Banana Festivals In America

Celebrations of Food

America has been home to harvest and agricultural fairs and moon festivals since our Indigenous Peoples began their monthly thanksgiving feasts in gratitude for good crops and good hunting in a rich land. In Ohio, salmon was as big as a man's arm before industrialism demanded use of some of the state's waterways. Over fishing was then inherent to overpopulation in some areas. All the same, there are festivals throughout the USA and its protectorates nearly every month of the year and certainly on all national holidays.

Bananas In Art

"The Banana Tribe" by Elizabeth Twining (1805-1889).
"The Banana Tribe" by Elizabeth Twining (1805-1889).

Food Fairs

State fairs usually have a crops and food-related component in exhibits and contests regarding the best cow, chicken, rabbit, tomato, or pumpkin. Other fairs and festivals have grown up around a single crop or food that actually doesn't grow in the location of the festival.

The revival of the International Banana Festival in Fulton, Kentucky for 2014 was held originally each summer with a big parade and banana-themed floats from 1862 to 1992. It is now held during the third week of September in Kentucky and Tennessee.

At one point in time, Fulton was called Banana Capital of the World , since 70% of American banana imports were shipped to Fulton Ky. The United Fruit Co is now called Chiquita and was responsible for bringing the banana to America after 1880, when almost no American had ever seen one. By 1930, Fulton was flooded with bananas.

United Fruit shipped bananas on ice up from South America to New Orleans. Their, they were placed onto new house-sized blocks of ice for a longer trip to Chicago. As it turns out, Fulton KY possessed the only ice house along the banana route, so they received the bananas. The Fulton Ice Plant no longer exists, but a number of railroad clubs and enthusiasts remain active. Highways and refrigerated trucks and then airline shipping took all of Fulton's banana business.

Leland Standford Mansion among Hi Rises

This old mansion was remodeled in 1871 and is a National Historic Landmark in Sacramento.
This old mansion was remodeled in 1871 and is a National Historic Landmark in Sacramento.

The first annual banana festival for Sacramento was scheduled August 13th-15th, 2010.

Sacramento, California and Bananas

Sacramento will hold an annual banana festival and a few of this fruit may even grow there.

The first annual banana festival for Sacramento was scheduled August 13th-15th, 2010.

It was a family friendly community event with bananas in every sort of recipe at concessions and exhibitions. Contests, good food, and ongoing activities promise a good time in the name of health and culture.

Local and global music is offered, with dancing and international foods. Local artists sell their wares as crafters and entertainers perform. A 5-K run and many other activities keep everyone entertained, with Healthy Food and Lifestyle as the overarching theme.

Cultures collected into this celebration include all those of California, along with Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Many banana varieties and plantains are celebrated in music, custom, and ceremony.

Well known chefs will dual on stage in the SMASHED banana challenge. They are required to create a Three Course Meal out of a bag of mystery ingredients - probably includes bananas.

Los Angeles Banana Museum

This is a lot of fun. The museum will sponsor an exhibit that the Sacramento Banana Festival. have you ever played checkers with bananas? You might get the chance, if you attend the festival ($5.00 admission, $15 for a family of 4).

The Banana Museum is in process of moving, with a grand re-opening in 2011, but in the meantime, owner Ken Bannister boasts a collection of some 18,000 banana "things." He's in the Guinness Book of Records for it and has outgrown his storefront location. The Banana Club® Museum is the name of the place and Ken is a Century 21 real estate pro that derives a lot of fun from his banana and banana accessories museum.

Look at some of his banana things: Ken the Smiling Banana Man.

For 2010 this Banana Festival is held at Cosumnes River College, a local community college in southern Sacramento, California. It is one of several local communities that has supported walkability for transportation and health in a city, this one with WalkSacramento.

Sacramento Banana Festival

Humpbacked whale named Dawn in the Sacramento River in May 2007.
Humpbacked whale named Dawn in the Sacramento River in May 2007.

Who Invented the Banana Split?

A Banana Split Festival is held the second week of June yearly in Wilmington, Ohio.

Banana Split Festival

A Banana Split Festival is held the second week of June yearly in Wilmington, Ohio. The people of wilmington love bananas and a Master Banana Split eating winner is crowned each summer. The festival is combined with a 1905s - 1960s Car Cruise In and Car Show that attracts a lot of visitors. The Cruise In is free and a free contest selects the best vintage vehicles in the group.

Wilmington insists that a store owner there invented the Banana Split in 1907. He store was Hazard's Restaurant. Latrobe PA feuds with Wilmington OH, claiming that someone there invented the dish in 1903. Others claim it was invented at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, along with the ice cream cone.

Wilmington Banana Split Festival 2010

A banana culture or plantation in Ecuador (public domain).
A banana culture or plantation in Ecuador (public domain).

© 2010 Patty Inglish

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Comments and Festivities 10 comments

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

What a fascinating hub! I had no idea there were so many ways to celebrate the banana. Personally, I'd head over to the banana split festival. :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Hi steph! - Sounds good to me too. I thought we'd find more US festivals for bananas - but most of them are in the crop countries. Maybe we will hear from some other towns.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for such informative hub. It must be nice to see the banana festivals.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

This looks like fun. Very informative on the banana festivals.


JenDobson27 profile image

JenDobson27 6 years ago

That is one crazy picture of the whale diving out of the water right next to all of those wind surfers! Thanks for sharing about all of the different ways to celebrate bananas. I just might have to check out that banana split festival :)


LensMan999 profile image

LensMan999 6 years ago from Trans-Neptunian region

Do you know one thing , banana lots of health benefits also


hamburghotels 6 years ago

That is cool one,....Thanks for sharing with all

Great enjoy the rest!


askpowers 6 years ago

Really cool..

I Love bananas :)

Thanks for sharing such information. Keep it up


scott 4 years ago

Nuisance wanted to say that Fulton has started to hold their festival once again.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

That's good to hear.

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