We’re smack in the middle of spring, and that means the 2014 growing season is well under way. Asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb, and strawberries are all showing up at a farmers’ market near you.
For a more concentrated dose of the season (with plenty of carnival distractions, coronations, and live music), check out one of these spring food festivals happening around the United States:
Festivities at this annual event include bands, celebrity chef cooking demos, a deep-fried asparagus eating contest, recipe throwdowns, and even a kid-friendly carnival.
Dates: April 25-27
THE NORTH CAROLINA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
Chadbourn, North Carolina
Chadbourn calls itself the strawberry capital of the world, and this festival includes a parade, bands, hot air balloons, tons of shortcake, and the crowning of a Strawberry Queen.
Dates: April 30-May 3
GLENNVILLE SWEET ONION FESTIVAL
Now in its 38th year, this daylong festival celebrates the harvest of Vidalia onions. Arts and crafts, rides for kids, the crowning of Miss Georgia Sweet Onion, and the devouring of fried sweet onion rings and blooming onions.
Date: May 10
CASTROVILLE ARTICHOKE FESTIVAL
Monterey County Fair and Event Center, Castroville, California
Artichokes every which way (pickled, fried, grilled, sautéed, marinated, made into soup, and more), plus music (an Eagles tribute!) and wine and cooking demos.
Dates: May 31-June 1
105th LEBANON STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
Held in Oregon’s Cheadle Lake Regional Park, this celebration of the strawberry includes a 5K run, a 1-mile fitness walk, and a kids’ run, and perhaps because participants will burn up tons of calories, a creation billed as the world’s largest strawberry shortcake.
Dates: June 5-8
23rd ANNUAL RHUBARB FESTIVAL
It’s the 23rd time around for the Rhubarb Fest, this year featuring 3,000 rhubarb pies for sale, 12,000 free rhubarb seeds for home planting, crafts, and music.
Dates: June 6-7
80th ANNUAL EMMETT CHERRY FESTIVAL
Behold, the cherry, celebrated via a bake-off and cherry-eating contest, along with carnival rides and concerts.
Dates: June 11-14
27th ANNUAL PINE GROVE RHUBARB FESTIVAL
Pine Grove, Colorado
Expect a rhubarb parade, all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, rhubarb bake-off, carnival, live music, and a celebration of local rhubarb recipes.
Date: June 14
Photo by Chris Rochelle