Let’s face it guys, Americans these days are just plain weird. Oh yes, and if you young urban professional city folks and US City Travelers don’t happen to think so then you haven’t seen the real backwoods, backwards angle of the great US of A that you thought you knew oh so well. Let’s take a little road trip, shall we? Over the hills and deep, deep into the woods we shall go, my friend!
1. Duck Tape Festival — Avon, Ohio
Get y’all’s rubber duckies out. This festival, held every year in Avon, Ohio, spends three days celebrating the wonders of this all-American product. Just when you thought you had heard it all, this happened. The festival includes a duct tape fashion show, duct tape statues, and a parade with duct tape floats. Grab the man in your life who could care less about the horrendous looks of this stuff, yet loves the practicality. Or perhaps the lady in your life who has all 10 colors of this tape clogging up the storage cabinet because she insists on getting every single shade of pink and zebra striped duct tape known to man. And tomboy.
2. Gilroy Garlic Festival — Gilroy, Calif.
For the past 35 years, Gilroy, Calif., has been home to one of the largest food festivals in the United States — the Garlic Festival. Attendees can enjoy all things garlic, along with live music and a garlic-braiding workshop. This festival has everything, even garlic-flavored ice cream. Of all foods, I had no idea that people were so interested in garlic! With that said, it actually makes me want to go that much more to see what all the fuss is about. Though I may just have to bring my nose plugs. Eeeckk.
3. Humungus Fungus Fest — Crystal Falls, Mich.
Crystal Falls, Mich., is home to the “Humungus Fungus.” This phenomenon is one of the world’s largest and oldest living organisms. The fungus covers almost 48 acres, so naturally the town created a festival to celebrate its existence. For three days, festival attendees can enjoy a pancake breakfast, tournaments, softball games, and the largest mushroom pizza known to man. Pizza lovers shall unite for one heck of a good time and yeah, fungus enthusiasts as well. Well, if there even is such a thing.
4. Underwater Music Festival — Florida Keys
This one is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever heard of. The Underwater Music Festival is held every year in the Florida Keys. Music is broadcasted by local radio stations and piped underwater! Who knew there was such a thing! Musicians dressed as mermaids and mermen join in on the fun and put on a show for all onlookers. Many dive enthusiasts come out for the fun and food, but the festival also promotes the preservation of the Keys’ coral reef ecosystem. What a cool concept!
5. Testicle Festival — Clinton, Mont.
Yes, the type of testicles you are thinking about actually have their own festival. I would imagine that a group of dirty old men thought it would be funny to put something like this together and, well, I guess they did. So gather up your group of girlfriends and head on out to Clinton, Mont. to intake in the Testy Fest, it includes several different events, the main one being the ball-eating contest. You are given four minutes to see how many bull testicles you can consume. Yes, you have to eat bull testicles. They also have an Undie 500 race which is pretty much what it sounds like — people racing in their underwear. Who says Montana ain’t classy now, eh?!
6. Eeyore’s Birthday Party — Austin, Texas
Eeyore, you know him, right? Every year in Austin, Texas, people of all ages dress up and head into town to celebrate Winnie the Pooh’s best friend. This celebration has grown increasingly popular over the years. The celebration features a drum circle, live music, belly dancing, face painting, free food, and pictures with the one and only Eeyore. This festival is free to get in, free to park, and proceeds always go to local charities. From kids to kids at heart, this place is sure to help leave you feeling a little less gloomy.
7. Roadkill Cook Off — Marlinton, W. Va.
As a vegetarian who just finished writing about America’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants, you could probably imagine how a roadkill cook off would sound to me. Not so appetizing to say the least. Actually I don’t even know if you could put a price on me taking a bite… or even a little sniff out of anything there! But what exactly is this event all about? Well, ever driven past some roadkill and had the urge to eat it? Well, every year in Marlinton, W. Va., you can. This roadkill cook off festival allows locals to enjoy a day of tasting strange cuisine, shopping for local crafts, tasting local wines, and enjoying live entertainment. Looking back, I’m pretty sure this is why I created a site called US City Traveler! You wouldn’t see something this creepy in Times Square!
8. Wayne Chicken Show — Wayne, Neb.
On the second Saturday of each July, the Wayne Area Chamber of Commerce in Nebraska puts on the “Wayne Chicken Show.” This festival, which lasts all weekend, includes food stands, craft vendors, games, and a huge chicken dance. Whether you are a collector of all things chicken to put in the farm house or simply are looking for a fun place to take the kids (there isn’t so much to do here in Nebraska), the little town of Wayne comes alive for this one of a kind festival.
9. National Hollerin’ Contest — Spivey’s Corner, N.C.
How loud can y’all hallah? Here in the deep South in Spivey’s Corner, N.C. is where you’ll find some pretty darn loud and rowdy contestants. The National Hollerin’ Contest began in 1969 to save this endangered form of communication from extinction. The event now includes a BBQ cook off and live music. If Honey Boo Boo was a native here I’m sure she’d always be a winnin’, ‘cuz she likes to be hallah ‘n for a a dollah. Though I doubt she has to holler much these days with a hit show on the line, being a household name and what not. More power to her!
10. National Lentil Festival — Pullman, Wash.
Pullman, Wash. holds an entire festival dedicated to those little beans our parents used to make us eat as a kid! Yep, Pullman is full of strange birds (that critter with the chef hat up there is a bird, right?!). Lentil enthusiasts stop by to regain their sense of humor with live music, a kids’ carnival, free lentil chili, and several vendors. There’s also an annual 5K race, a lentil pancake restaurant, and the anticipation of who will be crowned Lil’ Lentil King and Queen for the year. What an honor.
11. Tarantula Awareness Festival — Coarsegold, Calif.
Each year in Coarsegold, Calif., locals gather for a day of tarantula-themed fun and learning, come Halloween time. All kinds of arachnid displays, tarantula races, and even a costume contest, all to make sure that you have an experience that you’ll never forget. Come and rid your little spider fear here at this festival. And God forbid the kids don’t accidentally let one loose–keep an eyes on your knees at all time, just in case!
12. Hatfield and McCoy Reunion Festival — Williamson, W.Va.
Residents of Williamson, W. Va. have been reliving the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud for the past decade because it’s simply unforgettable. The festival includes a marathon, live music, food, and a tour of some of the better-known places where actual feuding took place. This timeless tradition is sure to leave you feeling like “you ain’t in Kansas any maw.”
So that wraps it up folks. That’s Americans for ‘ya. Sheish, what’s this place coming to?! Now the real question is whether or not any of you nut jobs have actually been to any of these festivals. If not, would you consider going to one or would someone have to drag you along for the ride? Let us know in the comments section below!