Food Festivals in California – Plenty of Meats and Sweets


Eat your healthy spinach or a salad before you go to a festival. You wouldn’t know the economy is on a diet by attending one of these events where small business vendors sell hearty entrees packed with calories. For around $5-10 per item people are chowing down entrees such as oversize hot dogs, hamburgers and beef on a stick, as if they were bears or squirrels storing up for a long, hard winter.

A sampling of fare this past weekend at one such food festival (Lobster Festival in Redondo Beach) included sweet lemonade, beef brochette, Maine lobster and over-sized sausages, brats and dogs. Except for the lobster, you’ll typically find these foods at festivals in California with themes ranging from fruits & foods to jazz, rock, blues & booze.

What’s hot? Beef items and tons of sugar beverages & candies are the mainstay at food fests and fairs. Unless you can find that rare vegan festival, you’re not going to see a whole lot of raw vegetables sold or served. At the Gilroy Garlic Festival you’ll find the garlic in dishes ranging from mashed potatoes to ice cream. At apple festivals in Apple Valley, Springville, Placerville, Glen Oaks, Julian and Sebstopol, they rarely sell washed, healthy apples to keep the doctor away. Apples, instead, come in dishes such as apple pie with ice cream, apple fritters, candy apples, and apple cheesecake, all whopping with calories and sugar.

Nearly every Greek festival offers the famous Greek salad with olives and feta cheese, but best-selling items continue to be meats & sweets, king & queen of foods at festivals and fairs. Here are some best-sellers:

Kettle Corn
Ice Cream, Shaved Ice
Funnel Cake
Candy apples dipped in chocolate or caramel and rolled in nuts, crumbled cookies, confections and candy crunch
Lemonade -served plain, fruit infused, and with optional shots of sweet berry syrups
Cotton Candy
Hot dogs & sausages
Beef on a stick
Meat on a bun — burgers, BBQ beef, pulled pork, tri-tip

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