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Writer Laura Kiniry

10 End of Summer Food Festivals in the West

Posted by Laura Kiniry on July 10, 2018
Gilroy Garlic Festival garlic bread gourmet alley, via magazine
Photo credit
Photo: Courtesy of Gilroy Garlic Festival
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Work up an appetite this summer? Not to worry—there are still plenty of food and drink festivals around the West like the Gilroy Garlic Festival, pictured here.

From tacos to garlic ice cream, crawfish to craft brews, indulge in the season’s best—and wackiest—foods at these late-summer festivals.

Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA; July 27-29

This summer, Gilroy’s Garlic Festival celebrates its 40th year with more garlic filled, steeped, soaked, and saturated delicacies then you can imagine. Wander along the festival's Gourmet Alley to see chefs firing up huge iron skillets of garlic-flavored calamari, indulge in a cone of garlic ice cream, or cheer for your favorites at the Great Garlic Cook-off. The event even has its own mascot: a life-sized bulb named “Herbie.”

Tualatin Crawfish Festival in Tualatin, OR; August 3-4

Since 1951, both visitors and local residents have flocked to the annual Tualatin Crawfish Festival in Northeast Oregon to feast on the small crustaceans that reside in the Tualatin River. Try a crawfish roll, or purchase a bucket of crawfish with corn and potatoes as sides. Beer and wine is available to quench your thirst.

Sausage and Cider Fest in Covington, WA; August 18

Pair dozens of hard ciders from around the Northwest with an assortment of snackable sausages at the Sausage and Cider Fest in Covington Community Park. Don't worry if you're not a cider fan: wines, meads, and even a few craft brews are also on tap, along with live music and lawn games such as cornhole.

Mile High Brewfest in Prescott, AZ; August 11

More than 150 artisan craft beers from Southwest vendors and breweries are on hand at the Mile High Brewfest. Pair brews from the city's Granite Mountain and Lonesome Valley breweries with tastes from local eateries and food trucks, all while enjoying live music and the evening air.

Read More: A Weekend in Prescott, Arizona

LA Taco Festival, Los Angeles, CA; August 18

BYO blankets and chairs and settle in for a delectable fest at the annual LA Taco Festival in DTLA’s Grand Park. Vendors and popular food trucks such as LA's Oaxaca on Wheels and Kogi BBQ supply the goods, which range from al pastor tacos to tofu-filled bites. Insider tip: Take the metro to the Civic Center/Grand Park Station to avoid the hassle of parking.

Avocado and Margarita Street Festival mascot, photo
Photo credit
Photo: Courtesy of Avocado and Margarita Street Festival
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This Central Coast festival celebrates two local favorites — avocados and margaritas.

Avocado and Margarita Street Festival, in Morro Bay, CA; September 8

Raise a glass to California's official state fruit at the annual Avocado & Margarita Street Festival held just north of San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast. Along with avo-infused dishes, there are events such as an avocado juggling contest and a pit toss, as well as an ample supply of margaritas—from classic to jalapeno flavored.

Chokecherry Festival in Lewistown, MT; September 8

From jams and jellies to syrups and wines, Montana’s Chokecherry Festival pays homage to the small, maroon-colored berry that grows wild throughout Lewistown—the state's “Chokecherry Capital”—in a myriad of ways. Sample chokecherry mustards, salsas, and cakes, try your skills in a pit spitting contest, or shop for a souvenir.

Melon Days Festival parade Green River Utah, picture
Photo credit
Photo: Steve Greenwood
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For more than 100 years this all-weekend-long festival in Green River, Utah celebrates all things melon.

Melon Days Festival in Green River, UT; September 14-15

Whether it’s watermelons, cantaloupes, or honeydew melons that whet your appetite, you'll find plenty to feast on during the weekend-long Melon Days Festival. Running for more than a century, this celebration at the end of the growing season takes over the whole town with a melon eating contest, car show, carnival, 3-man Scramble tournament, and, of course, a parade.

Las Vegas Greek Food Festival, NV; September 14-16

Fill up on stuffed gyros, filo-crusted spanakopita, and baklava smoothies at the long-running Las Vegas Greek Food Festival, now in its 45th year. Along with its fabulous array of food, expect plenty of music and folk dancing to boot.

Read More: A Weekend in Downtown Las Vegas

Rice Festival, Honolulu, HI; September 22

Billed as a “one-day tasting trip around the world,” the Rice Festival honors the beloved staple with dishes ranging from risotto to sushi to the classic SPAM fried rice. Cooking demos, a poke bowl eating competition, and ukulele and taiko drumming performances are all par for the course.

Read More: Honolulu, Hawaii on a Budget