Food Network Magazine found a year’s worth of wacky races that test your endurance — and your appetite.
Go Nut Donut Run, Greenville, S.C.
If you think running four miles is tough, try doing it after eating six glazed doughnuts at the two-mile mark. This event, held for the first time last January, was designed as a training run for the 2011 Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh, N.C. (Competitors at that famous seven-year-old February race have to eat a dozen doughnuts at the halfway point.) But the warm-up run was such a hit last year that organizers are making it an annual event. January 15; malonecoaching.net
International Pancake Day Race, Liberal, Kan.
While people in New Orleans are celebrating Fat Tuesday, locals in this Kansas town partake in a different Shrove Tuesday tradition: a pancake race. Since 1950, women in Liberal have been competing against a team in Olney, England, to see who will be the fastest to flip a pancake in a pan, run 415 yards on an S-shaped course while holding the pan and then flip the pancake again near the end. Right now, the score stands at 36 wins for Liberal and 25 for Olney — but who knows what will happen this year? February 21; pancakeday.net
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This month, eyes begin to turn upward to see changing foliage and appetites begin to yearn for warmer and heartier fare. October’s food festivals certainly offer that, along with forays into the lighter dishes of previous seasons.
Jungle Jim’s Weekend of Fire, Fairfield, Ohio, Oct. 1-2: It’s not just you, it is (or will be) hot at Jungle Jim’s, a 1.5-acre zoologically themed international supermarket, during the Weekend of Fire, a fiery foods expo and celebration. Seventy-five vendors will be handing out samples of capsaicin-choked comestibles, including hot sauces, rubs and, yes, ice cream. New at the fifth-annual event will be BBQ Alley, for all your smoked-meat and fried-food needs. Eating contests will reign supreme, though, with bouts centered on mercury-bursting lollipops and horseradish in the Arena of Fire competition zone. Then, there’s the main event, the Defcon DeathMatch Wing Eating Contest. Is there any hotter way to kick off October?
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Sweltering, smelting furnace-like temperatures won’t prevent Americans from celebrating the bounty of land and sea this month. August kicks off with coastal fun and winds through berry patches, cabbage heads and myriad sweet selections for those who want to heat things up or cool off.
Main Lobster Festival, Rockland, Maine, Aug. 3-7: From the crowning of the Sea Goddess on the first of the five-day fete to the touring of naval vessels, this 63rd annual event attracts more than 20,000 visitors respectful of the ocean and its gifts, gifts that involves 20,000 pounds of lobster, cooking competitions, a parade and a lobster-crate race. The contest is a run over a floating string of traps. Not falling into the frigid Atlantic is a win. Landlubbers need not apply. They can safely crack up with the crustacean fun on dry land and enjoy a lobster roll. Or five.
Mossyrock Blueberry Festival, Mossyrock, Wash., Aug. 6: The unassuming berry conquers all for one day. Only in its third year, this food fair involves all the usual festival diversions: a parade, a car show, a quilt show, blueberry beer, even a raucous pie-eating contest. However, the folks in Mossyrock know it takes more than that to attract thousands of visitors. This early August celebration also offers twin giant blueberry piñatas stuffed with sweet treats. The Friends of Cowlitz hosts a fish tank where children will learn about river and wetlands restoration and everyone can try their hand at the dunking booth.
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