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From Lollapalooza to Mardi Gras, the US is home to hundreds of festivals each year. Get off the beaten path this summer to experience some of the most unique – and bizarre – festivals across the country.
Roadkill Cook Off
1. Roadkill Cook Off – Marlinton, West Virginia – September 23-24
Kick off the fall barbeque season at the West Virginia Roadkill Cook-off in Marlinton, West Virginia. The competition is part of the annual Autumn Harvest Festival, where cooks from all over the state compete for the coveted first place title of Roadkill Champion. There is no need to worry about an entry fee; the town actually pays contestants to join the competition. All you have to do is prepare any animal typically found dead alongside the freeway, including squirrels, opossums, and groundhogs. Cooking not your cup of tea? Try competing in the annual beauty pageant. You could be crowned Miss Roadkill Cook-off!
Burning Man
2. Burning Man – Black Rock City, Nevada – August 28-September 5
Every August, thousands of artists flock to the Black Rock Desert to celebrate self-expression in all forms. This is not your typical art festival; in fact, it could be better described as a cult experiment. Over 70,000 people travel from across the world to build a temporary community and celebrate various forms of art. After one week of creative self-expression, the participants scatter without a trace, voiding the Black Rock Desert until the following August. The week is centered on the ritualistic burning of a massive statue, referred to as “The Man”. To add to the cult-like atmosphere, participants are encouraged to wear anything from ski masks to kilts, including “tasteful nudity”.
Bald Is Beautiful
3. Bald is Beautiful Convention – Morehead City, North Carolina – Early September
This September, toss off your toupees and throw away your Rogaine to embrace the festivities at the Bald is Beautiful convention. Each year, chrome-domed men from across the globe gather in Morehead City, North Carolina, to celebrate their unique hairstyles…or lack thereof. Not sure if you qualify as a bald beauty? All you need is a hairline that starts 5” from the eyebrows, “fringe benefits”, or a hole in your haircut. Attendees gather on Bald Street, Morehead City, to participate in ceremonial chants, clinics, and competitions for Sexiest Bald Head, Most Improved Bald Head, and Smoothest Head. According to founder John Capps, “It’s time for bald men everywhere to dare to bare and be proud of every hair they don’t have.”
Humongous Fungus Festival
4. Humongous Fungus Festival – Crystal Falls, Michigan – August 7-9
In the late 1980’s, two scientists discovered a 38-acre mushroom in a forest in Crystal Falls, Michigan. The giant fungus dates back at least 1,500 years and weighs over 100 tons, roughly the same as an adult blue whale. The people of Crystal Falls have fondly named the mushroom “The Humongous Fungus”, celebrating the natural phenomenon each August. Swing by the festival to watch the strong man contest, complete with a keg toss, tire flop, and metal pole lift, as competitors work up an appetite to eat the world’s largest mushroom pizza.
Cow Chip Throw
5. Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival – Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin – September 2-3
Celebrate history the Wisconsin way by attending the 42nd annual Cow Chip Throw and Festival in Prairie du Sac, WI. You read that right – this festival is centered on pitching dried cow poop. Compete in teams or individually to beat the state record of 248 feet, set in 1991. If chip throwing isn’t your thing, the festival offers several other activities, including a 5K race, live music, beer garden, arts and crafts fair, and dunk tank. / Issue 183 - September 2018
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