SAVE THE DATE
A month-by-month guide to the contests and parades that bring out America's best and quirkiest. Some people will dream up any excuse for a party!
Icebox Days XXVIIII in International Falls, Minn.
Each year, city council members from International Falls challenge those from its sister city, Fort Frances, across the Canadian border, to a snowshoe race as part of a four-day festival embracing the area's chilly winters. Among activities like a snowshoe hike and "Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard" 10K and 5K runs is one bizarre standout: outdoor bowling with frozen turkeys for balls. Jan. 15-18, 2009; internationalfallsmn.us, free.
International Water Tasting in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
This historic spa town boasts three times as many massage therapists as lawyers and claims it was visited by a young George Washington for the healing power of its natural springs. At the competition, judges compare more than 100 entries from around the globe in a blind tasting. Onlookers can sip samples, vote in a best-package-design contest, and attend seminars. Feb. 19-22, 2009; berkeleysprings.com, free.
Ostrich Festival in Chandler, Ariz.
Live bands, kid-friendly rides, and more than 150 crafts and food vendors—some of whom sell ostrich burgers—are the backdrop for the weekend's main event at Tumbleweed Park: a series of ostrich races with participants hanging on tightly. Date TBD; ostrichfestival.com, tickets from $7.
World Grits Festival in St. George, S.C.
The folks in St. George love their grits (they consume the most per capita of any place in the country) and have been throwing an annual festival since 1986. Expect eating contests, corn tossing and shelling, and the crowning of a one-and-only Miss Grits. Date TBD; worldgritsfestival.com, free.
World Cow Chip Throwing Championships in Beaver, Okla.
The nine-day Cimarron Territory Celebration—packed with the likes of a kiddie parade and horseshoe throwing—culminates on the third Saturday of each April, when men and women fling dried cow chips with all their might across a roped-off course. Apr. 11-19, 2009; beavercountychamberofcommerce.com, free.