Photo: soloakewlstick, Flickr
St. Patrick's Day festivities might be at the forefront of everyone's mind, but March's edible extravaganzas have much more to offer than green beer.
National Truffle Fest, Asheville, NC, March 3-6: The truffle is a prized ingredient that comes with a hefty price tag -- a plate garnished with a few shavings can fetch sums in the triple digits. So perhaps it's not surprising that an all-access ticket to this weekend event celebrating the U.S. truffle industry is $500. The festival, which will include seminars, lectures and a blow-out gala, will benefit the Frankie Lemmon School for preschool children with special needs.
Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, Fla., March 3-13: The Sunshine State produces more than holiday citrus baskets, tourist traps and sunburns -- Florida's strawberry crop is one of late winter's greatest pleasures. At this Central Florida fair, you'll find thousands of baskets of strawberries in addition to fruit-themed arts and crafts. A midway and carnival rides round out the berry merrymaking.
Parke County Maple Syrup Fair, Parke County, Ind., March 5-6: It might have the best marketing, but Vermont isn't the only state in the union that produces maple syrup. In an area of Indiana known for its covered bridges, visitors can tour maple syrup camps, learn how the topping goes from tree to table and sample the sweet stuff.
Yuma Lettuce Days, Yuma, Ariz., March 11-13: Forty thousand people are expected to attend this festival, now in its 13th year. Chefs, restaurants owners and vendors will honor the humble leafy green and its importance to Yuma. Cooking competitions, demos and lettuce carving contests will be the major attractions.
Iowa Rabbit Festival, Iowa, La., March 18-20: Louisiana isn't just about mudbugs and Mardi Gras in March. In the town of Iowa, rabbits take center stage. The highlight of the event is a rabbit cook-off -- now with a 'people's choice' award. Also look for arts and crafts, a rabbit show, carnival rides and, of course, pageants. Hop to it.
Texas Onion Fest, Weslaco, Tex., March 26: In the birthplace of the 'Texas 1015' onion, folks gather annually to praise their favorite vegetable. There will be onion-eating contests, pageants (a food festival is nothing without pageants), and arts and crafts as well as some non-onion eats like snow cones and corn dogs. While it's not onion-related, there will also be a salsa recipe competition, where the only requirement is the inclusion of jalapeños, in honor of Dr. Ben Villalon, who developed the mild jalapeño in Weslaco.
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