Festivals & Events

20 Unique Festivals: USA

Burning Man Fire Robot car
Written by Town & Tourist

The U.S is home to some of the most unique, wacky and downright weird festivals! These odd festivals range from cultural, animal, music and even underwater festivals! Here at Town & Tourist we have compiled together the most unique & strange festivals in the USA.

After heading to one of these festivals you will definitely want to tell your friends!

20. Underwater Music Festival – Florida

Definitely one of the most Unique Festivals in the USA! The Underwater Music Festival is held annually at Florida keys to raise awareness for the only surviving Coral Reef in the U.S.A, the Looe key reef.

Expect to see a series of wacky costumes from Mermaids, to Sponge Bob. This is a fun packed festival which should be a bucket list experience for most.  ‘Shell we dance”

Special water proof Speakers are immersed underwater and a series of coastal themed music is pumped out. From the Beatles Yellow Submarine, to “Under the sea” from the little mermaid!

Florida Keys Underwater Music Festival Costume

Florida Keys Underwater Music Festival, is a real quirky Extravaganza!

The Science bit? 

As Sound travels 4.5 times faster underwater it’s no wonder that many previous guests have said to have been able to “feel the music” underwater!

When is the Music Festival?

July 12-13 , (One week after independence day (4th July))

Where is the Music Festival?

Looe Key Reef, Florida Keys, Florida, USA.

19. UFO Festival – New Mexico

With all the talk of storming area 51 recently on Social Media its no wonder that this Alien festival in New Mexico is gaining even greater popularity.

Held in the home of multiple UFO stories, sighting and movements Roswell, New Mexico.

The festival takes a fun look at the UFO Phenomenon and encourages many to dress up as Aliens, movie aliens and even dress up your dog!

UFO Festival USA

UFO Festival USA. McMenamins

Highlights:

  • 5k Alien Themed Parade “Alien Chase”
  • Vintage Fairs showcasing alien & robot toys. 
  • Planetarium Tours 
  • Alien Research Scientists/Speakers 
  • Tour of the Roswell UFO Crash site.

Of course the Tour of the Roswell UFO crash site is one of the main attractions!

Roswell UFO crash Landing: What really happened?

The story goes: In 1947 a ranch owner heard a loud crash just outside his home, upon investigation he discovered metal pieces & strange parts of some sort of aircraft.

He then called the Sheriff who phoned the Roswell Air force and they came and removed the wreckage. Many believe this was a UFO crash or “Flying disc” and the United States Government attempted to cover it up.

The official line is that it was a Nuclear Test Surveillance balloon from Project Mogul.

Although many Conspiracy theorists claim a UFO landed and aliens were captured, this is encouraged by the fact that the United States Military did not publish the “Weather Balloon Landing reports until the 1990s!

Who knows what out there? Either Way UFO festival in New Mexico is very Entertaining!

When is the Festival?

June 29

Where is the Festival?

New Mexico. There is also a version in Portland.

18. Mothman Festival – West Virginia 

Speaking of weird creatures, conspiracy theories and alien like lifeforms…enter Mothman!

According to the festival: The story goes that in 1966 a giant crimson eyed winged creature was seen at Point Pleasant in West Virginia! Although just a legend, the festival really makes you think “Could there have been a sighting?” “Was it an Alien?” “Was it a ghost?” “Was it some weird hybrid creature?”

Mothman Festival

Mothman Festival. Source: mydailyregister.com

Highlights:

  • Alien research speakers,
  • Paranormal activity speakers
  • Tour of the area where the alleged “Moth man” sighting happened.
  • Selfies with Mothman statue
  • Costumed Creatures
  • Face Painting for kids.

Mothman festival is ran over three days in September & is definitely one the weirdest out there.

When is the Festival?

September

Where is the Festival?

West Virginia

17. Twins Festival – Ohio 

Located in the appropriately named Twinsburg, Ohio is the annual Twins Days Festival. Which according to Guinness World Records is the Largest annual gathering of Twins in the World!

