The freaks don’t just come out at night. Across the country, summer days mean weird summer festivals celebrating eyebrow-raising regional culture, food and other activities.
Here are some of the best and strangest summer events in America that are worth checking out.
Barnesville Potato Days
Location: Barnesville, Minn.
Date: Aug. 27-28
What you’ll see: Besides eating various potato preparations, people enjoying the Potato Days can participate in a mashed potato sculpture contest, and watch mashed potato wrestling, a mashed potato eating contest and lots of other spud-related activities.
The Hollerin' Contest
Location: Spivey’s Corner, N.C.
Date: June 19
What you’ll see: Long before cell phones, hollerin’ was once an important method of communication in the rural south, according to the North Carolina tourism board. In addition to listening to the loud-mouths compete, attendees at this event can enjoy country, bluegrass and gospel music, and the money raised goes to the Spivey’s Corner Volunteer Fire Department, the tourism board says.
Summer Redneck Games
Location: Dublin, Ga.
Date: July 10
What you’ll see: This tongue-in-cheek event features the Hubcap Hurl, Bobbin’ for Pig’s Feet and Redneck Horseshoes, a game that uses toilet seats instead of horseshoes... and it’s all for a good cause. All profits go to local charities. “In essence, it’s like a grandiose bake sale — only with butt cracks and hubcaps instead of brownies and pie,” according to the event Web site.
Mission Mountain Testicle Festival
Location: Rock Creek, Mont.
Date: Aug. 4-8
What you’ll see: More than 15,000 attendees make it to this event, which organizers call “the world’s largest testicle festival.”
More than 2½ tons of deep-fried bull testicles are fed to hungry participants. And when revelers aren’t enjoying those so-called Rocky Mountain oysters, they can watch a wet T-shirt contest, hairy chest competitions and a bull-chip throwing contest.
Photo Credit: austrini
The Amazing Roswell UFO Festival
Location: Roswell, N.M.
Date: July 2-4
What you’ll see: Alien enthusiasts from around the country swarm together in New Mexico for the Roswell UFO Festival. In additional to seeing attendees in a variety of alien costumes, the festival features a carnival, a recreational skateboard tournament, live entertainment, a museum and lectures.
Photo Credit: madmarv00
World's Longest Yard Sale
Location: From West Unity, Ohio, to Gadsden, Ala.
Date: Aug. 5-8
What you’ll see: Yard sale hunters and knickknack lovers can travel 654 miles along the back roads of the 127 Corridor to check out the World’s Longest Yard Sale.
According to organizers, there are more than 300 attractions along the way including beautiful scenery, river boats, railroads, music, arts, crafts, horses, fishing, hiking and more. And it has become so popular that motel rooms along the way are often booked a year in advance.
Location: Austin, Minn.
Date: July 1-7
What you’ll see: Austin is known by some as Spam Town, USA and makes for a perfect place for a Spam Jam potted meat celebration. After all, it’s the headquarters of the Hormel Corporation and home to the Spam Museum. And since Spam is also a hit in Hawaii, the state celebrates its love for Spam at the Waikiki Spam Jam during the last week of April every year.
Austin, Texas, used to have its own Spamarama, and Shady Cove, Ore., had its own version that served up Spam-seasoned treats including Spam ice cream. The cheap meat festival ended up being too expensive for Shady Cove, however. According to one report in The Mail Tribune, it cost $40,000 to put on the lavish event.
World Championship Cardboard Boat Races
Location: Heber Springs, Ark.
Date: July 31
What you’ll see: These aren’t just little model sailboats on the water. There’s actually some serious science involved in the Heber Springs Cardboard Boat Races. Life-sized home-made boats are sailed along Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas. There’s also sand sculpting, a watermelon-eating contest, a demolition derby and all of your favorite fair foods.
Mighty Mud Mania
Location: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Date: June 19
What you’ll see: Kids and adults alike get to roll around in giant puddles of Arizona mud during Mighty Mud Mania, a tradition that started in 1976 when an advertiser for Shout Spray Pre-Wash failed to show off the product’s mud stain-removing power. There’s even a mud obstacle course and a Mudville town set up for toddlers.
Photo Credit: Dru Bloomfield
Doo Dah Parades
Location: Pasadena, Calif., Columbus, Ohio
Date: May 1 in Pasadena and July 4 in Columbus
What you’ll see: In East Pasadena, Calif., more than 1,000 revelers will take part in the town’s annual Doo Dah Parade, a chance to show off your weird side. The parade will include some crazy groups with zany names like Martinis in the Morning, Howdy Krishna, Zombies of Debt, Flying Baby Street Racing and the BBQ & Hibachi Marching Grill Team.
Columbus Doo Dah paraders “celebrate liberty and lunacy,” according to organizers of the event, which features an “off the wall range of mischiefs, grounded super heroes, political debacles, homegrown satirists, and the other bohemian frolickers winding thru the Short North.”
Miss Crustacean Hermit-Crab Beauty Contest
Location: Ocean City, N.J.
Date: Aug. 4
What you’ll see: Contest organizers call this event the original beauty contest for crustaceans, and hermit crabs are judged for their originality, creativity and personality in both individual and commercial divisions. The winner is awarded the Cucumber Rind Cup. Hermit crab races are held alongside the event.
Coney Island Mermaid Parade
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Date: June 19
What you’ll see: Costumed queens line the streets at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, which is produced by Coney Island USA, the group that’s also responsible for the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. This year, the parade’s King Neptune is musician Lou Reed and the Queen Mermaid will be his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson. The parade itself is followed by the Mermaid Parade Ball, which features sideshow acts and burlesque performances.
Photo Credit: Lel4nd