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Summer is a great time to be outside, enjoying the sunshine with family and friends. Having a barbecue is one of the top summer activities, but attending a festival featuring delectable dishes served up in a fun atmosphere is even better. Here are five must-see summer food festivals happening this year.

 

1. Gilroy Garlic Festival, Gilroy, California

Garlic… ice cream? It may sound strange, but at the Gilroy Garlic Festival held in Gilroy, California each July, garlic ice cream is a local delicacy. Other notable dishes include garlic french fries, garlic-infused chocolate, and garlic shrimp. There’s also live musical acts and an outdoor kitchen where the famed “Pyro Chefs” perform great shows while cooking up delicious garlic dishes.

2. Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland, Maine

Nothing says summer like fresh Maine lobster, and each August there’s plenty to be had at the Maine Lobster Festival held at Rockland Harbor Park. In addition to serving up nearly 25,000 pounds of lobster, this festival also boasts carnival rides, live entertainment acts, cooking competitions, arts and craft vendors, and more.

3. National Cherry Festival, Traverse City, Michigan

With summer being this sweet fruit’s peak season, July is the perfect time to visit the annual National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan. Cherries are featured in everything from wine to sauces, with the mouthwatering cherry crumb pie being a favorite among festival-goers. There are also live concerts, fireworks, parades, an airshow, and plenty of arts and craft vendors to visit.

4. L.A. Food Fest, Los Angeles, California

Foodies unite each July for the L.A. Food Fest held at Exposition Park in Los Angeles, California. The three-day festival features hundreds of world-renowned chefs serving up unique creations at individual booths. All-you-can-eat passes are available which allows for unlimited samples at every booth, meaning attendees can dine to their heart’s content.

5. Taste of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Not to be left out, the Windy City hosts its own food festival each July in Grant Park. The five-day festival features local food trucks and pop-up restaurants from a wide array of cuisines. Over a million people attend the festival each year to enjoy not only the outstanding food but also the concerts which feature many well-known musical acts.

 

Hal Abramson is a food festival promoter based in Los Angeles and is always on the hunt for new events to explore. Check out his other food festival blogs or follow his travels on Twitter!