From Maine lobsters to Gilroy garlic to the potatoes of Idaho, America's unique regional specialties are always worth celebrating. And that's why small towns across the country turn their Main Streets into parade routes, crowning new queens and hold cooking competitions of all stripes. Get the flavor of America as we go behind the scenes at the food festivals such as the Hope Watermelon Festival, the National Hard Crab Derby Competition, the Chuckwagon Cook-Off and the Bridge City Gumbo Festival. See the newest Miss Cheese Curd crowned, root for your favorite Spud Tug champion, watch the wacky floats and follow the competitors as they celebrate regional foods..
The Gilroy Garlic Festival - Gilroy, CA
The Garlic Capital of the World celebrates it's "stinking rose" by eating everything from Garlic Duck Potstickers to Garlic Ice Cream. Chat with the Garlic Queen, visit a garlic processing plant, and meet the contestants in the dramatic garlic cook-off.
The Maine Lobster Festival - Rockland, ME
In a picturesque seaside village, locals and tourists come to devour tons of soft-shell lobster in one weekend. See the annual crate race, and watch a mother try to defeat the reigning seafood cook-off champ, who just happens to be her daughter.
Barnesville Potato Days - Barnesville, MN
Hundreds of miles from Idaho, a small town in Minnesota claims to raise the best spuds in the states. At this festival, potatoes aren't just for eating - there's potato sculpture, potato sack clothing, and mashed potato wrestling, and a potato cook-off.
The Hard Crab Derby - Crisfield, MD
On beautiful Chesapeake Bay, locals get crabby and celebrate their favorite crustacean. Visitors flock to see the races where hundreds of crabs compete to see which is the fastest. Meet Miss Crustacean and taste the feasts from the crab cook-off.
Cowboy Symposium - Rudioso, NM
The Wild West is celebrated in a weekend where everything is coming up cowboy. Cowboy poetry, roping, and trick riding, and a chuckwagon cook-off. 25 teams will compete over an open fire in the same way cowboys have been preparing meals for generations.
Bridge City Gumbo Festival - Bridge City, LA
Almost as integral to New Orleans as Mardi Gras, a hoot-n-holler tribute to Cajun's version of spicy stew. More than 20 locals will compete in the seafood and chicken gumbo categories. Over 2,000 gallons of gumbo will be served to the crowd.
National Goat Cook-Off
A Texas town of 6,000 grows to 30,000 for one weekend, as 150 teams of goat cookers gather to determine who has the best goat recipe. Meet a family for whom goat cooking is a tradition, and meet a couple who met at the cook-off.
St. Joe Pickle Festival - St. Joseph, IN
In the small town of St. Joseph's, pickles come in more flavors than Baskin RObbins...39 varieties to sweeten your sandwich and curl your toes. Witness a pickle cook-off where pickels are put in everything from jello to cake.
Kona Coffee Festival - Kona Region, HI
In this lush landscape, which produces some of the world's best coffee beans, locals compete in a cook-off where Kona coffee is one of the main ingredients in breads, cakes, and other dishes. We'll also visit some local coffee farmers.
Harvest Festival/Roadkill Cook-off - Marlinton, WV
Trave to a small West Virginia town and you'll find a tongue-in-cheek wild game cook-off. No real roadkill is involved...but venison and frog are country delicacies. Do you know what parts of a squirrel are good eatin'? We do.
Apple Days - Cashmere, WA
In the core of Washington state one weekend a year is set aside to honor the apple and its history. Witness an Apple pie baking contest where teenage sisters will be challenging the champ, who's been in this bake-off longer than they've been alive.
St. Mary's Oyster Festival - MD
Slurping is considered good manners at this annual party on Maryland's western shore. A new world champion oyster shucker will be crowned, thousands of oysters will be enjoyed. And an oyster cook-off will show the best of coastal cooking.
National Buffalo Wing Festival
Buffalo, NY is known as the place where America's favorite Buffalo Wing was born. Restaurateurs from all over come with their secret wing sauce recipes to compete in the Buffalo Wing cooking competition. There's also a wing eating contest.
Morton Pumpkin Festival
Morton, IL hosts its 36th Annual Pumpkin Festival. Follow our anxious contestants as they whip up delectable pumpkin pastries, pasta and pies in the Pumpkin Cookery Contest. Watch an impressive pumpkin parade, pumpkin decorating, and pumpkin rides.
Hopkins County, TX Stew Festival
Hopkins County Stew is unique and no 2 stews taste alike. We'll follow the contestants as they prepare 107 varieties of Hopkins County Stew for the local judges, for The Super Stew competition.. Contenders also compete for the award of Super Campsite.
