Summertime is full of great food festivals around the country to go sample local fare. In fact, every season has special food associated with it. Have you considered not just attending one of these festivals as a spectator but as an entrant in a recipe contest? Maybe you have a favorite family recipe or have devised your own fabulous dish. While some of the big festivals may attract lots of competition, a small fair may be just the place to start to enter your recipe, make new friends and win prizes too.
The first place to look is your hometown and surrounding areas. Many towns hold events themed around a specific food or drink—strawberries, pumpkin, chocolate, coffee, beer, etc. Prizes may include anything from cash, gift cards, gift baskets or non-cash ribbon awards, i.e. first, second, third, honorable mention. There are sometimes kids' cooking contests which is a great way to encourage kids who love to cook to compete in a friendly atmosphere. Two bonus points are that these local fairs often have charity events included with the festivities and they also bring business to your hometown.
Don't think food festival contests are just for cooks and bakers. For those of you that just love to eat, there's plenty of opportunity to eat and win. If you've got the stomach for it, you can win big. Joey "Jaws" Chestnut is famous for six consecutive wins of Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest in Coney Island. He won $10,000 for downing 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Locally, taste fests are a popular way for businesses to promote their menu and they sponsor food eating contests—not necessarily resulting in big cash but smaller prizes and a lot of fun.
Food contests aren't the only types of competitions either. Christmas festivals may have tree decorating contests and craft activities. Disney holds several events throughout the year that include great food and marathons for kids and adults. Not only will you get your kids to appreciate different food but you also encourage the importance of keeping fit. Local events also may include marathons, bike races and more.
Flyers at businesses, local chamber of commerce offices, online searches are all ways to find these events. The FoodReference.com website also has a resource page that links to a listing of festivals by state. Happy cooking and eating and good luck!
Newcomb, Alyssa. Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest: 68 in 10 Minutes. ABC News, July, 4, 2012.