The Goal of Twins festival is to gather twins from all over the world together and celebrate there unique togetherness!

Twin Days Festival Ohio, Unique Festivals USA

Twin Days Festival Ohio, Unique Festivals USA. Source: Steve Brezger/Flickr

How did Twins Festival start? 

Back in 1976, a small group decided to create the gathering as a special day for twins as part of the United States Bicentennial celebrations.

The first year was a small group and the second year 38 sets of twins came. Since then it has grown from strength to strength and the last 40 years have seen 77,000 sets of twins attend!

Fun Fact: The event has gotten international media coverage, delegations of twins were even sent from the Soviet Union

Highlights: 

  • Twin Gathering
  • Twin Volleyball
  • Twin Talent Show
  • 5k Fun run/walk
  • Golf Outing
  • Twin “Double Take” Parade.
  • Weiner Roast Raffle
  • Twin contest (Most alike, Least alike etC)

This is a very unique festival to visit whether your a twin or not, just be warned you will be doing alot of double takes!

When is the Festival?

August

Where is the Festival?

Twinsburg, Ohio

16. Mike the Headless Chicken Fest – Colorado

This annual clucking festival is a celebration & remembrance of the life of Mike the headless chicken and his unbelievable survival spirit. Mike was a Chicken which never gave up!

According to the story

In 1945 a rooster named mike was decapitated by a farmer but strangely he had just enough brain power to continue living for another 18 months!

The farmer kept him alive by feeding him using special techniques such as an eye dropper with a milk/water mix. In the end he died by choking on a kernel of corn!

Old Photo of mike the headless chicken! Unique Festivals, Weird Festivals usa

Old Photo of mike the headless chicken(Getty Images)

Fun Facts: Mike the Headless chicken has now become a source of inspiration for many “Miracle Mike” and even a cult. There was even a campaign run called: “mike the headless chicken for president”. 

Highlights:

  • The Story of Mike the Headless chicken 
  • How he survived and lived?
  • 5k Fun Run 
  • Disc golf Tournament 
  • Games & Entertainment 
  • Chicken Wing eating contest. 

When is the Festival?

May 29th

Where is the Festival?

Fruita, Colorado

15. BugFest – North Carolina 

Feeling Bugged out? Head to Bugfest in North Carolina an event which attracts of 40,000 people each year! Held at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, the festival aims to provide an entertaining, yet educational experience on all things bug related!

Highlights:

  • Bug Exhibits
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Bug Themed Games
  • Talks from Bug Experts/Scientists
  • Cafe Insecta! 

Cafe Insecta:

Cafe Insecta is a really unique part of the festival    and not for the faint hearted. Here you can try out “Bug Dishes” thats right with real bugs! The dishes are flavoured so hopefully you won’t notice anything strange.

bugfest_raleigh_nc (Unique Festivals)

bugfest_raleigh_nc

Is Eating Bugs Weird?? 

In fact eating Bugs may not be as strange as you may think! They have been widely consumed in many parts of Asia and Africa for centuries. Examples include, South African Locust Porridge and Mexican Agave Worms!

Angelina Jolie Bug Festival

Photo of Angelina Jolie eating a big bug.

In the words of Angelina Jolie. “You should start with the crickets,” Angelina Jolie says. “Crickets and a beer, and then you kind of move up to the tarantulas.”

She also encourages her kids to eat bugs and once stated “There used to eating scorpions”

Is Eating Bugs good for the Planet?

Did you know it takes 3,000 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef?? Whereas it only takes a tenth of a gallon of water to produce one pound of crickets. Insects also require less energy, food and space! Thus they are one of the most sustainable food sources on the planet!

Is Eating Bugs Healthy?

Eating bugs also provides a healthy balanced diet, with high protein, fibre and nutrients compared to most meats.

When is the Festival?

May 29th

Where is the Festival?

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, North Carolina.

14. Pillow Fight Festival – NYC

NYC’s Annual Pillow fight is a crazy and wacky event, drawing thousands of people together! The gigantic Pillow fight occurs annually in Washington Square Park, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City.