Warrens Cranberry Festival
Warrens, WI is home to one of the country's biggest cranberry festivals. This festival boasts over 80 food booths, a cranberry parade, a crowned Cranberry Queen and The Cranberry Cookoff. Watch as judges sample each entryand announce the winner.
International Rice Festival
Each year, Crowley, LA lures rice fans to Cajun Country to pay tribute to rice. This festival boasts a Rice Eating Contest, the naming of the Rice Queen and the Rice Parade, as well as the Rice Cooking Contests with recipes from rice pudding to jambalaya.
California Avocado Festival
In Carpinteria, CA there's a tradition of celebrating the Avocado. From Avocado Cheerleaders to the Mr. Avocado Head mascot, to the "Largest Bowl of Guacamole" and "Best Guacamole" competitions. Also catch a glimpse of the best dressed Avocado.
Hatch Chili Festival
Hatch, NM is chile heaven and mecca to Chileheads who gather at the Hatch Chile Festival each year. Learn how to make chile relleno and hot salsa. Meet the Chile Queen, the sweating contestants in the chile-eating contest, and march in the Hatch Chile.
National Shrimp Festival
Every year, Gulf Shores, AL is host to the grandest shrimp-eating gala in the country-The National Shrimp Festival. Take a ride on a shrimp boat, enjoy tons of mouth-watering shrimp, and see who gets the privilege of donning the "Best of the Fest" banner.
Big Pig Jig Cook Off
Over 100 teams head south to Vienna, GA to compete at the Annual Big Pig Jig. We'll follow our dynamic contestants as they baste and taste their recipe for pig perfection. There's also a Hog Show, Hog Calling Championship, and the Pig Jig Parade.
East Texas Yamboree
People in Gilmer, Texas are thankful for their yams and they decided to celebrate with East Texas Yamboree. Check out how they are grown and sample the wares at the Yam Pie Contest plus attend the Yamboree Queen's Coronation and parade
The National Peanut Festival
65% of the peanuts grown in the United States come from an area within a 50-mile radius of Dothan, Alabama so it is the natural home of The National Peanut Festival. Find out which of the 100 plus creative peanut dishes will win big in the National Peanut Recipe Contest.
11th Annual Indio International Tamale Festival
Indio, CA plays host to the International Tamale Festival. It kicks off with a colossal parade featuring caballeras on horseback, and marching bands. We'll see 2 generations of tamale cooks as they create tamales for entry in the Tamale Cooking Contest.
Duck Gumbo Festival - Stuttgart, AR
From who is crowned Queen Mallard to the winner of the Duck calling contest, see all the festivities involved in the annual Duck Gumbo Festival in Stuttgart, AR
Rattlesnake Roundup - Sweetwater, TX
Sweetwater boasts the largest rattlesnake roundup and throws a celebration each year in honor of their reptilian residents. Hundreds gather to share their best rattlesnake recipes at the yearly cook-off. The rattlesnake eating contest rounds out the fun.
Sausage Festival - Hermann, MO
Each year, Hermann celebrates with a Sausage Festival and sausage makers from far and wide come to present their best wursts to a panel of sausage judges. We'll follow contestants as they make delectable leberwurst, bratwurst and specialty sausage.
Onion Festival - Vidalia, GA
Each year, residentsof Vidalia, GA put their best onion dish forward to try and win the festival's cooking contest. We visit an onion farm and learn how they are grown and processed for sale. The Onion Eating Contest crowns the King of the Onion Eater.
Strawberry Festival - Poteet, TX
Poteet, Texas boasts the sweetest strawberries in the land and throws a festival each year to let the world know it. There is a Best Berry competition where we'll watch our anxious contestants as they prepare their fare for the Taste of Texas Foods Show.
Asparagus Festival - Stockton, CA
Stockton, CA is home to the Stockton Asparagus Festival. We'll see participants in the asparagus cooking contest, at Asparagus Alley we'll see a variety of asparagus dishes, and The Deep Fry Zone features deep fried asparagus!
Cornbread Festival - Pittsburgh, TN
In South Pittsburg, TN, they celebrate this favorite Dixieland food at the National Cornbread Festival. See top ten finalists take center stage in the cornbread cooking competition. Also check out Downhome Dixie Cornbread, Pizzalicious Cornbread, and Holly's Hillbilly Cornbread. Finally, a cornbread eating contest!
