We love our lentils and their farmers so much here on the Palouse that we hold an annual two-day celebration to honor them. And why not? Our region grows 25% of the nation’s lentil supply, and we are world-renowned for producing the highest quality lentils in the U.S.
Since 1989, revelers have visited Pullman, Washington (our little sister city right across the border), from all across the country to celebrate this tiny legume during the Lentil Festival. The chosen weekend in August always coincides with the beginning of a new school year for both of our universities (The University of Idaho here in Moscow and Washington State University in Pullman) as well as our local schools, so you’re bound to run into someone you know while you sample some lentil chili from a 600-gallon pot.
lentil chili pot via lentilfest.com
That’s right, they stir it with a boat paddle!
If you’re the athletic sort, you can run in the 5K race, play a game of 3-on-3 basketball, glide through a skateboard competition, or join in the mini golf tournament.
lentil festival runners via lentilfest.com
And don’t forget the parade! The little cuties below are this year’s ‘Lil Lentil King and Queen.
lentil festival parade via lentilfest.com
Local artisans display their wares, a stage hosts great live music, and a beer and wine garden features local microbrews and wines.
Of course, it’s not all about parties and parades. This year, local sponsors partnered with Feeding Children Everywhere, and thanks to their support and the work of many volunteers, 25,000 healthy meals featuring lentils were hand-packed for local distribution. And our local humane shelter raised $30,000 for the animals.
If you’re out this way next year, you should definitely drop in. There’s a little something for everyone.