There is a festival for everything. Really, for everything. Don’t take my word for it, though. Just take a look at these fairs and festivals coming up across the U S of A as we segue into fall.
August 7-11, 2013 – Crystal Falls, Michigan
I’m sure you’ve spotted an oversized toadstool in your yard and thought, “That must be the biggest mushroom in the world!” Well, it’s not. That glory and honor belongs to the 11-ton ‘shroom growing in Michigan. You read right: 11 tons. This bad boy occupies 37 acres of Michigan real estate. See, it works that way because it’s all one organism called Armillaria bulbos, a “network of rhizomorphs” spread through the soil, occasionally sprouting edible mushrooms. This particular organism is believed to be as much as 10,000 years old. Discovered in 1988, the natural wonder has fueled local Humungus Fungus businesses and now has its own week-long festival that includes sidewalk sales, entertainment, social events, a parade and, of course, a mushroom cook-off.
August 16 & 17, 2013 – Pullman, Washington
I love lentils. Really, I do. But a National Lentil Festival? Okay sure, why not? This one is a biggie, being the 25th Anniversary, with American Idol finalist Casey James performing AND it has a beer garden. Plus Lentils! Lentil cooking demonstrations, the World’s Largest Bowl of Lentil Chili (with free samples!), the Lentil Land Kids Area, Lentil Marketplace (where you can buy more than lentils)…(deep breath)…Lentil Lane Food Court, Lentil Pancake Breakfast, Lentil Cookoff, Lentil Parade…(deep breath, again)…Lentil King & Queen, Tase T. Lentil 5k Fun Run, Tour de Lentil Bike Ride and more! (Whew!)
August 30 & 31, 2013 – Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin
40,000 people let the chips fall every year at this festival, where the goal is to beat the current Wisconsin Cow Chip Throw of 248 feet. Not so into flinging poop? How about kicking up your heels with two stages of live entertainment, or browsing the arts & crafts? There will be a Kids Stage, a parade, and 5k & 10k runs, too. Who knows, you might even learn a little eco-history, like the fact that cow chips were once used as a soot- and odor-free fuel source. (Be that as it may, we’re still not putting those things in the fireplace.)
September 14 & 15, 2013 – Stahlstown, Pennsylvania
Didn’t we tell you there’s a festival for everything? To save you a trip to Google, Flax Scutching is a part of the process of turning flax into fabric, and it has a festival in southwestern Pennsylvania because…well because someone thought there should be an annual get together and flax scutching should be the central activity. There is more, with an emphasis on history and folklore, including entertainment, Civil War and Covered Wagon encampments, homemade food and crafts, and even an Indian raid! The highlight, however, is still a demonstration of the complete process of making linen from the flax plant.
August 10 to 17, 2013 – Memphis, TN
Just like Paul Simon, “I’m going to Graceland.” Why? For the King of all festivals, Elvis Week, this year celebrating the 40th Anniversary of “Aloha from Hawaii”! There are tours, reunions, listening parties, road trips to Tupelo, movie screenings (including the best ever, “Viva Las Vegas”) and so much more. As part of the festivities, the Hard Rock Cafe is hosting the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest with 28 Elvises (Elvi? Elvees?) competing for the rhinestone-studded crown. Thank you…thank you vrrry much.
September 28, 2013 – Fort Worth, Texas
Saving the best for last, Fort Worth hosts the Beer, Bourbon and Brisket Festival, a one-night event on the shores of the Trinity River. Everyone knows the Lone Star State is home to the world’s best barbecue (and if those aren’t fightin’ words, I don’t know what are!) but it’s also home to a developing craft beer and spirits industry. BBQ vendors from around the state will be on-hand, along with local and regional breweries and distilleries. There will be live entertainment on the river-front stage, so bring a suit and a tube to chill in the Trinity with music, Beer, Bourbon and Brisket! (Tickets are $8 to $20 plus $5 for parking.)
With summer drawing to a close, time is running out for getting out and enjoying all the cool and quirky things that make this the colorful country it is. Truly, somewhere in America is a festival for just about everything. Go forth and enjoy!