Though the annual UFO Festival in Roswell, New Mexico, recently scaled back events due to a lack of earthling interest, lots of unusual terrestrial celebrations continue to flourish in this country. Here, a list of some of the oddest upcoming ones.
The Summer Redneck Games, East Dublin, Georgia
May 26: Inaugurated in 1996 as a response to jokes that the Summer Olympics in Atlanta would be hosted by “a bunch of rednecks,” these games treat spectators to such madcap delights as toilet-seat throwing, bobbing for pigs’ feet, the mud-pit belly flop and armpit serenading.
Adamant Blackfly Festival, Adamant, Vermont
June 2: The blackfly is a wonderfully misanthropic insect that comes out to play in central Vermont during the spring. Activities include a blackfly parade, a blackfly fashion show, blackfly Jeopardy (an insect trivia contest), a blackfly-pie contest (awards for taste, presentation and creativity) and music by bands like the Flyswatters.
Blobfest, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
July 13–15: This carnival of horror pays tribute to the 1958 Steve McQueen creature-feature classic, which was filmed in the area, and takes place at the Colonial Theater—the setting for The Blob’s most infamous scene. Enthusiasts are invited to face off in activities such as a scream contest, join live reenactments from the movie and enter their chimeras and bogeymen in a costume competition.
The U.S. Open of Lawnmower Racing, Delaware, Ohio
September 2: Concocted 39 years ago, lawn-mower racing may be the most, ahem, cutting-edge motor sport. On machines that are stripped for action, the blade runners battle in brain-rattling heats of bumping, thumping chaos.
The Woolly Worm Festival, Banner Elk, North Carolina
October 20–21: Contestants race woolly worms—fuzzy caterpillars also called banded woolly bears—to determine which one will have the honor of predicting the severity of the coming winter. The winner must worm its way to a series of first-place finishes up a three-foot length of string—beware of the early birds.
World Championship Punkin Chunkin, Bridgeville, Delaware
November 2–4: In 1986, a rite of autumn launched—literally—for fans of things that go splat. Dozens of fruit-flingers assemble in a field to fill the skies of southern Delaware with airborne squash, using homemade, Road Warrior–like propellants, ranging from wooden catapults to pneumatic cannons.