At the mention of California, most conjure up images of a popular tourist destination: famous celebrities, warm beaches, and glittering Hollywood. Lesser known is the fact that this almost eternally sunny state, also leads the nation in food and agricultural production. Combined with a diverse demographic, this means that California houses a variety of culturally rich year-round food festivals. A selection of notable festivals can be found in Long Beach, a coastal city in Southern California that is also a popular vacation destination.
The first is the Crawfish Festival, held at Rainbow Lagoon. For the past 16 years, annual festival goers have enjoyed this lively festival, from dancing to Cajun, Zydeco, and New Orleans music to diving into fresh crawfish prepared Louisiana-style by authentic Cajun chefs. Plenty of adult drink options are available: beer, wine, margaritas, as well as the unique “Screaming Crawfish.” Additionally, activities appeal to all ages: the younger crowds can enjoy arts and crafts booths, while anyone can rock out to the soulful groove of real New Orleans bands. The joy of the dancing, feasting crowds in the summer at this popular Crawfish Festival is infectious!
Chocoholics will be happy to know of an entire three-hour event devoted to their favorite mouth-watering dessert. At the Belmont Shore Community Chocolate Festival, one of the area’s most popular community events, visitors can snack on a variety of scrumptious treats, provided by participating local merchants. Visitors can also get hands-on in the Homemade Chocolate Dessert Contest, held from 2 PM to 3 PM, while kids can join the fun Chocolate Pie Eating Contest at 3:30 PM. Throughout the entire event, live music will be performed. All festival events and activities will be held across from Belmont Shore Washington Mutual Bank.
Another popular food festival in Rainbow Lagoon is The Original Long Beach Lobster Festival, a 3-day extravaganza. The Maine Lobsters are flown in each night fresh from the Atlantic Ocean, and served by Bristol Farms Master Chef Bruce Jacobs and his dedicated crew. One can choose between a 1.25 lb. or 2 lb. lobster, which comes accompanied with melted butter dipping sauce, freshly-sliced lemons, coleslaw, dinner roll, and juicy watermelon. The international food court also offers a variety of tasty options, including ribs, chicken, Jamaican and Asian fusion food. Children can stay entertained by magicians, storytellers and inflatable bounces.
Lastly, the Long Beach Greek Festival, a fun 60-year old tradition celebrated by thousands of visitors, is a perfect way to spend one’s Labor Day weekend. For three whole days, from noon to 9 PM, the schedule is packed with dance lessons, cooking demonstrations, church tours, travel videos, and vibrant live performances. A full carnival provides games for children, and specialty shops are available for shoppers. And of course, throughout the festival, one can feast on delicious Greek traditional food and desserts, such as moussaka, souvlakia, and baklava. This event provides a perfect, affordable peek into the rich culture of Greece!
Whether one seeks chocolate, shellfish, or Greek food, Long Beach’s popular food festivals provide a number of great opportunities to satiate one’s cravings. One can feast on delicious food, while enjoying live entertainment and time with one’s family. The way to the heart is through the stomach, and Long Beach knows it!