Friday, 7 June 2019

4 Quirky art and cultural festivals in the USA

The USA loves its festivals. Every type of music, food, art, craft, fashion, sport and niche hobby seems to have a celebration somewhere in the US, some running along predictable lines, others straying into decidedly quirky territory. Plaid-wearing festival? Check. French festivals? Mais oui, bien sûr. Pirate festivals? Aye, those too.

1. Burning of Zozobra – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Yes, there’s that other festival in the West that ends in the spectacle of a burning man, but it has a much older forbear in Santa Fe’s annual Burning of Zozobra, a fiery event that marks the beginning of the Fiestas de Santa Fe.

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2. Hemingway Days – Key West, Florida

It’s hot. There are men with beards milling about. Mature men who seem to enjoy a drink. They bear a striking resemblance to each other.

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3. Washboard Music Festival – Logan, Ohio

Logan, Ohio, in the Hocking Hills southeast of Columbus, is the home of the Columbus Washboard Company, the only washboard manufacturing company in the US still in business. Almost no one uses a washboard for doing laundry anymore, but the tradition of using them as percussion instruments is alive and well, a tradition celebrated each Father’s Day weekend at the Washboard Music Festival.

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4. Calaveras Jumping Frog Jubilee – Angels Camp, California

In 1928, the town of Angels Camp held their first official frog-jumping contest as part of a celebration of the newly paved Main Street. This idea didn’t just leap out of nowhere: Mark Twain had earlier written a short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” so the town decided to bring their literary claim to fame to life. The tradition continues today as part of the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee.

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