A-peeling: Sacramento Banana Fest

Is it your go-to snack, breakfast, dessert? Go to the capital city in August.

ONE OF THESE THINGS... is not like the other, goes the charming song from "Sesame Street," and it is a concept that can be applied to numerous categories. One of the easiest, of course, is fruit, where a line-up of oranges, apples, tangerines, and bananas will elicit an immediate response from the viewer. The banana is the thing that's not like the others, thanks to its elongated shape, its sunny hue, and the fact that it comes with its own handle. It's among the quirkiest of fruits, in short, and one of the most popular, thanks to its appearance in dishes that range from breakfast-healthy (oatmeal laden with banana slices) to dessert-indulgent (Bananas Foster famously springs to mind). It can, from time to time, even cameo in savory fare, such as corn fritters. Celebrating its ultimate other-o-sity, and its effortless versatility, is the Sacramento Banana Festival. The yearly "a-peeling" get-together is back for lucky year number 7 on...

AUG. 20 AND 21, 2016: There's a chef challenged called "Smashed!" and a Banana Bread Path (mmm) and a banana pie eating contest and a bevy of smooshy, creamy treats to eat. Start with banana bread brownies, then move on to banana coconut custard, and save room for a banana 7 Up float. A banana bake-off, the making of hats inspired by the great Carmen Miranda, and more good times await at Shasta Park. But do you really carry a banana by its handle? Some people say that the part we start to peel should be "the stick" we hold while we devour a banana from the opposite end. It's forever intriguing, that ol' long fruitstuff, and worthy of its own special weekend in the capital.

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