Your mom always told you not to play with your food, but you’re going to have to break that rule if you plan on attending any of these crazy festivals. We’re sure she won’t mind!
This world famous tomato fight near Valencia, Spain happens every year on the last Wednesday in August, but the partying starts earlier in the week. The highlight of the festival is the the 45,000 person tomato fight where 250,000 pounds of tomatoes are flung. The event has become the world’s largest food fight, with thousands of people from across the globe flocking to this little Valencian town.
The Annual West Virginia Road Kill Cook-off takes place in September and is one of the region’s most anticipated events. The Food Network, Travel Channel and the Discovery Channel have all done filming of this bizarre festival. If you’ve ever wanted to taste exotic dishes like squirrel gravy over biscuits, teriyaki marinated bear, or deer sausage- this is the place! They even crown a Miss West Virginia Roadkill. No actual roadkill is served, but the cook-off tries to remain true to its name by requiring contestants to use animals commonly seen on the side of the road.
Every year, the seaside town of Galaxidi, Greece holds a flour war to mark the end of carnival and the beginning of lent. The rules of the war are simple- hundreds of flour warriors in two teams hurl bags of colored baking flour at each other. Residents in the town cover their homes with plastic sheeting beforehand since the colors can stain the exterior of buildings and are difficult to wash off. No square inch of the city is spared from a thick veil of the brightly colored powder.
In most places around the world, bugs are universally repulsive and detested. At BugFest in Raleigh, North Carolina, 30,000 people come out to experience these creepy critters up close and personal! There is no lack of entertainment between the cockroach races, beehive hairdo contest and free samples of gourmet bugs. These are only some of the activities awaiting the attendees of this largest insect festival in the United States.
The famous “Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake” is an ancient event which takes place annually in Gloucestershire, UK. Cheese rounds are thrown down a steep hill and competitors chase them down the cliff, tumbling for a few hundred yards! Afterwards, the participants end up either heading to the pub or the hospital.
Every summer for the last 650 years, Turkish men have gathered to find out who is the strongest in the land. Oil wrestling season lasts eight months in Turkey, but all the regional matches are just warming the men up for the main event: the Kirkpinar in Edirne, Turkey. Three days of face-offs happen in the middle of a grassy field as thousands of spectators gather around to watch men wrested while greased up with olive oil. In the end, only one man gets the solid gold title belt.
There are several urban legends about Gilroy, California. Some say that you can smell the town before you get to it, and that you can even marinate a steak simply by hanging it from a clothesline. Although neither of these is true, Gilroy is renowned for being the Garlic Capital of the World. Its annual Garlic Festival has been held the last weekend in July since 1978 and draws people from all over the world.
Every year, the people of Ivrea, Italy celebrate the three days before Lent by pelting each other with oranges in the battle of the oranges. According to legend, the feudal lord of medieval Ivrea was so stingy that he gave his peasants only one pot of beans every six months. In protest, the villagers would throw the beans into the streets. Over the years, the beans were replaced by oranges, which grow abundantly all over Southern Italy.
Something fishy has been happening in Port Lincoln, Australia every winter for the past 50 years. It has likely never occurred to you to pick up a 20 pound tuna and hurl it as far as you possibly can, but that is exactly what the competitors do at the Tunarama festival. The infamous “tuna toss” is an integral part of the weekend long event. This small seaside town doubles in population as it attracts 25,000 people to the competition each year.
Mexico is known for its colorful and over the top festivals, but this one might take the cake. The “Noche de Rábanos” combines folk art and agriculture into one of the most unique festivals in the world. Super-sized radishes are cultivated just for this pre-Christmas event and are delivered to the artists, who have only a few days to produce their complex works of art by carving the radishes into everything from animals to cultural scenes.