The United States is home to people who have some weird and wonderful passions, and every summer many of these people come together to share these passions with the world by hosting a summer festival. These can range in size from relatively small festivals drawing just a few hundred people, up to massive events with different aspects of the festival celebrated on different days throughout the event. Here are a few suggestions if you are looking for a truly alternative festival that you can enjoy this summer.
Nalukataq Festival, Barrow, Alaska
The Nalukataq Festival is an event held in June ever year as a celebration at the end of the whale hunting season for the Inupiat Eskimos that live in this part of Alaska, with the event held in Barrow being one of the biggest in the community. Along with traditional events such as story telling and music, locals will also eat several different dishes made from whale meat, while a traditional Nalukataq blanket made from seal fur is stretched between a circle of people and as they pull out together it throws the person on the blanket into the air, with the captains of the whaling crews usually going first.
The Underwater Music Festival, Florida
This weird and wonderful event is usually best enjoyed if you can scuba dive or snorkel, as the majority of the event takes place underwater near the only living coral reef around the coast of the United States, at Looe Key in Florida. Especially designed instruments that can make noise underwater are crafted for the festival, and for those who aren't too good underwater, the festival is also broadcast online too.
Humungus Fungus Fest, Crystal Falls, Michigan
A festival that is dedicated to a huge underground fungus, this quirky and interesting festival has a range of events from pancake breakfast and horseshoe tournament, through to a fireworks display and the cooking of a huge mushroom pizza, which is made from mushrooms that sprout from the giant underground fungus. At over 1,500 years old and covering an area of around 37 acres, it is certainly an impressive fungus, even if it isn't actually visible from ground level.
Duck Tape Festival, Avon, Ohio
Over the years, there have been plenty of products that have achieved a cult following, but the Duck Tape Festival is probably one of the more unusual examples of this type of passion for a product. Duck tape is used for a variety of different events, from a parade with Duck Tape costumes through to artistic competitions and fashion shows modeling items made from the tape. Held in mid-June, this is a fantastic and quirky event to visit.
The Gilroy Garlic Festival, Gilroy, California
Gilroy has long been home to the largest exporter of garlic in the world, and this festival has been held in the city for over thirty years, raising millions of dollars for good causes every year. From arts and crafts competitions through to a beauty pageant, along with a wonderful food fair and cooking events, this rather pungent festival is one of the most entertaining and long lived food festivals in the United States.
Slug Fest, Eatonville, Washington
Held in June every year, this festival holds up one of the less celebrated members of the region's wildlife, the banana slug, and celebrates its existence. Held at the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, the event has human slug races and temporary slug tattoos, while there are also plenty of activities to help children learn about these animals which also allow them to get really slimy too!
The Washboard Music Festival, Logan, Ohio
As the home of the last company actually producing washboards, the Columbus Washboard Company, it is natural that Logan, Ohio should also be home to the festival celebrating the distinctive music produced by these household tools used as instruments. There is a big parade, an antique tractor event and a variety of stalls and vendors showing off some of the best food and drink produced in the area.