A high-profile travel website has named a northwest Indiana celebration to its list of 10 “wacky summer events” in the country. TripAdvisor Inc. (Nasdaq: TRIP) has included this month's Pierogi Festival in Whiting, which festival organizers say draws more than 200,000 visitors annually. July 10, 2013
NEWTON, Mass. – TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site, today announced 10 wacky summer events in the U.S., as chosen by TripAdvisor editors. From a festival honoring the best cat videos on the Web to an underwater rock concert, these events – all $10 or less per person – provide affordable and off-the-wall entertainment for travelers seeking comic relief from the hot summer sun. Events are listed in chronological order.
Wayne Chicken Show – July 12 to 14, Wayne, Nebraska
Travelers are encouraged to fly the coop and make their way to this fowl-festival where they can enjoy feather-filled fun. Those looking to test their cluck can enter a range of competitions including an egg drop where contestants attempt to catch an egg without cracking it, the chicken legs competition, a hardboiled egg eating contest, and the national cluck-off in which contestants have 15 seconds to ruffle the judges’ feathers with their best chicken impersonation. General admission is free of charge.
Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival – July 13, Big Pine Key, Florida
Now in its 29th year, hundreds of aquatic aficionados show up to dive and rock out under the waves at this submerged songfest. Staged by a local radio station, music is broadcast into the ocean from Lubell Laboratory speakers suspended beneath boats. With “Salute to the Rolling Stone Crabs” as the theme, divers dressed in the likes of “Mick Jawfish” and “Keith Pilchard” dip under the water to perform hits including “HonkyConch Woman” and other marine melodies such as the Beatles' “Yellow Submarine.” There is no associated dive-fee for the event.
Pierogi Fest – July 26 to 28, Whiting, Indiana
Located 20 miles south of Chicago, the annual Pierogi Fest recognizes the Eastern European lineage of many Whiting residents as more than 200,000 visitors gather each year to sample the culture's delicious dumplings. The festivities begin with the International Polka Parade featuring the Twirling Babushka Brigade, while festival emcee Mr. Pierogi backed by his Pieroguettes, belt out classics during the annual SongFest. Other live entertainment includes a polka stage, a pierogi eating contest and a pierogi toss. General admission is free of charge.
World Championship Cardboard Boat Races – July 27, Heber Springs, Arkansas
Since 1987, buoyant builders have gathered on the shores of Sandy Beach to try their best to stay afloat. Using corrugated cardboard, individuals and teams launch their vessels into the 200-meter course, all vying for the coveted “Pride of the Fleet,” given to the greatest engineering marvel, or the “Captain's Award,” presented to the most creative. Even sinkers have a chance to take home a prize as the “Titanic” award goes to the boat with the most dramatic downfall. Onshore onlookers can partake in several events including a tug-of-war and watermelon eating competition. General admission is free of charge.
Rain Day Festival – July 29, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
Dating back to 1874 when a local farmer claimed it always rained on his birthday, folks have gathered in Waynesburg on that day every year to wish for a washout. Since then, this day has developed quite a following and has even received bets from the likes of Muhammad Ali, Fred Rogers and Jay Leno. Now in its 139th year, travelers can enjoy big fun in this small Greene County town. Rain Day attractions include live entertainment, dozens of craft and food vendors, games for children, and a series of competitions including a sponge bucket relay and an umbrella decorating contest. General admission is free of charge.
Cheeseburger in Caseville – August 9 to 18, Caseville, Michigan
Inspired by Jimmy Buffet’s hit song “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” this summer celebration offers a complete set list of well-done fun including the anticipated “Parade of Fools” and multiple stages featuring Buffet-tribute bands. Travelers can chow down on both classic and creative cheese-topped patties and later “waste away” the day with ice-cold margaritas. The family-friendly festival includes fun for parents and their “keets” including a hat-making workshop, sandcastle sculpting contest, and a flamingo race. General admission is free of charge; some events require a button pass that can be purchased for $10.
Weird Contest Week – August 12 to 16, Ocean City, New Jersey
Travelers to the Jersey Shore can join in the festivities at any of these kooky contests geared toward bringing family fun to Ocean City. Competitions are held daily in the Music Pier pavilion, boardwalk, and Moorlyn Terrace and are assorted by age group to help level the peculiar playing field. Aspiring Michelangelos can partake in a variety of sculpting contests where a multitude of materials are used including French fries, paper clips and saltwater taffy. Children in the crowd can try their hand in the “Miss and Mr. Miscellaneous” talent show where the most eccentric earns the crown. General admission is free of charge.
National Lentil Festival – August 16 to 17, Pullman, Washington
Known for its robust lentil production, the Palouse region celebrates its protein-packed produce with this annual celebration now in its 25th year. Legume lovers visiting the two-day soiree can enjoy a scoop of the world’s largest bowl of lentil chili served from a 350-gallon stainless-steel vat, while those more interested in cooking their own agricultural appetizer can enter the legendary cook-off. On nearby Lentil Lane, travelers are invited to taste ice cream made from the legume and may even catch a glimpse of the party’s beloved mascot, Tase T. Lentil. General admission is free of charge.
Walker Art Center's Internet Cat Video Festival – August 28, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Now in its second year, the cat's out of the bag when it comes to this frisky festival that highlights the Internet's best cat videos. Crowds will be treated to a collaboration of films and live music as winners will be announced in several cat-egories, all leading up to the crowning of the coveted people's choice for the “Golden Kitty” award, which will be followed by a dazzling display of fireworks. Reserved seating tickets are $10 (attendees must also purchase entrance to the Minnesota State Fair).
BugFest – September 21, Raleigh, North Carolina
Entomology enthusiasts will bug out at the variety of entertainment offered at this pest-ful party hosted by the Museum of Natural Sciences. Travelers can learn about the creepy-crawly creatures through displays around the museum, stump the experts by bringing in an unusual bug to identify, or have their face painted to resemble a stag beetle during the “insectival.” The bravest of the bunch can bring their appetites to Caf? Insecta, where those with a craving for a crunchy or slimy treat can sample delights prepared by local restaurants such as Chocolate Chirp Ice Cream or Superworm Enchiladas. General admission is free of charge.
Travelers looking to blow off some steam this summer without breaking the bank can enjoy these zany events that celebrate the offbeat and creative spirit of America, said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor.
TripAdvisor is the world's largest travel site, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 200 million unique monthly visitors, and over 100 million reviews and opinions covering more than 2.5 milli