10 quirky American festivals you must visit

A collection of crazy festivals that celebrate the more interesting corners of the American psyche!

4 mins

1. Roadkill Cook-off

Where: Marlinton, West Virginia

When: September 26

What to expect: The chance to eat squirrel, teriyaki-marinated bear or deer sausage, all prepared from roadkill. You can also taste local wines, sourced by more traditional means.

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2. Hillbilly Days Festival

Where: Pikeville, Kentucky

When: 16–18 April

What to expect: A celebration of Appalachian culture with a cornhole tournament, quilt show and hillbilly music, plus plenty of stalls selling fried food and hillbilly attire.

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3. Hemingway Days

Where: Key West, Florida

When: July 23–25

What to expect: Over 100 Hemingway lookalikes compete for prizes and notoriety at events taking place at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, one of ‘Papa’ Hemingway’s favourite haunts in the 1930s.

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4. Testicle Festival

Where: Clinton, Montana

When: July 31–August 3

What to expect: A testicle-eating contest where contestants have 4 minutes to eat as many bull testicles as possible. You may prefer to take part in Undie 500 – a foot race where people run their underwear.

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4. National Hollerin' Contest

Where: Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina

When: Second weekend in September

What to expect: A lot of people shouting, a BBQ and some live music. Loud, live music.

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5. Humungus Fungus Fest

Where: Crystal Falls, Michigan

When: 8–10 August

What to expect: People celebrating the discovery of one of the world's largest living organisms – a fungus spreading out over 37 acres over the past 1,500 years or so – by cooking a mushroom pizza the size of a room.

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6. Nalukataq Festival

Where: Barrow, Alaska

When: Every June, just after the spring whaling hunt is finished

What to expect: Locals using sealskin tarp to literally throw people into the air.  The person who goes the highest is the winner.

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7. National Lentil Festival

Where: Pullman, Washington

When: 21-22 August

What to expect: A ‘celebration of the wonder that is the lentil,’ according to organisers. That includes live music, a fun run, lentil pancakes and the crowning of Lil’ Lentil King and Queen.

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8. Frozen Dead Guy Days

Where: Nederland, Colorado

When: March 7–9

What to expect: A festival celebrating Grandpa Bredo Morstoel, a Norwegian who died in 1989, with events that include frozen salmon tosses, coffin races and polar plunges.

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9. Tarantula Awareness Festival

Where: Coarsegold, Cailfornia

When: October

What to expect: A hairy legs competition, a tarantula hat dance, and a tarantula derby, as well as plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with real live tarantulas.

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10. Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival

Where: Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin

When: Last weekend in August

What to expect: A cow chip parade, a cow chip-throwing contest, crafts, food, and plenty of beer! Don’t know what a cow chip is? It’s a dry, odourless pieces of cow dung, of course. And the current cow chip-throwing record stands at 248 feet.

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Main image: Hillbilly Days, Pikeville, Kentucky (Shutterstock)

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