Pillow-fight-nyc-costumes

Superwoman and Iron Man battle against many at Greenwich Village NYC. Source: timeout.com

Pillow Fight Costumes:

Some enthusiastic pillow fighters who attend NYC’s gigantic Pillow Brawl, dress up in Fun and Wacky Costumes from Superheroes to cartoon Characters.

Apart from being a fun community event, it is also a good hearted charity occasion where many of the pillows are donated to homeless shelters in New York.

For more info check out: Worlds Biggest Annual Pillow Fights!

13. Duct Tape Festival – Ohio

Duck Tape is not just for sticking things together, its in fact one of the most versatile inventions in the world! The power of Duck is showcased at Duck Tape Festival and is a chance for locals to show of there handy craft skills.

The Locals create giant creative duct tape floats for the parade, you can see everything from elephants to firetrucks!

The Avon Heritage Duck Tape Festival draws over 60,000 of people to Avon, Ohio each year!

duck tape festival ohio

duck tape festival ohio. source: ohiofestivals.net

Highlights:

  • Duck Tape Parade 
  • Duck Tape Costumes
  • Duck Tape floats 
  • Fairground Rides (Not made from Duck Tape!)
  • Fashion Show – Includes wedding dresses!
  • Outdoor Movie Theatre 
  • Family Circus 
  • Vintage Car Show 
  • Local food Vendors
  • Live Music 

Why Duck Tape?

The Duct Tape Brand HQ is located in Ohio, thus makes this the perfect location for such a weird festival. But with all the family activities on, you should definitely “Stick” Around for the three day extravaganza!

When is the Festival?

June

Where is the Festival?

Avon, Ohio

12. Jam Cruise Festival- Miami 

The Jam Cruise is a Winter Music Festival on the high seas! A real jam packed variety event it featuring activities, programs, theme nights  making a true on board adventure.

The cruise takes revellers around the Caribbean from Miami, Florida to Ocean Cay, Bahamas and dow to Costa, May Mexico. A real special festival which even includes on board yoga & other unique activities well on board.

Jam-Cruises-unique-festivals

Jam-Cruises-unique-festivals

Where is the Ski Festival?

Miami, Florida.

When is the Ski Festival? 

Early-Mid: January 7-12, 2020

Want more info check out: 20 Epic Winter Music Festivals/Ski Festivals:USA

11. The Dance Mile – Maine 

Feel like dancing the night away? Head to Portland, Maine for a one mile “Dance a thon!”. Each July, thousands of people dress up in disco themed costumes and are led by a mobile DJ in a unique display of wackiness!

The focus of the event, is fun, Fitness and entertainment for all ages! After the dancing head to one of the after parties for a few drinks & entertainment from local dance acts performing routines.

Dance mile festival Maine Unique

Dance mile festival Maine Unique. Source: The great Amy Paradysz/mainewomenmagazine.com

When is the Festival?

July

Where is the Festival?

The event has now gone National and has events running annually in Portland, Maine, Minneapolis, Boston, Chicago and Colorado Springs.

10. Albuquerque Balloon Festival – New Mexico

The Biggest Hot Air Balloon Festival in the United States with over 887,970 people attending last year and over 500 Hot Air Balloons taking to the Skys!

Capture some Instagrammable Balloon Photos at Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

Highlights:

  • Mass Ascension – Over 500 Hot Air Balloons take to the skys! 
  • Evening Glow – Hot Air Balloons Light up there Burners Spectacularly! 
  • Balloon Rides 
  • Family Activities 
  • Dawn Patrols 
  • RV’s or Glamping 
  • Souveniors 
  • Food Vendors  

This is a fun packed family experience which should definitely be on you bucket list!

For more check out our: 20 Golden Reasons to visit Albuquerque Balloon Festival?

9. Washington State Kite Festival

The Washington State International Kite Festival held annually on the Third weekend of August at the Long Beach Peninsula, Washington, home of the World Kite Museum.

