Funny Festivals

Local celebrations of the unusual, undesirable, and just plain weird

All work and no play can make any town a boring place to live. Therefore, almost every burg, no matter how small, has at least one annual community celebration. These range from the standard holiday celebrations such as Independence Day fireworks or Veterans' Day parades to more individualized heritage or harvest festivals.

With such an abundance of local festivals, a few communities have come up with more creative celebrations. These typically humorous festivals are held to either better fit the local culture or to stand out as being unique.

From celebrations of annoying pests to world championships in nonexistent sports, here are some of the more unusual local festivals in America.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it

Many cities celebrate something the area is famous for or has in abundance, such as a watermelon or azalea festival. But what if a town does not have anything worth celebrating?

This was the case in Clute, Texas, a small city on the hot and humid Gulf Coast. Locals joked that the only natural resource the town had in abundance was mosquitoes. So, Clute is now home to the annual Mosquito Festival, held the last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in July. Along with a carnival and nightly concerts, the Mosquito Festival includes competitions such as the "Mosquito Chase" 5K run, a Mosquito Legs Contest (for humans with skinny legs), and a Mosquito Calling Contest. It is still not clear how, or especially why, anyone would try to call mosquitoes.

A 26-foot-tall mosquito named Willie Man-Chew serves as mascot for the event. In true Texas fashion, not only is Willie the world's biggest mosquito, he also sports a cowboy hat and boots.

Willie Man-Chew
Willie Man-Chew
It's a giant beaver holding a cow chip. Duh.
It's a giant beaver holding a cow chip. Duh.

That’s bull

A similar lack of attractions and abundance of an unwelcome resource led the panhandle town of Beaver, Oklahoma, to sponsor a World Cow Chip Throwing Championship. For the uninitiated, cow chips are (preferably dried) pieces of cattle manure. Contestants throw the roughly disc-shaped patties, and the farthest toss wins the prize.

Amazingly enough, Beaver is not the only place in the country where people fling poo. It is simply home to the world championship of the sport, with winners from other locales traveling to Beaver to compete for the title.

The event is a big enough deal that the town of Beaver now has a crown-wearing anthromorphic cow patty as a mascot. A large statue of a beaver holds what is likely the world's largest (and only) cow chip statue.

That’s bull, too

For a different kind of BS entirely, check out New Harmony, Indiana, in September. That is when the town holds its Big Whopper Liar's Contest. The contest is more about tall tales than straight-up lying ability, as each competitor gets four minutes to tell the biggest whopper of a story they can invent. No, really. That's the truth.

Throwing parties

"Throwing things" is a fairly common theme among oddball festivals. The odder the object being thrown, the more popular the sport seems to be.

So, if cow chips do not pose enough of a challenge, perhaps you should try the Typewriter Toss in Springfield, Missouri. The event is held each year on April 22, otherwise known as Secretaries Day. Instead of throwing for distance, the goal of the event is to hit a bulls-eye painted on the ground from a height of 50 feet. (Of course, the real goal is to see the typewriter explode in the most violent crash possible.)

Then you have the Great Fruitcake Toss of Manitou Springs, Colorado. Held the first week of January (to get rid of unwanted Christmas fruitcakes), the Toss includes separate categories for throwing the fruitcake by hand or launching it with a mechanical catapult. There is also a Fruitcake Derby for those ever-popular wheeled fruitcakes, and an art show for, well, artistic fruitcakes.

The oddest of all may be the Interstate Mullet Toss of Pensacola, Florida. No, it does not involve throwing really bad hairdos from the 1980s. The "Mullet" is a type of small saltwater fish. The "Interstate" part refers to the event's location right on the border between Florida and Alabama. And the "Toss" refers to the action in this contest: namely, throwing fish from Florida over the state line into Alabama. Each April, hordes of people throw about 300 pounds of mullet from Florida to Alabama, presumably because they do not like Alabama. Oh, and there is the goal of having the longest toss, with some of the farthest fish flying over 150 feet.

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Comments 25 comments

Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

A fun hub. I love those little wacky town festivals. Any excuse to have a good time, right! Thanks for the fun!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

There you are CR, I thought you went to bed or something!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

Hey I have to admit that I am a little partial to this hub because well, I love cow chips!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

Ok, I can't have a party by myself, well I could but not here!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Gwendy: Wow! That's amazing! (I won't make any of the jokes). What is really odd about it, is Keven talked about Azalea's up there and that was Muscogee's deal. In fact, my Mom was the chairwoman of the Azalea Ball - a very big deal indeed. I can remember sitting around the kitchen table and making hundreds and hundreds of fake Azalea flowers.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Gwendy: Sorry. I was writing. It's going to be difficult with only two of us anyway. Love the way you love cow chips!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

I am used to the jokes by the way. That is crazy, I had no idea that muskogee had an azalea festival.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

CR, what are you writing now?

