Festival Ideas For Small Towns – Food festivals can bring big rewards. However, they also come with a lot of risk. The options are many – but the space in the stomach is limited.
Create a program, run it well and make yourself the ruler of all reviews. Try to find a mass of tasty weapons with unknown unknowns and you will easily find yourself in a quagmire.
Festival Ideas For Small Towns
I cover this in detail in my upcoming book, Eat More Better: How to Make Every Bite More Delicious, where I warn of the bad decisions that can be made when shrouded in the fog of food festival warfare. (Hint: See Sun Tzu’s The Art of War for guidance.)
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1. Do your research before you go. You want to know the details of the particular festival in question. What food will be served? To quote Sun Tzu, “A general who loses a battle makes only a little calculation in advance.”
2. Come early. Get there the moment the gates open, when the lines are short and the booths are stocked.
3. Read all the options before you start spending. The first rule of good buffet strategy applies here too – watch the scene! As Sun Tzu writes, “He wins his battles without fail.”
4. Gain intelligence from other foods. See something on someone’s plate that looks good? Find out where it’s from and if it tastes as good as it looks.
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5. Be careful while walking the line. Is the food in the booth pre-made or custom? The answer will greatly affect the speed of line movement.
6. Monitor the length of lines at popular stands. When someone falls short, hit hard. As Sun Tzu said, “If [the opponent] is comfortable, don’t give him a break.”
7. Come prepared. Bringing your water in a reusable bottle is better for the environment and your bottom line. Bring plastic containers to wrap leftovers or eat a full meal. Even bring a baking sheet so you can prepare food from multiple stalls, then bring it all to your table (hats off to pastry chef Emily Kenn).
8. Implement the buddy system. You and your friend choose two foods that you both want to try. Split up, get one each and meet at a predetermined location. For best results, try to choose two bases with almost identical contours.
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Participating in a summer food festival can be a lot of fun. However, you should plan everything to avoid any situation. Make sure you plan your summer vacation with a Maine bus charter to transport your group.
Here are ten fruit “capitals of the world” across the United States that represent the best of small towns where, for one magical time of year, all fruits reign supreme and local festivals celebrate their lush, sunny harvests in high gear.
California may produce more strawberries, but Ponchatoula strawberries are almost always bigger and sweeter. Some say the nutrients in the Mississippi River are the secret to the sweet taste. After all, this small town has been officially named the Strawberry Capital of the World since 1968.
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When the fruit ripens between February and Mother’s Day, you’ll be treated to amazing strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, even strawberry fritters—although nothing beats plain old strawberries and cream. Don’t forget to pose by the larger-than-usual strawberry across the street and next to City Hall.
Festival City: The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival in April features live music, carnival rides, queen and king parades, strawberry eating contests and a big crowd.
With the highly touted health benefits of blueberries, you’d think the small South Jersey town of Hammonton would be more famous. But that’s part of its charm, remaining anonymous while producing some of the best blueberries in the world. It is a little known fact that cultivated blueberries are actually “born”. While blueberries have been harvested by Native Americans for centuries, it was Elizabeth Coleman White (known as the Blueberry Queen) who had to domesticate wild berries in her early 20s.
Festival City: The Red, White and Blueberry Festival takes place in June, when all things blueberry are available – herbs, cannoli, pies and fresh berries. Live music, craft vendors and eating contests are part of the fun.
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As you shop at your local supermarket and buy frozen blackberries for your breakfast smoothie, you can bet that these berries were likely picked at peak ripeness in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. There, the blackberry frenzy reignites when the fresh berries arrive in August, and farm stands and pick-your-own farms—especially around Canby, Oregon City, and Molalla—display all things raspberry. Driving circles links the best sites. Also, keep an eye out for Marionberries, the so-called “blackberry cabernets” that overflow the farms, especially in, naturally, Marion County.
Festival City: To be honest, Oregon is home to a lot of blackberry festivals. One of the best is Lowell’s week-long Blackberry Jam festival at the end of July in the southern Willamette Valley.
At the height of summer in Door County, you can’t escape the cherries—at cherry stands, at pick farms, cherry-inspired restaurant menus, cherry-themed cooking classes, cherry cocktails, cherry wine. Cue, a panoramic view of thousands of acres of orchards blooming with brilliant fruit. But a good epitome of cherries can be found at the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek with its nationally ranked cherry-filled French toast.
Festival Town: Local orchards host festivals throughout the cherry picking season, including the Summer Cherry Picking Festival at Lautnach Orchard Winery and Country Market near Fish Creek and the Seaquist Orchards Farm Market Cherry Festival in Sister Bay. The city of Jacksonport’s largest cherry-themed community festival, Cherry Fest, is held on the first Saturday of every August. Expect arts and crafts, food, music and, of course, lots of cherries.
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Do you think Georgia has a peach corner? In mid-May, the highway between Fredericksburg and Stonewall in the Texas Hill Country is lined with peach stands, proving that peaches love Texas, too. Covering about 600 acres around Fredericksburg, the orchards have been family-run for generations—one of the secrets to the region’s delicious sweet fruit. Another is the fact that dozens of varieties have been planted, which promises the development of ripe peaches from May to early August.
Festival City: In the state of peach festivals, the Stonewall Peach Jamboree takes place the third weekend in June, with a rodeo, dance, parade, plus plenty of peach cobbler, peach ice cream and, of course, fresh peaches.
In a county that grows an abundance of delicious berries, there is one berry that stands out: the almighty red raspberry. Located in the Dutch-flavored town of Linden, Whatcom County produces more than two-thirds of the country’s raspberries (including those found in the freezer section of your local grocery store). Now that’s a lot of fruit. In July, you’ll find them filling Linden’s fruit stalls and markets—though the best way to enjoy them is by bike or ride through the town’s fields.
Festival City: The Northwest Raspberry Festival is held in Linden in July, with a run/walk through the raspberry fields, berry picking, a raspberry dessert contest and raspberry wine sampling.
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The small mountain town of Superior is nestled in the vast Sonoran Desert, amid thickets of prickly pear. In August, the cactus produces a sweet fruit that is not harvested on its own, but the locals know how to turn it into jam, candies, and even delicious syrup for pancakes. At local restaurants and bakeries, you’ll find a variety of amazing prickly pear-inspired drinks. Oh, and it’s also great raw.
Festival City: Who doesn’t love a margarita festival? The Prickly Pear Festival, which began as a series of classes at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, celebrates the fruit in August with food demonstrations, guest speakers, vendors selling all things prickly pear, prickly pear and more.
Of course, key limes are the ingredient of choice in the famous Keys Pie. But those wacky Floridians didn’t stop there. Kilimo-inspired treats abound, from key lime chocolate to barbecue sauces, marinades and conditioning shampoos. The first key limes likely arrived in the Keys with the Spanish in the 1500s, though here’s a sad fact: Thanks to the destruction of key lime plantations in a hurricane in 1926, today’s key limes mostly come from other parts of Florida or Mexico. Although given the celebration of all things Key lime in the Keys, you’d never know it.
Festival City: Not every fruit festival is within a foot of the lighthouse. Or a fruity rum flavor. Or drink a cocktail and take a walk. But that’s Key West for you, and the Florida Keys’ Key Lime Festival in early July has all that and more.
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In 1971, Peterson divested himself of the stake and declared himself the Apricot Capital of the World. Apricot production there has since declined somewhat to become fully legal, but