This kite festival extravaganza attracts over 100,o00 people annually and showcases 1500 creatively designed kites from the best international kite creators.  Spectators can also bring there own kites and participate in the fun!

Washington State Kite Festival

Washington State Kite Festival

Highlights:

  • 1500 Creative Kites
  • Professional Kite Flying
  • Kite Making
  • Kiddie Camps
  • Indoor Kite Flying
  • Fireworks Display

Originally started in 1996 Washington State International kite festival has gone from strength to strength and is now a full week long.

As this event is the home of the world Kite Museum, it is something of a tradition or pilgrimage to attend Washington State International Kite Festival.

It was voted best kite festival in the world by the Kite Trade association. For More check out: 20 Best Kite Festivals in America – State by State Guide.

8. Cow Chip Throw – Wisconsin

Wisconsin Cow Chip Throw   is the polite version of saying “Cow Dung Throw!” This is a whole festival, which weirdly throwing cow dung is the main attraction…but apparently its a sport!

Back in the 1970’s tossing cow dung/chips became a sport and Wisconsin was recognised as the “Cow Chip Capital” of the USA. The Festival grew from strength to strength and although it may stink a little there are a variety of highlights!

Wisconsin Cow Chip Throw Festival

Wisconsin Cow Chip Throw Festival. Source: wiscowchip.com

Highlights:

  • Cow Chip Tossing Contest 
  • Art & Crafts 
  • Kids Games 
  • Live Music 
    Beer Garden 
  • 5K Race 

Fun Fact: 

The current record for throwing cow dung is 248 feet it! No gloves are allowed…yuck!

Tossing Cow Dung for a Good Cause?

Tossing cow dung is not just some weird Wisconsin fun, the whole festival is a very large fundraiser! In fact the festival has helped 21 non profit groups!

When is the Festival?

August

Where is the Festival?

Wisconsin

7. WinterSkol – Aspen, Colorado

Winterskol is a community festival with a focus on artistic ideas and creativity. The Most unique event is the winter sculpting which sees skilled artists create some magnificent masterpieces out of snow & Ice.

Winterskol_wintersculpt Aspen Festivals

Winterskol_wintersculpt. Source: stayaspensnowmass.com

For More info check out: 21 Awesome Aspen Festivals! Music, Art, wine!

6. Lebowski Festival – Kentucky

America is the home of Hollywood and of course there is a big fascination with movies, music and stars. An representation of this is the Lebowski Fest  a festival dedicated to the Coen Brother classic movie ”   The Big Lebowski .

Highlights:

  • Lookalike/Costume Contests
  • Unlimited Bowling
  • Movie Screening
  • Cocktails – White Russians of course!
lebowski-festival unique festivals usa

lebowski-festival unique festivals usa. Source: Greg andrews/Esquire.

When is the Festival?

July

Where is the Festival?

Louisville, Kentucky. (There is also a version held on occasion on NYC)

5. Aspen Ruggerfest – Colorado

Another Unique festival in Aspen is the Annual Aspen Ruggerfest . An annual Rugby festival which celebrates the exciting & brutal game of Rugby, with tournaments and exciting events throughout the day.

Many call the game of Rugby like “Football without the pads”…so expect some great action.

Aspen-Ruggerfestival-Rugby-festival

Aspen-Ruggerfestival-Rugby-festival

When is the Festival?

September

Where is the Festival?

Aspen, Colorado

4. Dirtybird Campout – California 

A Unique Music Festival in the U.S.A, Dirtybird campout is an adult summer camp with a twist.

Music: 

The Music at Dirtybird Campout includes a variety of Genres, last years line up included: Eric B. & Rakim, Jhené Aiko, Nastia Cut Chemist, DāM-FunK, Claude VonStroke, Pillow Talk, Amp Fiddler.

