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World’s strangest food festivals

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The famous La Tomatina festival is the epic tomato-launching battle ensues until 100 tons of tomato guts covers the Spanish town. (Reuters)

From eccentric tastes to odd eating habits, we all have our culinary quirks. But some individuals and towns take their passion for food to new and strange extremes. Below are five of the most off-the-wall food festivals ever conceived:

La Tomatina - Spain

As the mother of all food fights, Spain's Tomatina is undoubtedly the most famous festival on this list. The streets of the small Valencian town of Buñol run red with tomato juice in this annual free for all, as some 45,000 revelers hurl tons of tomatoes at each other in the August heat. The festival originated in 1945, when young men who were excluded for a local parade flung volleys of tomatoes into the town's main square. After continuing their protests throughout the following years, the tomato-throwing tradition was formed that continues to this day.

Roadkill Cook-Off - West Virginia

West Virginia's annual Autumn Harvest Festival plays host to one of the more stomach-churning festivals on this list - the Roadkill Cook-Off. But for those reeling at the thought of placing tire-marked vermin on the grill, don't panic - the participating chefs only cook the types of animals that often meet their demise by the side of the road. That being said, a plate filled with armadillo tacos and squirrel gravy may not prove a comforting thought for most.

Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake - Cooper's Hill, near Gloucester, England

Some traditions live on for so long that they seem bizarre when considered today, but it's hard to imagine a time when the Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling was ever deemed completely normal. For over 200 years, cheese enthusiasts from all over the world have gathered near Gloucester, England, to race down the steep slope of Cooper's Hill after a rolling wheel of Double Gloucester cheese. Few competitors ever actually catch up to the speeding cheese, so often it's the first across the finish line that wins the day.

Waikiki Spam Jam - Honolulu, Hawaii

It was during the Second World War, when most meats were in short supply that Hawaiians first developed their affinity for the canned meat known as Spam. Today, Hawaiians from all over the Aloha State gather in Honolulu for the annual Waikiki Spam Jam festival, in order to celebrate the spiced meat. Stalls sell typical festival fare including Spam Burgers and Spam Fried rice, as well as Spam t-shirts and other paraphernalia. The festival has become one of the island's most popular, drawing upwards of 20,000 Spam aficionados annually.

Tunarama Festival - Port Lincoln, South Australia

For over 50 years, residents of the South Australian coastal town of Port Lincoln pay tribute to one of the ocean's most popular delicacies - the tuna fish. Over a long weekend in January, the Tunarama festival hosts such events as keg rolling and prawn peeling as well as the festival's centerpiece: the World Champion Tuna Toss Competition, which sees the burliest competitors flinging large tuna fish dozens of yards.

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