West Virginia Autumn Harvest Festival and Roadkill Cook-Off

West Virginia Autumn Harvest Festival and Roadkill Cook-Off
Photo: mountainmusictrail.com
The first days of the fall are still warm, but West Virginia has it’s own way to celebrate the arrival of the new season. Citizens of a small town Marlinton annually celebrate on the last weekend of September the Autumn Harvest Festival and Roadkill Cook-Off.

As the title says, this annual festival is about cooking the most exotic dishes you can ever taste. The main rule is applied to all cooks participating the festival: all meals should be cooked with animals that were found dead on the side of the road. That means, that meals can be contain the meat of cow, bear, possum, groundhog, squirrel, snake, turkey, rabbit, crow, etc.

Before the cooking contest begins, all meat products are inspected to ensure that they do not contain any gravel in them. Also the cooks are not allowed to precook meat products: frying, baking, stewing, sauteing or any other preparing should be done on site only. However, pretreatment of meat can be done before the cook-off begins.

The contest begins at 9 am, and when it ends, all visitors of the festival are encouraged to try the dishes. If you want something exotic, think of deer sausage, boar nachos, squirrel fried rice and even porcupine skewers. All cooked dishes are served in small sample taste plates. The number of samples is limited, so you’d better come early. For $5.00 only you get the unlimited access to all dishes you’d like to try.

Cooks do not only cook their meals, they also provide recipes, so visitors can try to repeat them at home. Most of the dishes are really accessible and very tasty.

The highly-qualified judges will determine the winners of the contest based on the taste, originality and presentation of the meals. The winners are awarded with $1,200, $600 and $300 cash prizes for the first three places, and $150 for the Showmanship. In addition, the general public will choose the People’s Choice Award - $150.