Dirtybird-Campout-Best music festivals usa

Dirtybird-Campout-Best music festivals usa. Source: radseason.com

Fun Games & Activities:

The Games & Activities are probably the most unique part of this festival. They include:

  • Dodgeball
  • Archery
  • Potato Sack Race
  • Water Balloon Toss
  • DIY Boat Wars
  • Costumed Boat Races
  • 3 Legged Race
  • Canoes, Kayaks and Many more!

They also have an arts & crafts area which offers Face Painting,.

When is the Festival?

Fri, 4 Oct 2019 – Sun, 6 Oct 2019

Where is the Festival?

Modesto Reservoir Campgrounds,  Modesto Reservoir Regional Park, California, United States. 

3. Water Lantern Festival

The Water Lantern Festival movement is growing in popularity all across the United States of America.

With the fast paced lifestyle many of us live, events like these offer a moment to express feelings for loved ones, find your zen and spark a connection with a community of individuals. All in the name of peace, love of harmony.

water-Lantern-Festival-S

water-Lantern-Festival-couples

Highlight:

At the Water Lantern Festival, thousands of people come together for an incredibly magical and even emotional experience for some.

As evening falls, thousands of lanterns are launched onto lakes, which light up the water in the most magnificent way.

However, the Water Lantern Festival has an even more emotional meaning, with the messages written on the lanterns. This makes it a truly unique community event.

For more info and to check Water Lantern Festivals in a state near you see: Water Lantern Festival: Guide to Making Memories!

2. Woof Stock Festival

Woofstock, the largest Dog festival in North America! The perfect place to celebrate the love of your dog and passion for the canine breed.

Dubbed as one of the best festivals in Canada and winner of numerous awards, Woofstock is a barking mad, fun packed event which draws thousands from all over North America.

Peace and Love at Woof stock Dog Festival!

Peace and Love at Woof stock Dog Festival!

Over 200,000 people from all over the U.S and Canada ascend upon Woodbine Park in Toronto for this annual two day event with their furry friends!

Highlights:

There are many unique events at Woofstock, these include: 

  • Running of the Pugs!
  • Dog Fashion Show
  • On-Stage Competitions
  • Celebrity Dog Show
  • Canines got talent
  • Rescue Dog village
  • Dog Training classes
  • Ultimutts Stunt Dog Show

Dog Fashion Show:

Does your pooch have the dogged determination to become North Americas next top model!

Woofstock-Fashion-Show-Dog-Outfit

Woofstock-Fashion-Show-Dog-Outfit

For more info on dates, locations and Dog tips, see: Woofstock: Largest Dog Festival in North America!

1. Burning Man Festival 

At Town & Tourist, this had to be number 1 on our list, a true Icon and cultural extravaganza of art, people, music, creativity and ideas.

Black Rock Desert in Nevada gets transformed every year into an apocalyptic community called Black Rock City.

Burning Man Festival 2020

Burning Man Festival, Photo by @dinkyjr_ | Lord Snort, the interactive piece by artist-sculptor Bryan Tedrick

Black Rock City:

Black Rock city is an improvised desert town, which looks like something out of the Mad Max Movies. Each year this becomes the home to 80,000 wild characters “Burners”, unique art sculptures and some epic music!

Burning mans Philosophy is about connecting people through self expression, and carefree attitudes.

When is the Music Festival?

30 August – 7 September 2020

Where is the Music Festival?

Black Rock Desert, Nevada
burningman Outfits

Be as creative & as wild as you can when designing your Burning man Outfit

How much do tickets cost?

A ticket to Burning Man Festival can be very expensive,  costing $470! It’s also pretty difficult to get a ticket as it sell out so fast! But lucky here at Town & Tourist we have a solution for you!

Do you want Cheap Tickets to Burning Man?

Our Town and Tourist Researcher discovered something crazy…Did you know that Burning Man releases a few thousand tickets each year for less than $200??

It’s true, to learn about how you can grab one and get some tips on the festival check out:

Ultimate Guide to Burning Man Festival:    Budget Burning! 

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About the author

Town & Tourist

A travel resource guide that has been carefully crafted and curated by travel bloggers to help you find the best places to travel to in the USA.