The world’s biggest water tasting event. (Yes, really!)

It’s kind of like the Oscars, but for water.

Every February for the past 25 years, the little town of Berkeley Springs honors hydration with the world’s largest water tasting competition.

The competition began in the early 90s as a way for Travel Berkeley Springs to draw attention to their natural fountains. It quickly thrust the small town into the spotlight as one of the most important locations for the water industry.

As watermaster Arthur von Weisenburger puts it, this water tasting is the “granddaddy of them all.”

Under von Weisenburger’s careful lead, the judges (who are mostly local and national media members) thoroughly inspect each entry. The row of judges somewhat resembles a group of distinguished wine tasters in Napa Valley— looking, sniffing, swirling, tasting.

This year, more than 100 waters from across the world will be scrutinized for appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel and aftertaste.

Any kind of water will do— even sparkling water! In the event’s history, more than 700 waters have entered, some from as far away as Greece and New Zealand.

You can taste water with the judges and vote for the best bottled water packaging. While organizers agree that just observing can be a little dry– pun intended– visitors do come from all over the country just to see the spectacle. It’s is even broadcast live online.

The true excitement comes last.

Deemed the “water rush,” guests can take home the hundreds of bottles of water that were sent in for judging. Think Black Friday, but with water bottles. Watch an eloquent display of the world’s best waters reduced to a couple of empty stands in mere seconds.

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This post was last updated on July 17, 2020