From mud baths to martial bliss – festivals are fun

Festivals aren’t just about music. If you want quirky, we’ve got you covered – from mud baths to marital bliss. Prepare to be amazed at what the human mind can dream up in the name of fun.
Mudfestival. Photo: Shutterstock

Mudfestival. Photo: Shutterstock

Boryeong Mud Festival

The name says it all: this is the time and place to celebrate mud. But not just any old mud – this is mineral-rich mud used in the manufacture of a variety of cosmetics. So if the fun of rolling around in the mud with several million people isn’t justification enough, there are always the benefits for your complexion.

July 17–26
Boryeong, South Korea

Wife Carrying World Championships

Allegedly inspired by 19th century tales of men stealing wives from neighboring villages, this competition involves men carrying women over an obstacle course. The winner is rewarded with the wife’s weight in beer. The event draws large crowds, and the format has been copied all over the world.

July 3–4
Sonkajärvi, Finland

World Toe Wrestling Championships

Toe wrestling was invented in the UK in 1974 with the aim of founding a sport that Britain could actually win. Things went well until 1976 when a Canadian tourist took the title. The sport vanished for two decades, but is gaining popularity again and attracts visitors from as far afield as Australia and Korea.

August 25
Bentley Brook Inn, Ashbourne UK

World Body Painting Festival

World Body Painting Festival. Photo: Martin Aigner

World Body Painting Festival. Photo: Martin Aigner

This festival attracts the best body-painting artist teams, along with a bevy of models and thousands of visitors. Competitions are held in a variety of categories, including brush, sponge, airbrush, and special effects. There are also three stages featuring 50 international bands and DJs.

July 3–5
Poertschach, Austria

Underwater Music Festival

Underwater Music Festival.

Underwater Music Festival.

Started to raise awareness of coral preservation, this festival takes place at Looe Key Reef, part of the only living coral barrier reef in North America. Ocean-themed hits such as Octopus’s Garden are piped from underwater speakers while musician divers and mermaids can be seen playing the trombonefish or the clambourine.

July 11–31
Florida Keys, US

The Testicle Festival

The festivities revolve around eating bull’s testicles (aka Rocky Mountain Oysters), and the surrounding activities are decidedly adult themed, such as free drinks in exchange for underwear on ‘No Panty Wednesday’, oil wrestling and the obligatory wet T-shirt competition.

July 29-August 2
Clinton, Montana

San Fermin in Nueva Orleans

This four-day fiesta brings Pamplona’s running of the bulls to New Orleans. But instead of bulls, there are 300 horn-helmeted roller-girls armed with plastic baseball bats who will chase you down and whack you on the backside.

July 9-12
New Orleans, Louisiana, US

International Bognor Birdman

International Bognor Birdman.

International Bognor Birdman.

The event’s organizers describe it as a flight competition for human–powered flying machines. The idea is simple: launch yourself from the end of a pier and attempt to defy gravity for as long as possible. Contestants include everyone from serious aviators to charity fundraisers.

July 18-19
Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK

Festival of Near Death Experiences

If you’ve survived a near-death experience this past year, you’ve earned the right to crawl into a coffin and be paraded through the streets of Las Nieves in Galicia by your nearest and dearest. It’s all done in honor of the town’s patron saint of resurrection, Saint Marta de Ribarteme, sister of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead in the biblical story.

July 29
Las Nieves, Spain


Scandinavian Traveler


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