Summer served steamed, baked, or on ice

By Patricia Harris and David Lyon
Globe Correspondents / June 20, 2010

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AUG. 12-15


Mendota Sweet Corn Festival: Nothing says summer like sweet corn (except maybe tomatoes), and this celebration is one of the oldest and largest harvest festivals in the Midwest. Over four days, about 60,000 attendees consume nearly 50 tons of corn, steamed in big tanks with the aid of a vintage steam locomotive. There’s a grand parade, a queen pageant, and a carnival with rides and games. Except for the beer garden (which features live bands), there are no admission or parking fees. On Sunday afternoon, the festival gives away free steamed corn to all comers. 815-539-6507,

JULY 29-31


The Kneading Conference & Artisan Bread Fair: Celebrating local bread — from seed to loaf — this four-year-old event assembles wheat farmers, home and pro bakers, and oven builders for two days of talks and workshops. Conference fee is $300, but everyone gets a rise out of the Artisan Bread Fair on July 31, which features tastings, demonstrations of wood-fired ovens, opportunities to shop for books and bread-making gear, and the chance to mingle with artisanal bakers. 207-947-6622, ext. 5,

AUG. 4-8


Maine Lobster Festival: This pig-out on the state’s signature crustacean began in 1947 as an all-you-can-eat-for-$1 event that, even then, lost money. It’s grown to a five-day shindig with live entertainment, a queen pageant, a homemade parade, and other events. But the focus remains on steaming and eating lobster, which starts at the Down- east lunch hour of 11 a.m. Aug. 4 free; Aug. 5-8 $8 per day, $25 for a four-day pass; children ages 6-11 $2, $8 for a pass. 800-LOB-CLAW or 207-596-0376,

AUG. 13-14

KELOWNA, British Columbia

Summer Wine Festival: Situated between two mountain ranges, the Okanagan Valley is home to more than 100 wineries. The region is best known for ice wines, but its pinot noirs have been turning a lot of heads. This low-key, affordable summer festival held at a Victorian-style resort focuses on wine tastings day and night with just enough educational seminars to stay sober. The lush valley, which also grows lots of tree fruits, is stunning in August. $146-$478 per person, including hotel room. 800-663-443,


AUG. 20-29


Copenhagen Cooking: Good as it may be, Danish pastry isn’t the end-all and be-all of contemporary Scandinavian food. Now in its sixth year, Copenhagen Cooking resembles a cross between Restaurant Week with discounted special menus, a massive fair of street food, and farmers’ markets filling the parks. In honor of the 10th anniversary of the bridge linking Copenhagen to Malmo, Sweden, Danish and Swedish chefs will give cooking demos and hand out samples on Aug. 28-29. Locavore eating means reindeer, ice-water flounder, and wild berries. The website will announce the full schedule in mid-July. Prices vary by event. 011-45-3355-7485,


Events are sometimes canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; check online. Patricia Harris and David Lyon can be reached at Read their food and travel blog at