Kluai Khai Fair
The Kluai Khai Fair is held in September each year to promote the local banana for which the province is famous. There are banana contests and competitions on the making of Krayasat (a local sweet), as well as many entertainment performances.
Eat your hearts out FarmVille fans, this is the real deal, full bunches of bananas with real rosettes at a real farmers’ market, and a real one-crop festival.Thailand’s Kamphaeng Phet Province holds their Sart Thai Buddhist Tradition and Banana Festival in September each year.
In 2009 it was during the second week of the month, and in 2010, it all revolves around the 23rd of the month and the full moon (Sart Thai is a Buddhist celebration that follows the full moon).
Over 200 million Baht value of bananas per year are exported from just this one province – roughly 4 million Pounds Sterling – which doesn’t sound a lot until you realise the local produce-market price for one of those full-length bunches is only 200 Baht … meaning roughly one million bunches are in the annual export figures. Each tree crops once a year, so you can imagine how intensively they’re planted and farmed.
Bananas are one of the world’s most important food crops. Aside from the common export banana (the Cavendish), there are about 1000 other varieties of bananas. Some bananas are blue, others are orange or red, some are round, and a few are as big as your arm. In the tropics, bananas aren’t only eaten fresh, they’re barbecued, they’re deep-fried, they’re sun-dried, their flowers are used in salads – instead of lettuce, they’re even made into beer and wine.
The local banana dessert, krayasart is a wonderful, sweet, sticky, granola-like concoction made with peanuts, sesame seeds, rice, etc. For some reason this is mostly made during the banana festival, which has competitions for the best krayasart there.
Thai bananas are far more tasty than those of most other countries, and you wouldn’t believe how many varieties there are, which is just as well, because the festival includes a banana-eating competition (race?). I can’t envision it as being a particularly captivating spectator sport … unless they have a women’s competition too :)
Aside from the eating and producer competitions, there are the cookery competitions for making of krayasat, as well as many entertainment performances provided by both traditional and modern performing arts. Of course, being Thailand, no festival is complete without a beauty competition and pageant. Kampaeng Phet is no exception and hosts the Miss Banana Queen pageant during the festival.