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.
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.
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.
World Body Painting Festival
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.