June 25, 2010 / 12:05 AM / 7 years ago

Travel Picks: 10 wacky summer U.S. events

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Fancy some mashed potato wrestling? Or what about the world's largest chicken dance or an Ernest Hemingway look-alike competition?

For travelers looking for fun event this summer, travel website TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com) has come up with the top 10 wackiest summer events in the United States this summer.

"These offbeat events are sure to create lasting memories, without breaking the bank," said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor.

This list is not endorsed by Reuters:

1. Summer Redneck Games - July 10, Dublin, Georgia

The 15th annual Summer Redneck games, a one day extravaganza, features a mud pit belly-flop contest, armpit serenade, watermelon seed spitting contest and Redneck Horseshoes, in which toilet seats are thrown. A coveted prize trophy is awarded for each of the day's events: a half crushed, empty mounted beer can.

2. Barnesville Potato Days - August 27/28, Barnesville, Minnesota

This annual celebration attracts over 16,000 potato lovers who feast on potato produce and can enjoy over 40 unique events, including mashed potato wrestling, a potato peeling competition, mashed potato sculpturing, and a mashed potato eating contest.

3. Mid-Atlantic Hermit Crab Challenge - July 10, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Competing hermit crabs are showcased in uniquely decorated displays, with prizes for the Friendliest Crab, Shyest Crab, Most Unique Crab Display, and more. Those wanting more adrenalin can also enjoy the Crustacean 500 race, in which hundreds of crabs "race" along an eight-foot track on the beach.

4. The Wayne Chicken Show - July 9/11, Wayne, Nebraska

This is a must for chicken-loving travelers with the three-day event including the world's largest chicken dance, the best chicken legs competition, and the National Cluck Off, in which competitors have 15 seconds to win over the judges with their best chicken impersonation.

5. Roswell UFO Festival - July 1/4, Roswell, New Mexico

From promoting extraterrestrial education through expert speakers and workshops, to an alien pet costume contest and a July 4 fireworks show, festival goers are sure to experience a healthy dose of paranormal activity.

6. Weird Contest Week - August 16/20, Ocean City, New Jersey

This five-day extravaganza of eccentricity will see a quirky contest held at 11 a.m. daily in front of Ocean City's Music Pier, Boardwalk and Moorly Terrace. Try taffy sculpting, biting a cookie to create an artwork, or French Fry sculpting.

7. Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw - September 3/4, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin

Dried dung takes on an altogether different use at this annual event, held in Marion Park and attended by some 40,000 people each year. Travelers can vie to secure the longest throw in the Chip Chuckin' competition, with the current record of 248 feet the mark to beat, and enjoy clog dancing, live music, a 10 km run and more.

8. Hemingway Days Festival - July 20/25, Key West, Florida

The 30th annual Hemingway Days Festival, honoring the life and works of former Key West resident and author Ernest Hemingway, offers entertainment galore with more than 125 burly, bearded contestants expected to compete in the "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike Contest. There is also the annual "Running of the Bulls" -- a quirky take-off on Pamplona's famous run, featuring liquor barrels on wheels.

9. World Championship Cardboard Boat Races - July 31, Heber Springs, Arkansas

These races are set on Greers Ferry Lake where some 4,000 spectators gather to cheer on the competing corrugated cardboard craft racing to be first across the 200-yard course. Awards include the Pride of Fleet trophy for the best looking boat and the Titanic Award for the vessel that makes it at least 50 yards before meeting the most dramatic watery end.

10. National Tom Sawyer Days - July 1/4, Hannibal, Missouri

Now in its 55th year, this annual celebration of the works of Mark Twain takes place in the riverside town of Hannibal, where the novelist spent his childhood. Some of the festival's events are pulled straight from the pages of classic Twain tales, such as the National Fence Painting Competition, the frog jumping contest -- with amphibians available to rent -- and mud volleyball.

Editing by Belinda Goldsmith

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