The editors at TripAdvisor® recently released a list of wacky summer events taking place across the U.S. From a festival honoring the best cat videos on the Web to a tribute to the Jimmy Buffet anthem “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, 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. Taking in one of these events will provide you and your clients with a quick way to get away from the stress of the summer real estate market.
Pierogi Fest – July 26 to 28, Whiting, Ind.
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. General admission is free of charge.
World Championship Cardboard Boat Races – July 27, Heber Springs, Ark.
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, Penn.
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, Mich.
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 sorted 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, Wash.
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, Minn.
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, N.C.
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 Cafe 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.