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Food festivals

Wacky Wine Weekend
Where: Robertson Wine Valley, South Africa
When: Early June
The beautiful Robertson Wine Valley hosts thousands of wine lovers at South Africa’s biggest regional wine festival. The three day event at wineries from Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson includes wine tasting, education and fine dining. There are also other activities such as sports, arts and crafts, kids entertainment and live music.

Mondial de la Bière (Montreal Beer festival)
Where: Montreal, Canada
When: First week in June
It’s worth heading to Montreal if you have a penchant for all things ale, hops and lager. You’ll be joined by about 50,000 other enthusiasts, who all descend on the old port of Montreal for 340 brews on tap from the five continents. There are some real specialty brewers here, a lot of small brewpubs and the usual big players. You might even get to see demonstrations of brewing 19th Century style. There’s plenty of food and music as well.

Darwin Beer Can Regatta
Where: Mindil Beach, Darwin NT Australia
When: Mid July
In this unusual annual regatta, the boat races are fabricated entirely out of beer cans.  Of course some flounder a little and sink but it’s all for a bit of fun anyway. The regatta actually started in 1975 in an effort to clear up “empties” lying around Darwin before a recycling program was in place. Since then the number and size of boat entries has increased and there are other fun events such as tug of war, thong throwing and kayaking events.

La Tomatina
Where: Buñol, Valencia Spain
When: Last Wednesday of August
This has to be the world’s messiest festival and the biggest food fight of all time. For a week during the summer thousands descend on Buñol for music, parades, dancing and fireworks and a paella cooking contest. Meanwhile 100 hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are made ready and on the final day for 60 minutes all mayhem breaks loose in a wild, red, stress relieving fight.

La Pourcailhade (Festival of the Pig)
Where: Trie Sur Baise, France
When: Mid August
Each August around the 15th a one-day pig based festival is held in a small village in the Hautes-Pyrénéés. This is one of the main pig producing areas of France so all the events have a particular theme. There are piglet races, black pudding and pork sausage eating competitions, food, live music and an award for the best piggy outfit and pig noise imitation.

Where: Munich, Germany
When: 16 days September-October
Every year in late September some six million people converge on Munich to enjoy Bavarian culture and more importantly the beer associated with it. This swill-fest runs for 16 days in which time the city’s beer kegs are well and truly drained, although they do eat a fair amount of Würstel, Sauerkraut and other local specialities as well.

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake
Where: Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England
When: Spring Bank Holiday (last Monday in May)
This annual dash after a rolling cheese is a wild, often-flying scramble down dale where bones, legs, ankles and spectators do come to grief. The idea is to catch the cheese but as it reaches speeds of over 100km/hr this rarely happens and winners must be content with crossing the finish line first.
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