Hormel, the corporate parent responsible for foisting millions of cans of SPAM™ upon an unsuspecting world, is very sensitive about anyone making fun of their potted pork product. You can imagine their reaction, then, when David Arnsberger and Dick Terry held the first SPAMARAMA™ in Austin back in 1976. Hormel let the guys know, in no uncertain terms, that taking the can’s name in vain, without using ALL CAPITALS and the trademark insignia, could have serious legal consequences. That explains why there are so many CAPS and little ‘TM’s in this entry. Officially called the Pandemonious Potted Pork Festival, SPAMARAMA™ draws 10,000 people with a highly refined sense of humor to one of the wackiest festivals in America. Held each year in Austin on a weekend close to April Fool’s Day, the festival is famous for making rollicking good fun of a product folks either love or love to hate. The cooking entries are divided into two divisions: the open, in which anyone can enter serious or joke dishes; and the professional, which is limited to chefs and restaurateurs. Awards are given not just for the best – and worst-tasting – concoctions, but for showmanship as well. Past entries have included various flavors of SPAM™ ice cream, Moo Goo Gai SPAM™, GuacaSPAMole™, and SPAMalama™ Ding Dong, a concoction made with the pink colored meat, whipped cream, and chocolate. You can even buy a recipe book full of different ways to make this gelatinous pink stuff palatable.

Where: Austin, TX

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