Maple Syrup Festival - St. Albans, VT
St. Albans, VT is home to thousands of sugaring maple trees. To celebrate the end of the sugaring season, throngs of people head to the annual Maple Festival to fill up on Maple Covered Popcorn, Maple Cotton Candy, to see who is crowned Maple Queen, and to participate in the Maple Cooking Contest.
Crawfish Festival - Breaux Bridge, LA
Breaux Bridge, LA salutes their favorite crustacean with the annual Crawfish Festival. Fest goers eat, drink and celebrate in Cajun style. Nearly 20 teams compete to please the judges with their special brand of crawfish stew. We'll meet the Crawfish Queen and witness a crawfish eating contest.
Cinco de Mayo Festival - San Marcos, TX
In San Marcos, TX, the annual Cinco De Mayo celebration is filled with flamenco, floats and food served up south of the border style. 40 teams compete to make the best Menudo. See the Folklorico Dancers, who gets crowned Miss Cinco de Mayo, and watch the confetti fly in the Cinco De Mayo parade.
Jambalaya Festival - Gonzales, LA
Gonzales, Louisiana is the "Jambalaya Capitol of the World" and every year they hold a Jambalaya jubilee to celebrate this local specialty made with rice, sausage, chicken, seafood, onions and a lot of Cajun spice and love cooked up in a cast iron kettle. 102 teams compete for the championship title and one thousand dollars.
Kodiak Seafood Festival - Kodiak Island, AK
Nothing grows small on the tiny island of Kodiak, Alaska. From King Crab to King Salmon, this anything goes seafood festival celebrates its spectacular fishing and maritime history. The festival fare and 1st Annual Seafood Cook-off has recipes to suit all the inhabitants of the area.
Cheese Festival - Little Chute, WI
Each year the town of Little Chute, Wisconsin celebrates the great Wisconsin Cheese Festival to honor one of their largest exports - cheese. A cheese float-filled parade kicks off the festivities and a cheddar carving contest results in masterpieces including a cheesy Elvis Presley sculpture. The Cheesecake Baking Contest is a feast for the eyes as well as the judges tastebuds and a Cheese Tasting satiates the hunger of ravenous cheeseheads who come from far and wide to try and buy all things cheese.
Dairy Festival - Sulphur Springs, TX
East Texas is a hot spot for a cool treat. The National Dairy Festival takes place each year in Sulphur Springs to the delight of its residents and dairy lovers everywhere. It?s the site of the Texas State Championship Ice Cream Freeze-Off. We see how contestants create their favorite homemade ice cream recipes for the event. And we learn how to make ice cream in a coffee can. The Dairy Festival Queen contestants face off in, among other things, an old-fashioned Cow Milking Contest.
Alpine Dutch Oven Cook-Off - Alpine, WY
Alpine, Wyoming is host to Alpine Mountain Days and Dutch Oven Cook-off. Participants in the Dutch Oven Cook-off bring their covered wagons and best old west dress and whip up their finest gourmet dishes over an open fire.
Catfish Festival - Des Allemands, LA
In Des Allemands, LA they love catfish. Each year they hold the Des Allemands Catfish Festival. We'll meet a fisherman who woos the fish with a Cajun serenade. We'll meet 2 sisters who try to overthrow the reigning king of the Catfish Recipe Contest.
Sauerkraut Festival - Phelps, NY
In Phelps, NY, they're celebrating their favorite side dish - sauerkraut. At the Sauerkraut Cooking Contest, people make everything from sauerkraut fudge, and salsa to sauerkraut key lime pie. We'll visit a farm and find out how cabbage becomes sauerkraut.
Peach Festival - Palisade, CO
In Palisade, CO they're celebrating peaches at the Palisade Peach Festival. We follow contestants in the Peach Recipe Contest to see whose dish wins. We also see the Peach Parade, Peach Ice Cream Social and Peach Pancake Breakfast.
Blueberry Festival - Union, Maine
In Union, Maine, they celebrate the Wild Blueberry Festival. We find out who wins the Blueberry Bubblegum Blowing Contest and we follow contestants in the Blueberry Pie Making Contest. Fried blueberries are also a big hit with festival goers.
Marshmallow Festival - Ligonier, IN
In Ligonier, Indiana sticky fingers are the norm at the annual Ligonier Marshmallow Festival. We follow our contestants as they create delicious marshmallow filled desserts and find out which dishes the judges love best.
Mushroom Festival - Kennett Square, PA
In Kennett Square, PA thousands gather to honor the mighty mushroom. Festival folk will be consuming mushroom bisque, pizza and pumpkin mushroom ice cream. We also see all kinds of mushroom concoctions at the Mushroom Cooking Contest.
