From Tomato Fights to Watercress Eating Championships, Here Are 8 of the World's Weirdest Food Festivals

Food festivals are a big deal. Around the world, many of us can’t get enough of coming together to try new flavors and cuisines. According to one survey by YouGov, more than two out of five global consumers wanted to attend food and drink festivals in 2023. In fact, the research suggested that food festivals were even more popular than music festivals.

Foodies all over the world have so many options when it comes to food festivals (we’ve rounded up our top 14 vegan food events you won’t want to leave here!), but some are definitely more unique than others. If you’re looking for something a little out of the box, we’ve found these slightly unusual food festivals that are dedicated to celebrating all kinds of plant-based foods, from tomatoes to jackfruit to watercress (yep, there’s a whole festival just for watercress).

RELATED: 14 Vegan Food Festivals You’ll Never Want To Leave

8 unusual food festivals around the world

Feeling hungry? Let’s go.

close up jackfruitPexels

1 Jackfruit festival

Noida, India

Due to its ability to replicate meats like shredded chicken and pulled pork, jackfruit has surged in popularity in the West in recent years. But before it became a vegan staple in the US, it was cultivated across India for centuries. So it makes sense that the country is where a festival dedicated to celebrating all things jackfruit truly belongs. In May of this year, Quarter Plate, a restaurant in the Indian city of Noida, hosted its first Jackfruit Festival where it served guests multiple jackfruit-based delights, including Jackfruit Seekh Kebab and Jackfruit Nihari.
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tomato festivalLa Tomatina

2 Tomato festival

Buñol, Spain

Okay, so this festival is more about throwing food than eating it. Every year, crowds of people gather in this small Spanish town to hurl tomatoes at each other. It’s as simple as that. “Participants at this joyful pitched battle have a wonderful time throwing tomatoes at anything that moves,” notes España, Spain’s official tourism website. And don’t worry, while it sounds super wasteful, the town notes that the festival only uses tomatoes that are no longer suitable for consumption.
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melons at melon festivalChinchilla Melon Festival

3 Melon festival

Chinchilla, Australia

Chinchilla (also known as Australia’s melon capital) produces around 25 percent of Australia’s melons each year. It’s a feat worth some serious celebration, which is why, every two years, the city hosts Melon Fest. There, you can, of course, indulge in plenty of watermelon, but you can also participate in everything from melon skiing to melon tossing. According to the festival, it’s pure “melon mayhem.”
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radish carvingOaxaca Travel Tips

4 Radish festival

Oaxaca City, Mexico

December is filled with holidays and celebrations already, but in Oaxaca City, the Night of the Radishes is also not to be missed. The annual radish carving competition takes place every year on December 23 and has been going on for more than a century. To this day, it is one of “the most anticipated events of the holiday season” in the region, notes Oaxaca Travel Tips.
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WatercressGetty

5 Watercress festival

Hampshire, England

When it comes to watercress, there is much to be celebrated. It is, after all, the world’s healthiest vegetable. In Hampshire, England, in the small town of New Alresford, watercress has always grown in streams and ditches, but it wasn’t until 2004 that the people of the town decided to really start honoring this nutrient-packed, versatile leafy green. Every year there is music, dancing, and the World Watercress Eating Championships, of course.
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Hatch chile festivalFarmers Chile Market

6 Chile festival

New Mexico, USA

Hatch, New Mexico is the chile capital of the world, so of course, it is home to an annual chile festival. As you would expect, every year, it celebrates many, many different types of chiles, including Charger Chile Peppers, NuMex Heritage Big Jim Chile Peppers, Rattlesnake Chile Peppers, and so many more. It’s a spice-lovers dream.
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woman tries onion ringsVidalia Onion Festival

7 Onion festival

Georgia, USA

In the city of Vidalia, GA, onions are a big deal. Like, a really big deal. In fact, its onions are renowned around the world for their sweet, mild flavor. In celebration of their onions, every year, the city hosts the Vidalia Onion Festival, complete with star-studded musical acts, air shows, and plenty of onion-y deliciousness.
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PotatoesPexels

8 Potato festival

Colorado, USA

If there was ever a vegetable that deserves its own festival, it’s the potato. It’s America’s favorite vegetable, thanks to its mild taste, satisfying texture (whatever form it takes), and sheer versatility. This is why in San Luis Valley, CO, in September, foodies get together to celebrate the popular vegetable with plenty of delicious food stalls and even a mashed potato dunk tank.
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