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A zucchini festival is an annual event, held in many different locations, to celebrate the zucchini and its harvest. Zucchini festivals are usually held in the fall, when zucchini is abundant and at the peak of harvest. The entire festival revolves around zucchini and often includes activities, merchant booths, demonstrations, contests, displays and live music. Although the exact date and specific activities will vary by location, a zucchini festival is usually designed to be an event for the entire family. Often sponsored by a local farmer’s market or university extension service, a zucchini festival typically is a free event paid for by merchant booth fees and sponsorships.
Every zucchini festival will differ by location, participants and available activities, although the overall theme — zucchini — remains the same. Activities geared toward the whole family often include demonstrations on preparing zucchini and samples of zucchini dishes. Contests are sometimes held for things such as the largest zucchini or the most creatively decorated zucchini. Activities are not always conventional or traditional and are intended to be both educational and fun. Other activities at such a festival might include zucchini catapulting, zucchini carving and zucchini racing, as well as non-zucchini-related activities such as antique car shows, face painting and other family-friendly activities.
Merchants and vendors often set up booths for both display and to promote sales during zucchini festivals. These are usually the same types of vendors available at farmer’s markets and craft shows, and are generally connected to handmade crafts or food. In addition to those selling handmade crafts, freshly baked goods made with zucchini are prominent. Some of the zucchini foods highlighted, for both demonstration and sale, often include common zucchini foods such as breads, muffins, cookies, cakes and fried, grilled or stuffed zucchini. Festival participants also may find unusual zucchini recipes, such as zucchini frittatas, pancakes, strudels, chocolate-zucchini milkshakes, puddings and more.
Efforts to find a nearby zucchini festival can start by asking at local farmer’s markets. Local growers often are the best source of information and up to date on local festivals and may know of any nearby. In the United States, a university cooperative extension office is another source of information for plant-related events and activities. Internet searches often provide random results from every location unless the specific location is specified in the search request.