From old stories of medieval times it seems that festivals have been taking place as a way of selling one’s goods or abundance from harvests as well as a source of local entertainment for a long long time.
When my children were young and we lived in California we managed to get to a number of the late summer to early autumn festivals, including the garlic festival where I first tasted garlic wine and thought it would be quite good with pasta or a red meat meal. We went to the artichoke festival in Castroville, then at least, the artichoke capital of the world. We went into a church there for Mass and the priest had a large artichoke appliqued onto his vestment for the day.
By far the biggest and most exasperating festival was the pumpkin festival in Half Moon Bay. We planned to meet our longtime friend, Camilla there. The street going into and back out of Half Moon Bay was only two lanes – one in each direction and ran for a very long part of the way from the freeway. Of course the traffic was bumper to bumper and the event was very crowded. There was a contest for the biggest pumpkin and some were from Ohio. The winner was 625 pounds. We never found Camilla and there was a major disagreement about lunch. The only good that came of it were some great photographs of the children among the pumpkins. At that point I resolved not to go to any more festivals, at least not with any haphazard plan to meet someone there.
Each summer the city of Bedford has a number of festivals in their downtown area, beginning with The Strawberry Festival, not that I saw anything related to strawberries there, but only that it takes place when strawberries are first in season. Then there is an Italian Festival and in September there is a Pooka Festival. Richard Sedlon, an artist from Bedford created the whimsical gnome like character that loves to paint, read, sing and dance. Assorted crafters and artists display their work for sale and local authors bring stacks of their books to sell. There is usually good food available to buy and music by local groups entertaining from the gazebo in the center of the park.