A collection of crazy festivals that celebrate the more interesting corners of the American psyche!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Where: Coarsegold, Cailfornia
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.
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.
Main image: Hillbilly Days, Pikeville, Kentucky (Shutterstock)