In Gilroy, Calif., people line up to purchase watermelon, ice cream and chocolate, all laced with fresh, pungent garlic. Down in Florida, divers off Looe Key are serenaded with sounds ranging from a song sung by the Beatles to the high-pitched call of humpback whales.
These events are from just two of the countless fairs and festivals that are held throughout the year around the country. Here’s a sampling.
For 35 years, the Gilroy Garlic Festival has played host to one of the largest gatherings of foodies in the United States. Like most fairs based on a theme, this one includes its share of entertainment, music, arts and crafts. And like many, it benefits charities and nonprofit organizations.
Along with a chance to gnosh on garlicky treats, there are competitions for professional chefs, and a Great Garlic Cook-Off contest for amateurs. See gilroygarlicfestival.com.
At the Roadkill Cook-Off in Marlinton, W. Va., you can expose your taste buds to deer sausage, squirrel gravy over biscuits and teriyaki-marinated bear.The entrees haven’t actually been killed on a road but they’re on the menu in tribute to the large number of their cousins who were. See pccocwv.com/roadkill.
Residents of Clute, a town about a 45-minute drive from Houston, have turned a summer nuisance into the main attraction for the Great Texas Mosquito Festival.
When they’re not competing in mosquito calling and mosquito legs contests, participants hang out with Willie-Man-Chew, the festival mascot. Billed as the largest mosquito in the world, he (or she) stands 26 feet tall, sports a Texas-sized cowboy hat and boots, and has a proboscis that would be the envy of any self-respecting mosquito. See mosquitofestival.com.
At the Underwater Music Festival in the Lower Keys Sanctuary in Florida, the sea-focused playlist includes melodies like the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” and the theme from “The Little Mermaid.” Participants are encouraged to wear appropriate costumes, and some pretend to play whimsical underwater instruments made by a local sculptor. See lowerkeyschamber.com/festival.php.
Anyone who’s a fan of the “Game of Thrones” will feel at home dropping by one of the Renaissance fairs that are held in a number of states. Many seek to replicate life during the reign of British royalty.The usual order of business includes an abundance of period costumed entertainers and fair-goers, musical and theatrical acts, and stands selling art, handicrafts and food. Efforts to persuade members of the audience to participate in the fun and frivolity are usually part of the scene.To see a list of Renaissance Fairs log onto http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Renaissance_fairs.