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On Maslow's hierarchy of needs, food is right up there along with along with oxygen, water and sleep. But unlike those other essentials, food seems to engender intense creativity. Sometimes, that creativity gets a little out of hand, which is how you wind up with the following festivals. From watermelon skiing to devouring squirrels, these festivals will either have you licking your chops or dry heaving - there isn't a whole lot of grey area here.
Oaxaca City, Mexico: Night of the Radishes
If you're an outsider looking in at this festival you might find it quite strange witnessing the way radishes are honored every December 23rd. Commencing at sunset, competitors take their positions by the judges to present their prize-worthy radishes - some carved into human figurines, animals and even the occasional Virgin Mary. The size of these colossal radishes testifies to the efforts put into their cultivation. This festival is an age-old tradition, and each year the crowds come out to see who will bring home 12,000 pesos, eternal radish-based glory and their picture in the newspaper.
Queensland, Australia: Chinchilla Melon Festival
There is nothing unusual about wanting to sink your teeth into a juicy watermelon. But if you don't mind being covered in the fruit from head to toe, then you belong with other crazed watermelon fanatics at the Chinchilla Melon Festival. Every two years revelers take to the streets of Chinchilla, the Melon Capital of Australia, to perform seed spitting tricks, melon skiing (sliding with their feet implanted in the fruit) as well as tossing a heavy melon onto a bull's-eye.
Cambridgeshire, England: Pea Shooting Competition
It is not too late to take your place in Cambridgeshire's annual Pea-shooting Competition. Each July, the festival brings willing pea-shooters from all over the world to the village of Witcham, where they must accurately aim at their targets 12 feet away. In order to complete the competition successfully, players must undergo strict rules and use a laser sights and a peashooter made out of carbon fiber and titanium.
After a couple plays the shooters with the highest scores participate in the knockout rounds and then compete in the sudden death competition until the winner is chosen.
Who knew spitting out your peas as a child would one day come in handy?
Bunol, Spain: La Tomatina
In case you thought food fights only took place in high school cafeterias, let us at TravelPulse be the first ones to correct you. Every last Wednesday in August, thousands upon thousands of revelers flock to the streets of Bunol to throw squishy tomatoes everywhere. Participants are expected to wear goggles and are reprimanded if they provoke another celebrator. The crowd, however, does get a bit rowdy and people are known to have their clothes ripped off at any point of the festival. But once the time of tomato throwing is up, water is released into the air to signal La Tomatina is over.
Byron, Illinois: Turkey Testicle Festival
Move over "Fear Factor." This Turkey Testicle Festival has all the makings of giving the gross-out show a run for its money as it encourages guests to gobble down battered and fried turkey testicles. Held every year in October, people gather along the streets of Byron to sink their teeth into this strange treat.
You won't need to wait until Thanksgiving to devour the tasty animal because at this festival you can go nuts for the turkey a month in advance.
Lopburi, Thailand: Monkey Buffet Festival
You may be thinking that the people of Thailand may be feasting on monkey barbecue. As a matter of fact it is the monkeys that are doing the eating. Tourists and residents gravitate to "Monkey City" to see long-tailed macaques devour a buffet full of vegetables and fruits laid out for them. These animals, who are perceived as the descendants of Hanuman, are treated to this luscious dining experience to drive tourism and repay their good deed of guarding Thailand's ruins.
Marlinton, WV: Roadkill Cook-off Festival
Have you ever driven past a dead squirrel at the side of the road and wondered what it would taste like? If this question has ever crossed you're mind, we've found the perfect festival to satisfy your curiosities.
Every September, locals of West Virginia head to the Roadkill Cook-off Festival to test their palates on exotic animals. From squirrel gravy to deer sausage, anything goes as long as it's dead by the wayside. If you're tired of the usual chicken, beef or fish then porcupine or bear teriyaki might just be the ideal food to appease your appetite.
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