Hatch Chile FestivalYaJurka/shutterstock
Every Labor Day weekend, this festival celebrates New Mexico’s native chile peppers. Served all over the state in red, green, or “Christmas style” incarnations, they’re placed atop burgers and fried stuffed with cheese as rellenos. The Hatch Chile Festival involves a chile-eating contest, ristra-stringing workshops, the crowning of the Hatch Chile Queen, and plenty of mariachi bands (naturally). Here’s another reason to eat up: Hot peppers can help you live longer! Tip: We thought the chile-peanut brittle was the take-home hit.
Gilroy Garlic FestivalJOHN G. MABANGLO/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
Northern California’s garlic fiesta takes place each July, and festival goers who don’t want to drive can hop on the “garlic train” from San Jose. At the fair, in addition to art and music, professional chefs compete in “Battle Garlic” and a garlic barbecue cook-off and attendees can taste garlic shrimp, garlic bread, and garlic fries. Tip: Don’t leave without trying the famed garlic ice cream for dessert! Psst…Garlic isn’t just tasty, it’s surprisingly good for you, too!