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10 Bizarre and Captivating Festivals That Showcase America’s Creative Spirit

Get ready to dive into the weirdest and most wonderful festivals across the USA! While you may already know about famous events like Burning Man and Mardi Gras, there are some lesser-known festivals that are just as fascinating. So, if you’re up for an adventure on your next trip, check out these 10 quirky festivals happening across the country.

1. Avon Heritage Duck Tape Festival, Ohio

Calling all DIY enthusiasts! Avon, Ohio hosts the Duck Tape Festival over Father’s Day weekend. This festival celebrates the incredible usefulness of duct tape. You can enjoy all the typical festival attractions like carnival rides and live music, but what sets it apart is the prominent role of Duck Tape. Marvel at gigantic sculptures made entirely out of Duck Tape, witness a parade with Duck Tape floats, and catch a fashion show where participants strut their stuff in outfits crafted from this versatile adhesive. If you have a deep appreciation for the wonders of tape, Avon is the place to be. Sadly, there’s no festival dedicated to WD-40… yet!

2. Mike the Headless Chicken Festival, Colorado

Prepare to be amazed by a truly unbelievable story. Back in 1945, a chicken named Mike had its head chopped off but managed to survive! For the next 18 months, the headless wonder known as “The Headless Wonder Chicken” waddled around, attempting to peck at things. Fruita, Colorado, the hometown of Mike, celebrates his unusual life with the annual Mike the Headless Chicken Festival. Enjoy various events, including a 5K race, a disc golf tournament, a poultry show, and a chicken wing eating competition. It’s a festival that embraces the strange and showcases the incredible resilience of our feathered friends.

3. Spam Jam, Hawaii

If you’re in Hawaii and have a taste for the unconventional, Spam Jam is the festival for you. Hawaiians have a special affinity for Spam, consuming more of it per capita than any other state in the US. In Waikiki, thousands of Spam enthusiasts gather at the end of April each year for a unique celebration. Discover the diverse culinary possibilities of Spam, with dishes ranging from Spam corn chowder to Spam pizza. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s even Spam flan! Don’t miss the chance to meet Sir Can-A-Lot and Spammy, the official ambassadors sent by Hormel, the makers of Spam. And while you’re enjoying the festivities, remember that the event also supports the Hawaii Food Bank by collecting food donations, including cans of Spam.

4. Underwater Music Festival, Florida

Prepare for a truly immersive musical experience at the Underwater Music Festival in the Lower Keys of Florida. This festival, held at Looe Key Reef, combines the joy of music with a commitment to coral reef preservation. As divers explore the vibrant underwater world teeming with fish, they are treated to a unique concert experience. Water-themed songs like “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles and “Fins” by Jimmy Buffett are played through underwater speakers attached to boats. Divers often dress up in creative costumes and pose with underwater instruments like the “baratuba” and “clambourine.” It’s a festival that brings together music and marine life in a truly enchanting way.

5. Frozen Dead Guy Days, Colorado

Experience the frosty charm of Frozen Dead Guy Days in Colorado. This festival, created in 2002, revolves around a rather peculiar character named Bredo Morstoel, whose frozen body is stored in the town of Nederland. The event features a variety of frosty activities, including a coffin race, a hearse parade, and even a frozen T-shirt contest. The backstory is as intriguing as the festival itself, involving a deported grandson, a frozen body, and a grandfather clause. Keep an eye out for the possibility of Bredo’s body being moved to The Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King’s famous novel, “The Shining.” It’s a festival that embraces the chilly and captivates the imagination.

6. Blobfest, Pennsylvania

Step into the world of classic sci-fi horror at Blobfest in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. This three-day festival celebrates the iconic 1958 film “The Blob.” The highlight of the event is a thrilling re-enactment of the memorable scene where panicked moviegoers flee the cinema as the Blob invades. Participate in the run-out re-enactment or simply enjoy watching the scream-filled stampede from the sidelines. Beyond the re-enactment, the festival offers screenings of monster movies, a Blob Ball for swing dance enthusiasts, a short film contest, a street fair, and a costume contest. It’s a celebration that pays homage to a beloved movie moment and lets you immerse yourself in the world of classic sci-fi.

7. Roadkill Cook-Off, West Virginia

Prepare your taste buds for an unconventional culinary experience at the Roadkill Cook-Off in Marlinton, West Virginia. As part of the Autumn Harvest Festival, amateur chefs showcase their skills by creating dishes featuring animals that are commonly found as roadkill. But don’t worry, they don’t actually use real roadkill! While some dishes feature familiar meats like rabbit and venison, others take a more adventurous route with ingredients like black bear and iguana. If you’re feeling daring, you can even try squirrel, frog, armadillo, possum, or raccoon prepared in various mouthwatering ways. The festival is all about having fun and challenging perceptions while supporting local economic growth.

8. Shrekfest, Wisconsin

Believe it or not, there’s a festival entirely dedicated to the animated movie “Shrek”! What started as a joke on Facebook turned into a real-life celebration? Shrekfest began in 2014 at a park in Madison, Wisconsin, and has grown in popularity ever since. The festival offers a range of Shrek-themed activities, including live music, a costume contest, a roar competition, an onion eating contest (be ready for some tears!), and, of course, a screening of the movie. It’s a delightful event that brings together Shrek fans of all ages to revel in the whimsical world of everyone’s favorite ogre.

9. Burning of Zozobra, New Mexico

Witness the mesmerizing spectacle of the Burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This annual event marks the beginning of Fiestas de Santa Fe and involves the burning of a towering marionette known as Zozobra. The 2023 burning will be the 99th iteration of this grand tradition. Zozobra, whose name translates to “anguish, anxiety, or gloom” in Spanish, was created by artist Will Shuster in 1924. This giant marionette with moveable arms and head is one of the largest functioning marionettes globally. It’s constructed with wood, wire, and cloth and stuffed with paper representing the troubles and worries of the year. Witnessing the burning of Zozobra is a powerful and cathartic experience.

10. Cow Chip Throw and Festival, Wisconsin

Laugh and cheer at the Cow Chip Throw and Festival in Wisconsin, held during Labor Day weekend. While the festival offers live music, parades, fun runs, and an arts & crafts fair, the main attraction is the cow chip throw. Participants compete to see who can throw dried cow dung the farthest, and there are even rules to make it more challenging and entertaining. The festival pays homage to the pioneer tradition of using cow chips as fuel for warmth during winters. Interestingly, it has also inspired a similar event on the Florida-Alabama state line, where mullet fish are thrown instead of cow chips. It’s a joyous celebration that showcases the quirky sense of humor and community spirit of the festival-goers.

Now that you’re acquainted with these incredible festivals, it’s time to start planning your next adventure! Immerse yourself in the extraordinary, embrace the unexpected, and create unforgettable memories as you explore the captivating world of these uniquely American celebrations.


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