Humans, allegedly, are supposed to eat to live, not live to eat, but where's the fun or danger in that? Especially in St. Louis, where each new season brings new crops of tempting food trends, festivals and seasonal favorites. Spring starts the fire with the reopening of farmers' markets. Food fests follow in the ensuing weeks, flanked by grilling season and the opening of snow-cone stands city- and countywide, and, of course, ample opportunity to drink beer in a variety of lush city parks.
1. International Horseradish Festival. Of all the many metro area food-centric summer festivals, the International Horseradish Festival in Collinsville, Illinois, remains perhaps the oddest of 'em all -- and also one of the most charming and fun filled. Festivalgoers can watch derby cars (carved from horseradish roots, of course) zoom by, behold the Little Miss Horseradish Festival Pageant, compete in a contest for the best bloody mary or simply belly up to any of the food and drink booths serving themed dishes such as deep-fried horseradish pickles, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches with horseradish, Mongolian barbecue with horseradish and many other things -- with horseradish. This year's 26th annual event unfolds Friday, June 1, to Sunday, June 3, at Woodland Park (Vandalia Street and Pine Lake Road; Collinsville, Illinois).
See also: - 25 Reasons to Love St. Louis in the Summer - 7 Can't-Miss Summer Cocktails Available at St. Louis Bars, Restaurants - Get Your Sweat on This Summer 2. IndiHop. Just as the International Horseradish Festival is a tried-and-true tradition in Collinsville, fests across the river in St. Louis usually involve lots of beer. On Saturday, June 1, IndiHop descends on Cherokee Street and the Grove for the second consecutive year, offering tastings of more than 50 beers in a complimentary IndiHop beer mug. Four event shuttles connect the two neighborhoods for safe, efficient travel, and live music, street performers and food vendors fill the streets at both locations. Participating local craft breweries include Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, O'Fallon Brewery, 4 Hands Brewing Co. and more. IndiHop action runs from noon to 5 p.m., with shuttles operating from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 to $20.
3. Midtown Taste & Art Fair. Meanwhile, the Midtown Taste & Art Fair fills the streets between Compton Avenue east to T.E. Huntleigh Avenue on Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2. In addition to live music, performances, and neighborhood food and drink vendors (including a wine garden), the festival features a food-truck challenge pitting up to six local food trucks against one another. Saturday festivities run from 10 a.m. to midnight and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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