Crowds at the 2010 LA Food Festival.
Crowds at the 2010 LA Food Festival.

Top 5 Food Festival Etiquette Rules

Summer is the season of food festivals. Whether it's beer, pancakes or food trucks, this is the time of year we line up (or sit down) at weekend events for samples of exotic and exciting foods. Unfortunately, some of us don't quite know how to behave in situations with other human beings. Turn the page for a few tips.

5. Stay Home

Seriously, don't bother showing up. Like anything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it. If you walk in with a terrible attitude, chances are you're going to have a terrible experience. Besides, food festivals, while excellent for their culinary density, are often the worst way to experience a cuisine or restaurant in its natural habitat.

4. Servers Are People Too

We shouldn't have to tell you, but unless you like spit in your food, you should always be polite to servers. That's just basic decency. If you think you're sticky and tired standing in line under the broiling sun, spend a few minutes working the hot-line of a taco truck. Suddenly, a sun-baked parking lot starts to look like an oasis. If a festival is oversold or poorly managed, it's not the fault of the people who make your food. Don't take your anger out on them. Say "please" when you order your food. Say "thank you" when you receive it.

3. Don't Cut In Line

It's one thing to strategically divide your resources by waiting in one line while your friend waits in another then meeting up. It's another thing to waltz up with four new people and cut in a line that's 50-people deep. Food festivals shouldn't need a Playground Monitor, but sometimes we wish they had one. Lines can be long. We're all in it together. Don't forget that.

Crowds at LA Street Food Festival

2. One Sample Per Person

On the off-chance that you're grabbing an additional sample for your best friend, your significant other or whoever you've dragged with you, we'll occasionally raise this limit to two samples per person. Beyond that, you're a greedy jerk. This isn't Costco or Trader Joe's or the bomb shelter in The Road. You don't have to body-check your fellow human beings for a pinkie-sized scrap of Hot Pocket. Even more appalling: When people who take multiple samples throw them out after trying one bite.

1. Get Out of the Way!

This rule also applies to idiots who linger in doorways, crosswalks and at the top of elevators, but nowhere is spatial cluelessness more infuriating than at a food festival booth. Once you've selected your sample, don't stand right in front of the table eating it. You're blocking everyone else and holding up the line. Step away. Enjoy your food at your leisure, and let other people move in. Once again, this isn't Costco.

Pro-Tip: Bring cash. Even if a vendor accepts take credit cards, you'll make the line move more quickly.

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