Sunday, June 7, 2009

#4 Horseradish Festival, Collinsville, IL, June 7, 2009

Horseradish Festival - Collinsville, IL - June 7, 2009

A giant floating horseradish welcomes everyone to the festival.

I entered the Horseradish Festival amateur recipe contest. On the right is my entry, a horseradish infused cold shrimp with a honey/horseradish sauce (The recipe is posted on the left side of the web page). The judging was intense.

I somehow managed to win 1st place, and the blue ribbon. I received a medal and even a $100 savings bond (valued at $50). I am now the reigning 2009 International Horseradish Festival Recipe Contest winner and no one can ever take that away. I guess it could be compared to winning the World Series.

Surprisingly there weren't many horseradish themed food items at the fair, but I was able to find some horseradish ice cream. I think it could have been better, but it tasted like someone dumped a jar of prepared horseradish into vanilla ice cream. For it essentially being spicy ice cream,
it was more than palpable and strangely addictive

Video of the week. If "Under the Boardwalk" by the Drifters doesn't make you want to go out to a festival yourself, then I don't know what will.

The International Horseradish Festival is exactly what a food festival should be. If you're wondering why there is a horseradish festival in Collinsville, IL, apparently 80% of the horseradish consumed in the nation is grown in Collinsville, IL! At least that is what the emcee said in between band sets. (Edit: According to the in-ter-net that number is closer to 67%, but still strange and impressive).

Although the recipe contest was definitely the highlight for me (I am now 1-0 in recipe contests), there was also a horseradish root toss, root golf, root sacking, and of course Little Ms. Horseradish. I was surprised there weren't more horseradish related food items, but that didn't matter after I had my gyro (Sadly, I did put this in their suggestion box).

In fact, I might set up a booth next year and sell my now award winning horseradish shrimp. This recipe was a classic example of my ability to over-think things. I made at least 6 different versions, submitted 3 different recipes (including 1 day of), and went through a pound of shrimp in trials (not a horrible problem). There were four other entries in the recipe contest, and they shared their recipes with me including: 1) Horseradish Deviled Eggs, 2) Horseradish infused Dill Pickles, 3) Horseradish and Shrimp Gazpacho, and 4) Horseradish salad (described as all types of salad combined). Deviled eggs came in second and the dill pickles took 3rd. The application called for 10 portions for 10 judges, but there were only 3 judges so I had plenty to share with the crowd (yes there was a crowd gathered to watch). In fact all 3 judges came back for seconds after the awards ceremony, even though one told me that she didn't care for shrimp. I will try to post the blue ribbon recipe here on Wednesday, and maybe make it a weekly addition.

I also competed in the root toss and threw a horseradish root (underhanded only) 42 feet, but found out the leader was well over 60. I was also disappointed to find out that the root sacking competition (to see who can stuff more horseradish root into a burlap sack) was restricted for kids 12 and under. I also had video of an interpretive dance from Heavenly Rhythms Dance Team, but felt too creepy to post it.

I am so glad to have gone to this festival after yesterday's debacle. It's just so refreshing to have some good old-fashioned wholesome fun outdoors and away from home. It's something I really need right now, and am truly enjoying. I'm also finding that I'm doing things I've never done before at these festivals, and that may be the best part of all. Now all that's left today is to figure out whether to hang my framed medal at home or in the office.

(UPDATE: Here is the official press release in the St. Louis Post Dispatch of the winners)


  1. Congrats, Riz! I think I need to taste the award winning recipe...


  2. Congratulations Riz! Very impressive! You'll have to serve some of your award winning shrimp at our yet-to-be-planned house-warming party. Love reading about all you are doing. I'm very tempted to say you might have a little family of 4 tag along for the pumpkin festival in Sept. I really have always wanted to go back...

  3. Thanks guys for the support, it means a lot. I would be happy to eat shrimp anytime. Shannon, I would be happy for anyone to join me at any festival. Just email me which festival you would like to visit, and whether you will meet me there or join me on the drive. Testicle Festival taught me that a co-pilot may not be a bad thing.

  4. I cant believe you freaking won! that is so awsome! do you get to give out the award next year? look what you have gotten yourself into!:)

  5. Wow, I had no idea you won an "International" horseradish festival (as noted on that inflatable horseradish). Now that's a title to be extra proud of. Did you figure out what makes it international?

  6. I am proud of you son! Finally, St. Louis has something to be proud of. What's with the festival kick? There are a ton of festivals around here...