Take a trip to these seven quirky and awesome summer festivals in America and around the world.
Summer’s the time to head outdoors and enjoy your surroundings—whether you’re heading off into the woods alone with a backpack, going on a family fishing trip, or enjoying the camaraderie of 50,000 of your closest friends and relatives at a concert or festival.
If you’re ready to join a crowd, there are countless regional summer festivals around, where small towns and big cities alike can spotlight the best of what makes them special. Here are a few of our favorite picks, spotlighting delicious and/or unique regional specialities. Which ones will you be putting on your calendar this summer?
Have you ever seen the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain? This celebration is Brattleboro, Vermont’s laid-back, kinder, gentler equivalent, intended to spotlight the region’s local food movement and dairy farmers. Future farmers parade through town with young heifers, followed by horses, pigs, and other livestock, and a variety of floats. The three-day celebration concludes with a cycling tour through Vermont’s dairyland, and guided tours at five local farms. Occurring in early June, this one’s already passed, but don’t miss it next year!
When? Early June 2016
Where? Brattleboro, Vermont
Head west to Gilroy, California (just north of the Santa Cruz mountains) for a not-so-fresh-breathed feast at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. The town spotlights everyone’s favorite savory vegetable in virtually any form you can imagine: garlic-seasoned meat, veggies, stews, and even garlic ice cream are all present in abundance. The festival also sports cook-off events, live music, a Garlic Queen competition, and plenty of fun activities for the kids. Don’t forget your breath mints!
When? July 24th-26th
Where? Gilroy, California
We live in Maine ourselves, so this is an obvious pick—but it’s also one of the tastiest, at least if you fancy the flavor of crustaceans. Whether or not you eat lobster, though, there’s plenty to enjoy at this festival in Rockport, Maine: Pancake breakfasts, a lobster crate race (running across a string of lobster crates floating in the frigid Atlantic, that is), a downtown parade, and a marine touch tank for children are just a few of the fun events that await you at this unforgettable festival.
When? July 29th - August 2nd
Where? Rockport, Maine
If you’re spending a sweltering summer in Austin, Texas, a scoop of ice cream sure would help take the edge off. How about a neverending sundae? That fantasy can come true at the Austin Ice Cream Festival, held on August 9th. Your admission fee buys you all the ice cream you can eat, and you can take part in many frozen treat-related games and contests, including a popsicle stick sculpture competition, a homemade ice cream-making contest, and (of course) an ice cream eating contest.
When? August 9th
Where? Austin, Texas
This one may be an acquired taste—but the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science’s annual BugFest celebration is an awesome opportunity to learn about, celebrate, and yes, eat, a variety of creepy crawlies (weird as it sounds, they’re good for you). The festival offers fascinating lectures about arthropods, interactive games and displays for bug-eyed young’uns, beekeeping workshops for aspiring apiarists, and culinary confections at Cafe Insectica. Even if you’re not an insect aficionado when you arrive, you’ll soon be antsy to learn more about our insect friends.
When? September 19th
Where? Raleigh, North Carolina
When nature gives you mud, you make a mud festival. Every July, 1.5 million Woodstock wannabees flock to Boryeong, South Korea for what may be one of the filthiest festivals of the summer. But this isn't your run-of-the-mill mud. This mud, 9.9 million square meters of it, is certified by the Korea Institute of Geology for its high quality and is rich in minerals like germanium and bentonite, which can be used to prevent wrinkles. Making use of this resource, festival organizers haul mud from the Daecheon beach each July for visitors to languish in -- enjoying mud baths, mud massages and mud wrestling. And mud pies? No, no mud pies.
When? July 17th - 26th
Where? Boryeong, South Korea
Head to Devon, England for one of the summer’s most beautiful family friendly music festivals of the summer. This classic British holiday location is teaming with water sports and other outdoor activities to help release the beast in both kids and grown-ups. Organized games and garden parties bring us back to the days of the classic English countryside. Oh, and there is even a circus. Campfire feasts are prepared by local chefs, all to the beat of today’s most well-reviewed musicians like Bombay Bicycle Club, Honeyblood and Jimmy Cliff. If this sounds like throwback bliss with a taste of today, it is.
When? July 23-27
Where? Devon, England