America has lots of quirky festivals that show the spirit and humor of towns nationwide. These crazy festivals feature wacky contests and good-natured entertainment for locals and visitors. They are far from ordinary community gatherings. They celebrate the strange side of America with food, costumes and competitions.
While the attractions seem odd to outsiders, attendees report feeling welcomed by organizers. They want to entertain and bring neighborhoods together. Crazy festivals deliver fun surprises alongside laughter, joy and amusement. They provide curious travelers with delightful stories and photos that they share when they return home.
In 2024, hundreds of strange festivals will take place across the country. If you enjoy uncommon experiences and revelry, here are 14 amazing wayward fests not to miss.
Underwater Music Festival, Florida
For a submerged musical experience, head to Florida for the Underwater Music Festival. Scuba divers with waterproof speakers perform everything from classical to Jimmy Buffett songs. Spectators watch from boats above or by joining the scuba experience. The festival normally takes place on July 13 so save the date.
Frozen Dead Guy Days, Colorado
This is a chilling event honoring the frozen corpse of Bredo Morstoel. Frozen Dead Guy Days features a polar plunge contest, coffin races and a frozen salmon toss. Celebrate the “Grandpa in the Tuff Shed” during four frolicking days March 14-17 in Nederland, Colorado.
Roadkill Cook-Off Festival, West Virginia
This Roadkill Cook-Off dares attendees to collect fresh roadkill along West Virginia highways to make dishes like deer stir fry. Whip up your wild cuisine or witness the unusual cooking contest in September this year.
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Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw, Wisconsin
At this weird festival, people fling dried cow manure patties known as “chips” across a field for bragging rights in Wisconsin. Enjoy carnival rides, concessions and a 5K run at the smelly event culminating with the Cow Chip Toss on August 30 – 31, 2024.
Gilroy Garlic Festival, California
Immerse yourself in all things garlic at North America’s premier food fair, celebrated by over 100,000 fans in Gilroy, California. Eat garlicky meals and take part in cooking contests. Enjoy musical entertainment during the iconic event on August 25-27, 2024.
UFO Festival, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico fully embraces its reputation tied to a 1947 extraterrestrial incident, marked by an annual alien-themed bash. From pet costume contests to a spaceship parade, enjoy intergalactic fun August 25 – 27 at the lighthearted gathering.
BugFest, North Carolina
Get up close with thousands of exotic bugs and witness entertaining insect rodeo shows at BugFest in North Carolina. Interact with university entomology displays through butterfly gardens during the crawler celebration. Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, it usually takes place in September in Raleigh.
Emma Crawford Coffin Races, Colorado
Get into the Halloween spirit at this creepy-wacky event in Colorado. Handmade coffin race teams compete along Manitou Springs’ main street at the festival. Enjoy parades, hearses, contests and coffin quilting bees at the annual timber box derby in October this year.
Mike the Headless Chicken Festival, Colorado
Honoring a unique 1940s chicken who survived 18 months after his head was cut off. This annual event features chicken activities, customers, exhibits, and food. Catch the festivities August 22 – 24, 2024 in Fruita, Colorado.
National Hollerin’ Contest, North Carolina
This occurs in Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina. The vocal competition celebrates the lost Appalachian art of “hollering.” It conveys information over long distances using an elaborate loud voice. Judge hollerin’ skills during the harvest weekend shouting match on October 26, 2024.
Burning Man Festival, Nevada
Burning Man Festival is an “experimental community.” It has art, wild customers, communal camp living and bonfires in the Black Rock City’s desert. Join the temple burn at the temporary metropolis from August 25 – September 2 near Gerlach, Nevada.
Wayne Chicken Show, Nebraska
Since 1896, Wayne, Nebraska has hosted an annual chicken festival. It celebrates the area’s farming history with exhibitions, petting zoos, a chicken dance competition, and plenty of food. Enjoy old-fashioned family fun during the event July 12-14, 2024.
Mardi Gras, New Orleans
Experience elaborate floats, block parties, quirky costumes and cheap beads at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Celebrate Fat Tuesday on February 13, 2024, by parading, drinking and indulging on Saint Charles Avenue.
Spam Jam, Hawaii
This festival takes place in Waikiki where thousands of Spam cans wash ashore yearly. The festival hosts a cooking contest for the curiously-crafted potted meat. Taste exotic recipes and enjoy hula dancers during Hawaii’s tribute to tinned pork, on April 27, 2024.
Crazy festivals are wonderful displays of American creativity and community. From wacky cow chip tosses to underwater concerts, embrace these weird festivals.
Consider adding a delightfully odd event to your 2024 travel plans for good-natured amusement. After all, what makes a better trip tale than first-hand fest encounters showcasing surreal American traditions? Let the adventure begin!
People also read: 11 Best Black Festivals For Black Travellers In 2023
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