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Summer Festivals With a Twist

(May 22, 2003)

If the thought of spending another summer watching old men practice juggling to the sound of an out-of-tune band fills you with dread, consider opting for a different kind of festival this year. Each summer, from New York to San Francisco, festivals emerge that offer a bit of the bizarre while they surprise, delight, and mystify. Here are a few of the more peculiar summer events we have rounded up for your amusement:


Mission Mountain Testicle Festival: June 6-8, 2003—Charlo, Montana

And you've thought you've seen it all. Yes, this "nutty" annual festival celebrating bull's testicles does indeed exist. The native delicacy, also known as swinging beef, prairie oysters, cowboy caviar, and Montana tenderloin, is the center of this Montana festival, which includes a rodeo, live music, drinking, and a parade.

For more information, visit Visit Montana.


Mermaid Parade: June 21, 2003—Brooklyn, NYC

Coney Island's annual Mermaid Parade puts mer-girls, mer-males, and mer-mammals on display. Participants get all decked out in sequins, fins, and flippers so they can shimmy along the boardwalk during the procession. Prizes are awarded for the most interesting fish-wear. Now in it's 21st year, the festival is traditionally held on the first Saturday (rain or shine) after the summer solstice.

To join the fun, you must first register. For more information, visit the official website at or call 718-372-5159.


3rd Annual Day of the Accordion: Sunday, June 15, 2003—San Francisco

This year's event commemorates the 13th anniversary of the accordion, the official instrument of San Francisco. Spend a lively afternoon at The Cannery, which will feature accordion-based ensembles playing Polka, Cajun, Zydeco, and Tejano tunes.

For more information, visit or call 415-771-3112.


Old Spice's Festival In The Pit: June 29 - July 4, 2003 Battle Mountain, Nevada

Is Battle Mountain, Nevada the "armpit of America?" Fun festivities that don't stink!

For more information, visit Battle Mountain's website at



UFO Festival: July 3-4, 2003—Roswell, New Mexico

For out-of-this-world amusement, check out this year's UFO Festival in Roswell, New Mexico, famous for a reported UFO crash outside its city limits in 1947. The publicity from the crash has generated many enthusiasts and theorists, who make an annual pilgrimage to Southeastern New Mexico to celebrate the event.

For more information, visit or call 877-849-7679.


Summer Redneck Games: July 5, 2003 (1st Saturday of every July)—East Dublin, Georgia

What started out as a sideshow to the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, the Redneck Games, where Southerners embrace their heritage in a tongue-in-cheek way, have been a hit each year since. Attendance has risen from 1000 guests in 1996 to 10,000 in 2002. Events include the "Mud-Pit Belly Flop," where fully clothed contestants plunge belly-first into a pool of red clay mud—the bigger the belly, the better the chance to win. There's also the "Hubcap Hurl," "Bobbing for Pig's Feet," "Dumpster Dive," and "Armpit Serenade."

For more information, call 912-272-4422.


Musical Saw Players' Festival: July 20, 2003—Felton, California

Musicians playing saws, fiddles, harmonicas, and banjos get together at Roaring Camp & Big Trees, which is an old logging camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Activities include a picnic, workshops, a saw music competition, and performances by a variety of other musicians.

For more information, call Roaring Camp at 408-335-4484.


Wayne Chicken Show: July 11-12, 2003—Wayne, Nebraska

The cluck stops in Wayne, Nebraska. Now in its 22nd year, the Wayne Chicken Show has become so popular that more than 15,000 people flock to it each year. The show kicks off with a chicken parade led by the infamous "Chicken Coupe," a 1967 yellow Cadillac with a 12-foot rooster perched on the trunk. This year's theme is "Higher 'Egg'-ucation." Events include "Henoween" (a festival of arts and crafts), a "Chicken Dance," and a "Cluck-Off," where contestants walk and talk like chickens. There's also the "Best Beak Contest" and a performance by the "Chickendale Male Dancers."

For more information, visit or call the Wayne Chamber of Commerce at 402-375-2240.


Hemingway Days Festival: July 13-20, 2003—Key West, Florida

Every year, American writing legend Ernest Hemingway comes to life at this interesting festival. Hemingway Days consists of a series of parties and events that begin at Sloppy Joe's Bar, which bills itself as "Hemingway's Favorite Watering Hole." Other events include a Hemingway look-alike contest, arm-wrestling contest, key lime pie eating contest, Caribbean street fair, twilight party, marlin fishing contest, "Running of the Bulls," and a 5K sunset run.

Furthermore, no Hemingway Festival would be complete without a bit of literature, and Hemingway's granddaughter, Lorain, takes care of that. She is scheduled to present $2,000 in awards to the best short stories and storytellers entered in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition.

For more information, visit or call the Florida Keys & Visitor's Bureau at 800-FLA-KEYS (800-352-5397).



Elvis Week: August 9-17, 2003—Memphis, Tennessee

Elvis is alive! Thousands of fans from around the globe gather at Graceland each August for Elvis Week, a commemoration of the music, magic, and memories of Elvis Presley. Yes, "The King" comes to life as thousands of impersonators don sideburns and hideous polyester costumes. Festivities include music, dance, sports, social, and charitable events. The main entertainment event for this year is a special presentation of "Elvis—The Concert" on August 16th. This critically acclaimed production stars the real Elvis Presley (via video) and some of his original concert-era band mates.

For more information, visit or, or call 901-332-3322.


Nudestock Music Festival: September 14-15, 2003—Sacramento, California

Laguna del Sol Family Naturist Resort near Sacramento, CA, is hosting its 6th annual Nudestock Music Festival. Bands performing tributes to the Rolling Stones will be on hand. The venue will offer tie-dye crafts, incense, jewelry, sculptures, and anything 60s. Attendees will have access to three pools, two hot tubs, showers, a restaurant, and other facilities. No cameras, or drugs are allowed.

For more information, visit the Nudestock website at


For information on festivals worldwide, visit:
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