the road | the food | a new direction

Category: April

World’s Biggest Fish Fry, Paris TN, April 18th through 26th 2015

Years ago, during a visit to Nashville, TN, we saw signs for the World’s Biggest Fish Fry, which was going on that same weekend, in Paris, TN. Paris is about two hours west of Nashville and we just couldn’t squeeze it in. Sure wish we could’ve, though, ‘cause it sounds like fun! The Fry began in 1938 as Mule Day, but as tractors replaced mules on local farms the Chamber of Commerce looked for something else to celebrate, and in 1953 catfish was the chosen symbol. 1961 was the year they started calling it the World’s Biggest. Is it? Who cares?! Continue reading

Pennsylvania Relief Sale, Harrisburg PA, April 17th and 18th 2015

Way back in 1957, Ford Berg, pastor of Zion Mennonite Church near Morgantown, Pennsylvania, organized a relief sale on Ralph Hertzler’s farm. Over $4000 was raised. That Tri-Country Relief Sale (Berks, Chester, and Lancaster) evolved into today’s Pennsylvania Relief Sale, which last year raised $478,000 for the Mennonite Central Committee, which does relief work around the world. The centerpiece of the two-day sale is the auction of over 350 gorgeous, handcrafted quilts. See all the quilts available in this year’s auction in this gallery. Continue reading

World Championship Cow Chip Throwing Contest, Beaver OK, April 11th through April 18th 2015

“When the chips are down, pick ’em up and throw ’em!” That’s the motto of the World Championship Cow Chip Throwing Contest or, as the locals refer to it, Cow Chip, held each year in Beaver, Oklahoma. This year marks the 46th annual contest. The actual cow chip throwing takes place on Saturday, April 18th, at 3 p.m., but of course there is much pomp and revelry during the week leading up to the main event. Continue reading

Grifton Shad Festival, Grifton NC, April 13th through 19th 2015

Can you eat shad at the 45th annual Grifton Shad Festival, one of North Carolina’s longest-running festivals? The answer to that question is not clear to us, and we’ve never attended the festival (though we’d much like to). You see, the Grifton Shad Festival is named in honor of the Hickory Shad, an ocean fish which swims up the local rivers each spring to spawn. Shad are edible, but the one that’s eaten is generally the American Shad. It’s very bony, but that can be dealt with. The Hickory Shad is bonier still, and many folks do not consider it edible. Continue reading

Bradford County Strawberry Festival, Starke FL, April 11th and 12th 2015

Strawberries, BBQ, seafood, shortcake, country cooking… it must be the 17th annual Bradford County Strawberry Festival in Starke, Florida! The strawberry party begins tomorrow morning (Saturday, April 11th) at 9 a.m. Besides offering your fill of fresh strawberries (and really, is anything else necessary?), there will be plenty of live entertainment, arts and crafts, a kids zone, free train rides, and $25 helicopter rides. Admission is free. Continue reading

Rattlesnake Rodeo, Opp AL, April 11th and 12th 2015

55 years and counting: that’s how long the Rattlesnake Rodeo has been held in the town of Opp, state of Alabama. Gates open Saturday, April 11th, 2015 for the rodeo, and the bands begin at 10:30 a.m. There’ll be snake shows and snake races, a 5K run/walk, a greased pole climb, a buck dancing contest, the introduction of the 2015 Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo Queens, and plenty of musical performances, headlined by Gary Allan and NewsBoys. The rodeo continues Sunday the 12th. Over 20,000 people are expected to attend. Continue reading

Mule Day, Columbia TN, April 6th through April 12th 2015

In the mid 1800s, Columbia Tennessee was known as a major mule trading center, a place farmers knew they could find quality animals to plow their fields. It wasn’t until 1934 that the reputation evolved into a formal Mule Day, which was held off and on since then, although today’s version began in earnest in 1974. Mule Day has been called “Rural America at its Best.” So just what is a mule, you ask? Good question! If daddy is a donkey and mommy is a horse, you’ve got yourself a mule. They are usually, but not always, born sterile, and tend to combine the best traits of both species. Continue reading

Governor’s Frog Jump and Egg Strike, Springfield SC, April 2nd through April 4th 2015

Jumping frogs, cracking eggs, and cow drops – oh, how we wish we could be in Springfield, South Carolina for this year’s 49th annual Governor’s Frog Jump and Egg Strike. The festivities actually began last Saturday, with the traditional beauty pageant. They continue tomorrow night, Thursday, April 2nd, at Frog Jump Arena, where the glorious Cow Drop is held. What’s a Cow Drop, you ask? Don’t worry, no cows will be harmed during this festival! You see, it’s the cows that will be doing the dropping, and if they drop their, er, business on your number, you win! Continue reading

Maui County Agricultural Festival, Wailuku HI

If you are not already in Hawaii, or at least on your way, this is pretty short notice. But it sounds like fun! The 8th annual Maui County Agricultural Festival takes place on the Maui Tropical Plantation in Wailuku this Saturday, April 4th. The festival’s goal is to raise awareness of Maui agriculture by bringing local farmers, ranchers, food producers, and chefs together in a festive environment where they can talk story (Hawaiian for chat) with the public and demonstrate their unique talents. Continue reading

Fort Pierce Oyster Festival, Fort Pierce FL, April 4th 2015

True, not everyone loves oysters, but for those who have a true passion for the bivalve, the Fort Pierce Oyster Festival taking place this coming Saturday, April 4th, features a menu sure to satisfy: oysters grilled, Mexicali, casino, and, of course, raw on the half shell. Don’t eat oysters? Here’s a partial list of what else you’ll find: conch fritters and conch salad, crabs, coconut shrimp, chowder, lobster bisque, a grouper basket, jambalaya, crawfish platters… It ain’t all seafood either – you can score some BBQ, burgers, Italian sausage, gator – but, yeah, it’s mostly seafood. Continue reading

Catfish Festival, Crescent City FL, April 3rd and 4th 2015

Tell a regional food aficionado about a festival that features fried catfish fingerlings, frogs legs, gator tail, and swamp cabbage stew, and she’s sure to know that festival will be happening somewhere in The Sunshine State. Those Florida specialties and much more will be on the menu at the 37th annual Catfish Festival put on by the Rotary Club of Crescent City, Florida, on Crescent Lake, about halfway between Orlando and Jacksonville. The festivities begin 5 p.m. Friday, April 3rd and continue during the day on Saturday, April 4th. Continue reading

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