World Chicken Festival - London, KY
In London, KY, they're full of pride at the World Chicken Festival. Our defending champion is in the Chicken Recipe Contest hoping to keep her coveted title. Plus, who speaks the best chicken? We feature the winner of the Chicken Clucking contest.
Hush Puppy Championships - Lufkin, TX
In Lufkin, TX they celebrate by hosting a cook-off devoted to the art of making hush puppies. Filled with cream cheese, shrimp, crawfish, and just about anything imaginable, these gourmet hush puppies are made to wow the judges and the bystanders.
Pig Out at the Park - Macon, GA
In Macon, GA at the Annual Pig Out at the Park cook-off, 13 chefs and their teams compete to prove they've got the best pit fired pork around. From spices and rubs to sauces and flavorful marinades, these cooks know all the tricks of the trade.
Coconut Festival - Kapa'a on Kauai, HI
In Kapa'a on Kauai they're crazy for coconuts. We see contestants in the First Annual Coconut Recipe Contest create coconut filled appetizers and desserts and we learn tree climbing and coconut cracking. Find out who wins the pie eating contest.
Italian Festival - Reno, NV
In Reno, NV at the Great Italian Food Festival, 17 Italian families compete to find out whose mama had the best spaghetti sauce recipe of all. And the Italian Festival parade is a fun time for folks to show off their Old World pride.
Chocolate Festivals - Oakhurst, CA
At the Oakhurst Chocolate Festival they're gobbling up America's favorite sweet. Chefs in the chocolate baking competition create wonderful fare crafted from cocoa. Feast your eyes on an All-You-Can-Eat Chocolate buffet or the chocolate pie-eating contest.
Christmas Festivals - Demopolis, AL
We'll travel deep into barbeque country, Demopolis, Alabama, where Christmas takes on a southern flare. We visit blizzardy Kennebunkport, Maine for a holiday festival on a snow-covered pier. San Francisco celebrates The Great Dickens Christmas Fair.
Citrus Festival - Winter Haven, FL
Winter Haven, FL holds a tribute to citrus fruit, a weekend filled with festival fun and fabulous food. Tempt your taste buds at the citrus cooking contest, learn the secret to preparing grapefruit pies, and find out if one contestant can win first place.
Carrot Festival - Holtville, CA
Welcome to the carrot capital of the world, Holtville, CA. Visit a carrot farm, meet a carrot eating dog, witness the Carrot Parade and the carrot relay race, and watch the cook-off as the town celebrates its favorite vegetable.
Pancake Festival - Liberal, KS
Liberal, KS and Olney, England celebrate International Pancake Day by holding a Festival and Pancake Race. Discover new recipes, meet the cooks, learn the winner of the recipe contest, and take a tour of a small pancake mix factory.
Star of Texas BBQ - Austin, TX
In Austin, Texas join in on the festivities as 50 of the greatest "backyard chef" teams battle it out through 5 categories for the title of Best Barbecue. Categories include Chicken, Beans, Bloody Mary, Brisket and a Jackpot category where anything goes.
Grits Festival - Warwick, GA
In Warwick, GA at the National Grits Festival people get in over their head for this southern treat. The cooking competition brings out some of the most innovative and creative grits dishes around, and festival-goers marvel at the Grits Making Machine.
Sugar Festival - Clewiston, FL
In Clewiston, FL and at the annual Sugar Festival they're raising cane. This festival has enough sugar to sweeten any crowd. Watch the Sweet Taste of Sugar Cook-Off and Get those taste buds ready...because a sugar rush is about to hit southern Florida.
Cajun Pirate Days - Lake Charles, LA
In Lake Charles, LA, pirates and Cajun food have been around for centuries, and they're celebrating this unique combination with a Cajun barbecue cook-off. These Cajun cooks are spicing up their bbq with a little Cajun mojo.
Artichoke Festival - Castroville, CA
At the annual Artichoke Festival In Castroville, CA, host Jim O'Connor dives in head first into this annual ode to the artichoke. Check out the Artichoke Cook-Off, march in the Artichoke Parade, and meet the very first Artichoke Queen.
Chowder Festival - Newport, RI
In Newport, Rhode Island, everyone's a chowda head. At the great chowder cook-off, there are dozens of different chowders to choose from. 36 teams compete for $6,500 in prize money, plus gain big bragging rights as America's Best Chowder.
