More Funny Festivals
It is an unwritten rule that every town must have some kind of annual celebration. But what if a town does not have anything to celebrate?
Nothing to it
I remember watching parades in the small town where I went to school. Often, spectators would speculate as to why the town even bothered to have a parade, as the short processional usually included about 2 floats, a half-dozen volunteer fire department trucks, and an old Buick that just happened to be driving through town and did not realize that a parade was going on.
The enterprising folks in Enterprise, Alabama, have capitalized on this problem by hosting a parade that is intentionally short. The World's Smallest St. Patrick's Day Parade consists of exactly one person, a man or woman of Irish descent who carries a pot of gold and recites limericks while walking the parade route. Since having a Grand Marshal in the parade would threaten its status as the world's smallest, this St. Patty's Day parade only has Grand Marshals in abstentia. The Grand Marshals are selected based on a written nomination that includes their excuse for why they will not be able to attend the parade.
Games rednecks play
When the Olympics were coming to Georgia in 1996, comedian Jeff Foxworthy made jokes about how the international competition was likely to take on a redneck flair. A radio station in the Georgia town of East Dublin took the idea and ran with it, establishing the Summer Redneck Games held every July since. Thousands of mullet-sporting southerners gather each year to compete in sports such as seed spitting, hubcap hurling, dumpster diving, and the ever-popular armpit serenade. The torch, made partly from old beer cans, is carried by a toothless redneck named L-Bow, who uses it to fire up the ceremonial barbecue grill.
If those games are not obscure enough for you, check out the husband-calling competition in Brown County, South Dakota. Wives are judged on the creativity and effectiveness of their calls, with bonus points given if the husband actually comes when called.
Grandpa's still in the shed
The "most unusual excuse for a festival" award would have to go to Nederland, Colorado, home of Frozen Dead Guy Days.
As the name suggests, the festival is held in honor of Nederland's stiffest stiff, the Frozen Dead Guy. Otherwise known as Bredo Morstøl, he was originally a resident of Norway before he passed away and was brought by his grandson to Colorado. Utilizing prodiginous amounts of dry ice, the grandson kept Bredo's body frozen in a shed behind his house, in hopes that someday medical science would advance enough to bring him back to life. The grandson was eventually deported back to Norway, but other family members have continued to keep grandpa frozen in the shed ever since he was first stashed there in 1989.
For years, few people in town had any idea of the shed's bizarre contents. When the story finally came to light, Nederland passed a city ordinance prohibiting the storage of human body parts; however, Bredo was exempted from the rule by an aptly-named grandfather clause.
Though originally disturbed by the existence of a frozen dead guy in town, the city eventually had a change of heart and started the annual Frozen Dead Guy Days celebration in honor of Nederland's most infamous resident. Held the first full weekend in March, the festival includes coffin races, a slow-motion parade, and tours of grandpa's shed. A lookalike contest is held for those who most resemble the frozen dead guy. A documentary titled Grandpa's in the Tuff Shed was produced to tell Bredo's story. A sequel, Grandpa's Still in the Tuff Shed, was released several years later.
A Colorado ice cream manufacturer even produces Frozen Dead Guy-flavored ice cream for the event. I think I'll pass on that one, though.