Definitely spend your summer months traveling and exploring. If you like the strange and unforgettable there are some festivals all over the U.S. you should attend – because, I have the strangest feeling none of your friends will be at the same ones.
Underwater Music Festival- Key West, Florida
If you like scuba diving, head to the Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary next month when they pump music into the sea with speakers suspended from boats. A lot of people wear costumes and make it a “Little Mermaid” style under the sea party.
Duck Tape Festival- Avon, Ohio
A parade, a fashion show and sculptures all made by, yes, duct tape are celebrated this weekend at the self-proclaimed “Duck Tape Capital of the World.” It centers around a different theme each year, and last year’s was “Duck Tape takes you on a tropical vacation.” Sounds like a party to me.
Mooning of the Amtrak- Laguna Niguel, California
Mugs Away Saloon is a little bar in Laguna Niguel located next to the train tracks. According to legend, people started mooning the passing Amtrak in 1979 when someone offered a free drink to anyone who showed their behinds off to the passing train. What started as a joke turned into a full-on boozy festival.
UFO Festival- Roswell, New Mexico
Jun 30-Jul 3
Does this surprise you? Probably not. Regardless, the town lights up at night with floats full of aliens and spaceships as they roll through downtown. They also have bizarre art, strange street performers and tons of alien costumes.
Lebowski Fest- Louisville, Kentucky
The Dude definitely abides in this town. First, there’s “The Movie Party” with an outdoor screening of the film and live band performances, and then “The Bowling Party” takes place with unlimited bowling and a trivia/costume contest. Not sure if it’s BYOWR (Bring Your Own White Russian) or not.
Yale Bologna Fest-Yale, Michigan
Ever wanted to be named “Bologna King?” You’ll have to contend with the men of this 2,000-person town. They have a bologna derby, an outhouse race (what?) and a golf cart parade followed by a cardboard boat race.
Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw- Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin
What’s a cow chip, you ask? It’s a large chunk of hardened cow dung, which makes this fest very weird. The entire town picks these things up and flings them like a frisbee to try and break the record of 248 feet. The only rule is that you can’t wear gloves, and licking your hands is encouraged for better grip. Seriously.
Testy Festy- Rock Creek, Montana
There are a few festivals around the US where you can eat Mountain Oysters (animal testicles), but there aren’t many with such a clever name. Plus, this one has an “Undie 500,” where grown men and women race tricycles in their underwear. They also have a wet t-shirt contest, and a “big balls” contest that I’m not going to go into any further. It’s Rock Creek’s wildest party of the year, rounded out with a bull ball-eating contest, of course.
The Chicken Show- Wayne, Nebraska
Sure, yeah it’s just a festival for chickens… until the Chickendales come out. Shirtless guys with brown paper bag chicken masks on dance on a float during the parade and “National Cluck-Off,” which is an activity in which people dress up like chickens and aggressively flap their arms and cluck their little hearts out for prizes. They also offer “free chicken stories” (thank God) at the library, a rubber chicken-chucking contest, a “cement chicken” auction and the local cheerleaders even get together for the world’s largest chicken dance.
…Do you think they like chicken?
San Fermin in Nueva Orleans- New Orleans, Louisiana
You know the tradition in Pamplona called the Running of the Bulls? This is kind of like that. Except participants are being chased by bulls, but roller-skating woman instead. The Big Easy Rollergirls whack you with foam paddles and lead you to the parade, live music and plenty of food and booze. There’s also “La Fiesta de Pantalones” (the pants party) and a hangover party the next day with skit contests, dramatic readings, and a Hemingway lookalike contest. I’m not sure I see the connection, but we’ll go with it.
Sounds like it’s going to be one hell of a summer!