Top 6 Quirkiest Summer Festivals of 2017

quirky summer festivals

Summer is almost here, meaning it’s time to brace yourself for barbecues, beaches and long-awaited festivals! Planning an event in a city holding a food, music or cultural festival is a fun way for planners to get attendees involved in local experiences. The tricky part is finding a festival that fits your group’s demographics—and your budget.

Luckily, across the country there seems to be a summer festival for every interest, no matter how uncommon. All-American lodging brand Motel 6 rounded up the festivals that escape the ordinary and achieve the eccentric. These six finalists offer off-beat activities ranging from seed spitting to dragon boat races.

“No matter where you live in the United States, there’s a fun and affordable festival around the corner for you to discover, support the community, and enjoy wacky activities and live entertainment,” says Motel 6 brand voice Tom Bodett.

Apparently choosing the top six wasn’t easy. Motel 6 reviewed many one-of-a-kind events until ultimately choosing finalists based on originality and the quality of their offerings. The top six festivals will be awarded an honorary plaque from Motel 6.

1. Mule Days Celebration

Where: Bishop, California

When: May 23-28

This year marks the 48th annual Mule Days celebration. The 5-day equestrian festival, held every Memorial Day weekend, draws a crowd of more than 30,000 fans from around the world. The city of Bishop’s Tri-County Fairgrounds host 14 shows that feature various equestrian skills such as western riding and English jumping. With more than 700 mules, chariot racing, barbecues and a variety of musical offerings, there are many reasons to attend the summer bash.

@hunterreaband onstage now at #thump2016!!!

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2. Watermelon Thump

Where: Luling, Texas

When: June 22-25

Since 1954, the refreshing summer fruit has been the center of the annual Watermelon Thump festival. Some special festivities include seed-spitting competitions, watermelon-eating contests and a watermelon auction to support local farmers.

3. WestFest

Where: Chicago, Illinois

When: July 7-9

This 3-day street fair embodies the local spirit of Chicago, offering a variety of distinctive goods from local businesses and talent. A myriad of entertainment options, including live music, pony rides and theater performances fill the streets of Chicago. The festival is also very dog-friendly; furry friends can engage with pet-related vendors, mobile grooming stations and more.

4. Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

Where: Wheat Ridge, Colorado

When: July 29-30

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival celebrates the region’s diverse Asian American Pacific Islander community. As the largest Dragon Boat Festival in the country, the lake race is comprised of 50 boat teams. Aside from watching the races, free activities include a spicy ramen eating contest, martial arts demonstrations, food courts and lion dance.

5. Twins Days Festival

Where: Twinsburg, Ohio

When: August 4-6

Hundreds of twins travel to Twinsburg every year to celebrate their original duality at the Twins Days Festival. Identical and fraternal siblings participate in costume contests, crafts, games and talent shows, while enjoying food vendors and fireworks at night.

Blue Oyster Cult #morecowbell #cowchipthrow #thesearemyfriends #wisconsin

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6. Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw & Festival

Where: Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin

When: September 1-2

Early settlers to the area used “cow chips,” or dried cow dung, for household tools. Now more than 40,000 attendees swarm to Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw & Festival to strive to beat the 248-foot state record for longest cow chip throw. Interested guests can also participate in the festival’s 5K and 10K runs.