Tomato Festival - Warren, AR
They're packin' em in at the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival. Here, folks are eating them raw or green, battered up and fried. At the Great Bowls of Fire Salsa Contest, tomato-lovin' judges need an extinguisher to put out the flames in their mouths.
Cherry Festival - Eau Claire, MI
The Eau Claire Cherry Festival is a weekend of puckering and pageantry. Contestants in the Great Cherry Baking Contest are packing them in pies and pastries. So head on out to cherry country where the berries are ripe for the pickin'.
Raspberry Festival - Hopkins, MN
In Hopkins, Minnesota at this festival raspberries take center stage in everything from juice to jam to shortcake to smoothies. The Raspberry Cook-Off reveals the most talented berry bakers. So indulge in the delicious fruits of this labor of love.
Pretzel Festival - Freeport, IL
In Freeport, IL folks are so pumped up for the Freeport Pretzel Festival, they're twisting and shouting to celebrate this salty snack. People are even lining up in a show of pretzel power at the pretzel recipe contest. It's a festival with a twist.
Pierogi Festival in Whiting, IN
At the annual Pierogi Festival in Whiting, IN pierogi fans line the streets. But it's the pierogi makers who are trying to win the Perfect Pierogi Cook-Off. At stake is honor, recognition and the pursuit of pierogi pride.
Fajitas Festival in Clute, TX
At the Great Texas Mosquito Festival and Fajita Cook-off, man and bug unite for one big barbecue bash. Forty-four teams are stroking the coals, and flippin? the skirt steak, determined to take home the prized trophy and an invitation to compete in another Texas cook-off.
Hot Dog Festival in Frankfort, IN
Frankfort, Indiana is going to the dogs, hotdogs that is. The hot dog recipe contest promises to be a dog eat dog battle. It?s gonna be a tail wagging good time, so hop on the hotdog bandwagon.
Rib Burn-Off in Canton, OH
Football stars and barbecue lovers converge at the Hall of Fame Festival in Canton, OH. While players get inducted, grillers, smokers, and pit masters go head-to-head to find out who makes the best barbecue ribs in the state.
Mustard Festival in Mount Horeb, WI
In Mount Horeb, WI the mustard cook-off features ten finalists schmearing a variety of pungent spreads as they compete for the homemade mustard trophy. Roll out the yellow carpet and find out what happens when mustard and custard unite, cause it?s mustard mania like you?ve never seen.
Hamburger Festival in Seymour, WI
In the "Top This Burger" Cook-Off, twelve contestants try to top each other as they grill up the tastiest burgers in Wisconsin. The crowds gather as the grills heat up. It?s time to open wide and take a big juicy bite at the Seymour Hamburger Festival.
Guitarbeque in Asbury Park, NJ
There?s no place that brings mean strings and fiery pits together quite like the Guitarbecue in historic Asbury Park, New Jersey. Here, 17 teams smoke top-notch ribs, pork, chicken, and brisket. While barbeque judges take their oaths, competitors race against the clock.
Bison-tennial Festival in Yankton, SD
In Yankton South Dakota, they?re taking the bull by the horns to celebrate the American frontier and the journey of Lewis and Clark. Fifteen teams go head to head in the Great Plains Bison-Tennial Dutch Oven Cook-off.
Chili Festival in Cincinnati, OH
In downtown Cincinnati, bowls are a blazin?. In the chili cook-off, professional Chiliheads sauce things up in hopes of winning an invite to the world championships in sin city. So hop on, and take a ride as we embark on a tasty journey of chili - Cincinnati style.
Popcorn Festival in Marion OH
In Marion Ohio, popcorn is king. The whole town is bopping? hopping? popping, and they can?t help getting a little corny. In the popcorn recipe contest, contestants are up against other creative cooks. So pop in on a party for popcorn lovers.
Enchilada Festival in Las Cruces, NM
The town of Las Cruces, New Mexico is really BIG on enchiladas. At the Whole Enchilada Festival, everyone gets together to have a hot time and celebrate the flavor of the Southwest
Grape Festival in Naples, NY
In Naples, New York, they glory in grapes. So each year they get together to enjoy the fruit of the vine at the Naples Grape Festival. In the World?s Greatest Grape Pie Contest, it?s a fight to the finish in the battle of the purple pies.
Pizza Festival in Farmingdale, NY
At the Long Island Pizza Festival in Farmingdale, top pizzerias vie for the prestige and title of best pizzeria on the island. Watch as they battle for oven space, and heavyweight pizza eaters battle full bellies. Mamma Mia!