carnival rides and games, entertainment and kids' events. The American Bus Association named the Cape Cod happening as one of its top 100 events for 2014. Dates are Sept. 19, 20, 21. Information:

>>It's all eyes and ears in North Branford on the first weekend of August each year, when the Potato and Corn Festival draws visitors who sample baked potatoes and roasted corn and compete in potato sack races and corn shucking contests. The event, which takes place from July 31 to Aug. 3, also features midway rides, tractor pulls, entertainment and fireworks. Information:

>>Attendees show up to make whoopie at the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, to be held this year on June 28 in Dover-Foxcroft. Thousands of Whoopie Pies are served and organizers crown not a festival king or queen, but the "Big Whoop." The event features music, arts and crafts and children's activities. Information:

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