‘Craziest food festivals’ sounds like a joke topic, but once you start looking into it you’ll realise they’re everywhere – the crazier, the better.
When you’re planning your gap year, we recommend trying to fit one of these gastronomic fiestas into your itinerary. I mean, who doesn’t want a selfie knee deep in tomatoes in some obscure Spanish town?
1. World Champion Tuna Toss Competition
Making waves each January in the Australian city of Port Lincoln is the Tunarama festival. Over three days people compete in all kinds of nautical contests, including the slippery pole comp, prawn peeling contest and sand sculpture trials.
The event everyone comes to catch is the World Champion Tuna Toss, where contestants hurl rubber fish as far as possible. Here’s a video!
2. Bibimbap Festival
The South Korean town of Jeonjuloves their dish of rice,raw beef, egg, veg and gochujang sauce so much, they take four days out of October to celebrate it.
Like any festival there’s music, entertainment and magic, but making it that little bit different is the epic bibimbap that’s whipped up in a giant bowl by dozens of chefs and served to over 400 people.
3. Waikiki Spam Jam
Who knew this canned meat had so much love? Well, it turns out that a can of Spam is the go-to item in Hawaii, along with a grass skirt and garland.
The people of Hawaii love Spam so much that they even dedicate a day in May to churning out the best Spam recipes.
4. Bessieres Easter Egg Festival
At Eastertime we British are dreaming of dipping into our Creme Eggs, but for those in the French town of Bessieres it’s all about an egg far less sweet.
Here they celebrate the religious holiday by getting dozens of chefs to make one giant omelette – 15,000 eggs strong - for the townsfolk. Not sure how they manage to pull that one off – I’m lucky if I don’t burn it when I use just three.
5. Roadkill Festival
In West Virginia, locals prefer their meat so fresh they trawl the highways for roadside tragedies. Once they find an unlucky deer or flattened rabbit, they add it to their dish to rev the taste up a gear.
The cooks then enter their morbid meals into this annual September competition where the winner receives a $1000 prize. And, of course, there’s a big party to start and end it.
6. La Tomatina
Possibly the world’s biggest food fight, La Tomatina pulls in people from across the world on the last Wednesday of each August.
Festivalgoers gather in the small Valencian town of Bunol, arm themselves with bundles of over-ripe tomatoes, and pound each other into a sticky mess. Once just a local event, this juicy fest has really taken off, and tickets are now needed to attend.
7. Potato Days Festival
Despite it being the food of the Irish, this festival actually takes place in Barnesville, Minnesota.
Over the last Friday and Saturday in August the town celebrates its spud-growing skills by hosting potato picking and peeling contests, as well as a Miss Tater Tot pageant for five and six year old girls.
8. Rabechilbi Richterswil
Like Halloween’s smaller but equally creepy cousin, Rabechilbi Richterswil happens in November in Switzerland. Locals cut and carve turnips into different shapes, insert candles like a jack-o’-lantern, and parade them through the Richterswil, Zurich.
The night apparently honours the churchgoers of the 1850s who lit the way to the chapel by walking with their twinkling turnips.
9. World Pea Shooting Championship
Those with a good aim and great blowing skills can visit Ely, England in July for their pea-shooting contest.
Originally dreamt up in 1971 by a local headmaster who used the bizarre competition as a way to raise funds for his school, the comp has stuck and residents now take their pea popping abilities seriously, shooting at targets to nail the highest score.
10. Els Enfarinats
Apparently there’s no better way to see out the year than pelting your pals with flour and eggs on the streets. At least that’s what they believe in Ibi on the Costa Brava, Spain.
For the last 200 years, on the 28th December, two teams go head-to-head to douse one another in the baking ingredients for two hours. Not sure how they determine a winner...
11. Chinchilla Melon Festival
Big ones, small ones, round ones and juicy ones - no matter what kind you like you’ll find a melon for you in Chinchilla.
As the melon capital of Australia it celebrates its love of the refreshing fruit/vegetable (the debate rages on) by holding a four-day celebration each February, including the Melon Ironman competition – water melon skiing, pip spitting, melon races, and melon bungie.
12. La Batalla de Vino
If you love it, cover your friends in it. That seems to be Spanish motto, demonstrated by yet another event where people battle with delicious consumables – this time wine.
In June the locals in La Rioja gather to spray red vino all over one another, before switching to drinking it instead and partying the night away.
13. Ivrea Orange Festival
The Spanish aren’t alone in flinging their food – the Italians in Ivrea do the same with the annual Battle of the Oranges.
It originates way back to the Middle Ages when girls would throw oranges at the boys they liked. Instead of taking it as a mating call the boys threw them back, and so began this annual event.
14. Night of the Radishes
In the run up to Christmas, residents in Oaxaca, Mexico get crafty by carving radishes into tiny humans and houses.
What started as a way to attract people into stores after church services is now an artisan event, with 12,000 pesos up for grabs for the best radish carving.