Odd/Interesting/Unique events and attractions?
May 12, 2016 9:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find some interesting vacation destinations. Recommend me some cities/towns that have unusual annual/semi-annual events or attractions. The more obscure and odd, the better.

Examples: I recently found Chapel Hill NC's Paperhand Puppet Intervention and Ohio/Washington's Oddmall Emporium. Where have these been all of my life? I'm looking for more like that.

I'm in the US, but if you know of an interesting event/attraction outside of the US, definitely still mention it. We travel to other countries on vacation sometimes, too (though more rarely).
posted by anthy to Travel & Transportation (25 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Nederland, CO: Frozen Dead Guy Days.
posted by j.edwards at 9:21 AM on May 12, 2016

The Festa di Santa Rosalia has been happening in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn since possibly the 1940s.
posted by griphus at 9:24 AM on May 12, 2016

The Mothman Festival, Point Pleasant WV

We've actually been wanting to go for years and might actually get the chance this year.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:26 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

San Francisco has the Folsom Street Fair, Bay to Breakers and my personal favorite, Bring Your Own Big Wheel. BYOBW is the only one not likely to involve naked people.
posted by cnc at 9:29 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've used the Roadside America to plan road trips. Very useful.

And Atlas Obscura is also great in this regard.
posted by brookeb at 9:29 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Wizard of Oz Festival near the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN:

Braham Pie Day ("You can't help but smile when you say PIE!") in tiny Braham, MN:
posted by wenestvedt at 9:33 AM on May 12, 2016

Seconding Altas Obscura. They post weird attractions and events all over the world.
posted by greta simone at 9:40 AM on May 12, 2016

Sunnyside Washington (eastern WA, near Yakima) has a Lighted Farm Implement Parade in the winter that I've always wanted to see!
posted by dbmcd at 10:00 AM on May 12, 2016

Semana Santa in southern Spain is not weird, per se, but it is quite a spectacle and definitely fascinating to experience from a foreigner's perspective.
posted by monologish at 10:05 AM on May 12, 2016

Nthing Atlas Obscura.

Also - my home town has a really quirky July 4th Parade - there's no marching bands, it's all radios. And you can even march in the parade yourself (BYOBoombox). (Warning you, though, that there ain't much else to do in the town proper afterward, so be ready with a next destination in mind.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:32 AM on May 12, 2016

Punkin Chunkin in slower Delaware.
posted by fixedgear at 10:38 AM on May 12, 2016

Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL
Mattoon, IL Bagelfest
posted by SisterHavana at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2016

The Pushkar Camel Fair in India!
posted by teststrip at 11:24 AM on May 12, 2016

The Mummers Parade in Philly. Absolutely insane costumes, and it's the oldest folk festival in the country. While you're in town, check out the Mutter Museum of Medical Oddities, if that's a direction your weird drifts in.
posted by ananci at 12:03 PM on May 12, 2016

World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival in Collinsville Illinois. Haven't made it yet, but it's on my bucket list.
The Wisconsin State Cowchip Throw in Prairie Du Sac WI.
The World Championship Cabbage Chuck in Shiocton, WI.
Sputnikfest in Manitowoc, WI (Don't miss the crowning of Miss Space Debris 2016!!)
posted by Floydd at 12:05 PM on May 12, 2016

The Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik, BC.
posted by porpoise at 12:05 PM on May 12, 2016

North Carolina has a Livermush Festival.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:22 PM on May 12, 2016

The Wayne Chicken Show in Wayne, Nebraska is the best. This year's theme is "Cluck and Roll". There is a parade, a rubber chicken chuck, a hard-boiled egg eating contest, and of course the national Cluck-Off.

The Roadkill Cook-Off in Marlinton, West Virginia is fun.
posted by plastic_animals at 12:29 PM on May 12, 2016

Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig, Germany: a goth gathering, basically. Tens of thousands of goths of every flavor walking around town.
posted by the_blizz at 1:30 PM on May 12, 2016

Do you want to run around with a flaming tar barrel on your back?

Ottery St Mary in Devon is here for you.
posted by 1066 at 3:43 PM on May 12, 2016

Bread & Puppets should scratch that particular itch.
posted by msali at 7:22 PM on May 12, 2016

The Kinetic Sculpture Race originated in Humboldt County, but, like Humboldt County's other great export, it's now cropping up in other locations.
posted by Gusaroo at 10:14 PM on May 12, 2016

Response by poster: Thank you all for all the great answers! I've only had time to look through some of them, but all of the ones I've checked out are amazing. I'll have vacations sorted out for years to come.

I've marked brookeb's Atlas Obscura suggestion as best answer for now (because that looks like a treasure trove of great info), but I'll probably come back and mark more later, when I have the chance to look through them all.

Thank you all again!
posted by anthy at 12:01 PM on May 13, 2016

Glow is a triennial event in Santa Monica that transforms the beach, the pier, and the ocean into an outdoor art gallery, from dusk until dawn. The interactive, light-enhanced installations are commissioned just for the event, which attracts 150K-200K people over the course of the night. It's really lots of fun, but next year will be bonkers now that the expo line goes to the beach.

Glow 2010

See also, the international Nuit Blanche festival.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:04 PM on June 14, 2016

PedalPalooza in Portland, OR is 3+ weeks of "bikey fun." There are hundreds of community-led rides - silly rides, protest rides, naked rides, costumed rides...
posted by sibilatorix at 10:09 AM on June 18, 2016

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