Summertime means sunshine, barbecues and warm-weather escapes. It also means TripAdvisor is releasing its list of America’s wackiest summer events! From the world’s largest mosquito, to a “slugburger” eating contest and bat costume competitions, this year’s events feature off-the-wall fun for travelers seeking quirky pursuits as the mercury rises:
1. The Great Texas Mosquito Festival – June 26 – 28, Clute, Texas
Located 55 miles southeast of Houston, Clute will be a-buzz with excitement at the 32nd annual Great Texas Mosquito Festival. Presided over by festival mascot Willie-Man-Chew – the world’s largest mosquito, standing at 26 feet tall (and rest assured it’s fake) – some 13,000 attendees will find themselves bitten by the bug for summertime fun at this al fresco fiesta.
2. Slugburger Festival – July 12 – 14, Corinth, Mississippi
Now in its 25th year, the annual Slugburger Festival pays tribute to Corinth’s local culinary delight. Comprising a deep-fried patty formed of beef and soy meal, the “slugburger” may be an acquired taste – but fervent fans of the unique sliders will be in their element at this three-day celebration in Northeast Mississippi.
3. World Chicken Festival – London, Kentucky, September 27 – 30
Home to the very first restaurant established by Kentucky Fried Chicken founder, Colonel Harland Sanders, Laurel County throws this annual eggs-travaganza in celebration of its fine feathered heritage. The poultry party features a hot wing eating contest, a clucking competition, and the event’s famous “Chicken Scratch”, in which children dig through 600 pounds of flour in search of cash.
4. Humungus Fungus Fest – August 3 – 5, 2012, Crystal Falls, Michigan
This fungus-filled fete honors the largest mushroom in the world, which weighs in at 11 tons and lies beneath the ground, just south of this town in northern Michigan. Earth-enthusiasts can get their fill of mouthwatering mold at the mushroom cook off, or nosh on a slice of the world’s largest mushroom pizza.
5. Wausau Possum Festival – August 4, Wausau, Florida
Now in its 43rd year, the annual Possum Festival pays homage to the modest marsupial’s role as a food source during the Great Depression. Crowds of up to 5,000 visitors descend on this small town (population 400) in the central Florida Panhandle, for a taste of down-home family fun – not to mention, the possum hash, which is always a sell-out.
6. Batfest – August 25, Austin, Texas
Now in its eighth year, this festival celebrates the two million Mexican Free Tail Bats which take up seasonal residence beneath Austin’s Congress Street Bridge, forming the world’s largest urban bat colony. The batty event has proved to be a soaring success, with 40,000 attendees – and while the stars of the show are undoubtedly the winged wonders, which appear at dusk and take to the skies for their nightly flight, lower-altitude activities include a bat costume contest, bat education sessions and live music.
7. Hollerin’ Contest – June 16, Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina
In honor of keeping the “almost-lost-art” of hollering alive, this sonorous soiree draws crowds in the thousands to Spivey’s Corner, some 50 miles south of Raleigh. The men’s Hollerin’ Contest is the main act, but willful women and yelling youngsters can also compete for bragging rights and a dazzling trophy in the Ladies’ Callin’ and the Junior Hollerin’ events.
8. Cream Cheese Festival – September 15, Lowville, New York
Now in its eighth year, this cheesy celebration in upstate New York is a recipe for tasty fun. With milk tray relays and a cream cheese toss included in this late-summer shindig’s scrumptious spread of events, attendees can even while away the afternoon playing cream cheese bingo.
9. Hope Watermelon Festival – August 9 – 11, Hope, Arkansas
Featuring three days of fruity fun, Hope’s annual Watermelon Festival draws crowds of some 50,000 visitors to the southwest corner of Arkansas. Juicy shenanigans include a seed-spitting contest and a watermelon eating competition, which sees competitors vie to devour an eighth of a melon, down to the rind – seeds and all.
10. Mattoon Bagelfest – July 19 – 21, Mattoon, Illinois
There’s a “hole” lot of fun in store at Mattoon’s 27th annual Bagelfest, as this town in the Midwestern farmbelt celebrates its self-declared status as “Bagel Capital of the World”, thanks to the Lender’s bagel factory situated there. This year’s “Lights, Camera, Bagelfest” theme will shine a spotlight on the boiled and baked bread, with events including the largest free bagel breakfast in the world, at which 10,000 bagels are consumed.
Learn more about the events, including admission prices here. Tell us: are you planning to attend any of these wacky shindigs? Have you been to any in the past? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!