10 wild local festivals found only in America

America is also home to some of the wildest festivals you might not have never heard of – until now. So rent a car, pack up the family and head onto the road for some out-of-the-norm fun at these celebrations.


1. Underwater Music Festival – Looe Key Reef, Florida
You may have went diving or snorkeling in the Florida Keys, but never to music. US1 Radio 104.1 FM stages this watery musical show at Looe Key Reef with music from Jimmy Buffet, humpback whale recordings, The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” and “Under the Sea” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid being played through underwater speakers. And don’t be surprised if you see some costumed divers playing along to the songs with underwater instruments like the clambourine or trom-bonefish. 

2. National Lentil Festival – Pullman, Washington

National Lentil Festival

Lentils are a legume loved around the world. But to celebrate it, you must go to the Pacific Northwest. About an hour east as the crow flies from Seattle is Pullman, Washington. This is where you’ll get your fill of lentil-inspired foods during the legendary lentil cook-off and get a free sample of the World’s Largest Bowl of Lentil Chili.

3. Gilroy Garlic Festival – Gilroy, California
Take a 90-minute drive south of San Francisco in late July to see one of the largest food festivals in the country. This is where you’ll get crafty with garlic or try something out of left field like garlic ice cream. But the cook-off is where you’re going to find your stomach grumbling with past winners like Crispy Pork Belly with Caramelized Onion and Fig Agrodolce and Creamy Polenta & Warm Weather Watermelon Crabmeat Kissed South Seas Soup. 

4. Hatfield & McCoy Reunion Festival – Williamson, West Virginia
One of the greatest feuds of all time serves as a backdrop to one of the better local festivals in the States. You can get into a marathon (or 5k, if you want to take it easy), live music, great food, tug of war and see some of the sites where the actual feuding took place.

5. Humungous Fungus Fest – Crystal Falls, Michigan
The good people of Crystal Falls, Michigan, did about the only thing anyone could when you’ve got a fungus that covers 38 acres of the Iron County forest – they made a festival in its honor. There’s a duck race on the Paint River, ball race on Crystal Avenue and people lining up to grab a slice from the giant Humungous Fungus Pizza. 

6. The Idiotarod – Various cities
Started in San Francisco in 1994 as the “Urban Iditarod,” The Idiotarod has taken a life of its own in several American cities. Chicago, Portland, Cincinnati, Phoenix and more take to the streets of their town in some of the wackiest shopping carts ever created and costumed characters attached to those carts in a race to the finish.

7. Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw & Festival – Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin
Cows are vital to the dairy industry in Wisconsin, so each September these creatures are honored by celebrating the cow chip. See all sorts of creations go down the street during the Tournament of Chips Parade before seeing competitors of all ages fling dried-out poo as far as they can. 

8. Hillbilly Days – Pikeville, Kentucky

Hillbilly Days

Get a healthy dose of Appalachian culture in a festival that celebrates the original inhabitants of Pikeville, Kentucky – the Hillbilly. Quilt shows, cornhole tournaments, food and traditional crafts dominate the three-day festival in April. It’ll have you channeling your inner Jethro in no time. 

9. San Fermin Festival – New Orleans
I bet you thought Mardi Gras was the only wild celebration in New Orleans, right? The San Fermin Festival is an homage to The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Only difference is instead of running away from actual bulls, you’re being chased by the Big Easy Rollergirls and other participants from various roller derby leagues in the country. And if the girls catch up to you during the run, they’ll whack you around with foam whiffle ball bats. 

10. Tarantula Awareness Festival – Coarsegold, California
The glory days of the Gold Rush era may be history but Coarsegold, California still brings the people to town in late October with this arachnid-inspired festival. Catch a tarantula derby, spider-themed poems, music and crafts bring this celebration to life. And maybe you can strut your stuff for the hairy leg competition.

Is there a wild festival we missed? Let us know in the comments section.