I will let you go and maybe catch you another time then. Have a good night!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

Hey this was a good one. I thought you might mention the Gilro Garlic Festival-- but I guess that is  a little too mainstream. Closer to us we have the Coarsegold Tarantuala Days... creepy, but very popular among locals.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Just my response to your comment, dear. I posted a link on your deer hub.

Thanks, Kevin. We'll bring more people next time.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Rochelle: Those both sound great. I love garlic. Not crazy about taratulas but they're cool looking.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Hello friends. Hello new friend, Kevin. Hope it's ok with you that we've crashed your hub. Well, it's your own fault for writing about oddities and celebrations in the same hub. And irresistible combination for this group, eh?

I must say I like your selection festivals. A bit heavy on the midwest, tho. Out here where I live in CA, there is a festival for everything (and everything in its festival -- no, that's not right. Never mind). As Rochelle says, the Gilroy Garlic Festival is one of the most famous. We also have festivals honoring asparagus, pears, strawberries, and I think prunes. My favorite is the Crawdad Festival -- a little bit of cajun heaven in the Sacramento River Delta. I think I've had a great time there -- but don't actually remember much:-).

Have always wanted to attend that one in Ohio or Iowa or wherever it is where they have the lawnmower races. That sounds kinda fun to me.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

Hey , and don't forget the Half-Moon Bay Pumpkin festival Nd the Petaluma Arm Wrestling Championships. Oh don't get me started..... We even have a Butterfly festival in Mariposa.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

Thanks for the information. Btw I would never ever settle in Clute, Texas (WOW!Mosquito Festival)...LOL


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

CW, I don't want any part of that mosquito festival either! now I feel all itchy!


Em Writes profile image

Em Writes 8 years ago from Upstate NY

Wow... and I thought the John Deere Tractor Block Party that they throw in my hometown every year was odd.

I think I kinda want one of those inflatable mosquitos. Not sure why, exactly.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Hey MM: Where you been? The only odd one we have around here is the catsup festival. If you've ever seen the giant catsup bottle on TV, I live kind of close to it.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

OMG, my family would love living next to a giant bottle of ketchup! I can't keep enough of that stuff in my house, or ranch dressing either.


ajcor profile image

ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

Thanks for your hub Kevin Mc. Near where I live - about a half an hour away - there is a local festival called October WoolFest and to celebrate the day they organise what is known as the the "running of the sheep" down the centre of the main street of the town. Complete with horses and sheep dogs (my favourite) one of the farmers brings in a mob of sheep and usually they manage to misbehave at some point and people have a great laugh as they get out of the way - And I do have a crazy friend who has been known to join in the parade in her tiny little car with sheep hanging out the car windows madly baaa..ing! it's great fun - cheers.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

We have the tulip festival (seattle) in spring which is worth visiting:-

http://www.tulipfestival.org/


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

Aj, that would be fun to see.

Tulip festival would be nice to see too.


Kevin Mc profile image

Kevin Mc 8 years ago Author

Thanks for the comments. If you like these, make sure you check out parts 2 and 3 (http://hubpages.com/travel/More_Funny_Festivals and http://hubpages.com/hub/Funny_Festivals__Part_3). My personal favorite is probably the Frozen Dead Guy Days.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Hi again. I've been over in the forum planning the Hubbers' Bailout Request.

Ajcor -- why does that running of the sheep make me think of the runnning of the bulls in Pamploma? Sounds like a wild and wooly time!

Chris -- My admiration for you continues to grow with each new fact you reveal. Catsup is my favorite condiment! Really!!! What a fab coincidence.

Kevin -- Keep the fun festival research coming. This is a really great way to study geography:-)!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

MM I think because we don't or can't enjoy the bulls the same way as the Spanish do - so the next best thing is the sheep - it is an Irish Festival after all.

CR Dare i ask the perennial Aussi question - what is Catsup? is that like dead horse - tomato sauce?

Thanks for the use of your great hub Kevin. cheers


puto 5 years ago

mierdas ql

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