Weird (but fun) Midwestern Festivals You Never Knew Existed

I'm always up for anything unique, and I'm always looking for interesting places to visit.  These festivals offer both the unique...meaning weird...and they are held in interesting small and big cities all over the Midwest.

1. Mattoon Bagelfest — Mattoon, IL
Lender’s Bagels accidentally started this festival 30 years ago with a free bagel breakfast and the locals have been infatuated ever since. The small town’s Bagelfest is a four-day celebration dedicated to the wondrous breakfast food. Events include a carnival, Bagel Baby Contest, Miss Bagelfest Contest, live entertainment, the Bagelfest Parade and of course, the infamous Free Bagel Breakfast on the last morning of the festival. This year’s celebration was July 14-18 but definitely plan on catching next year’s. Who wouldn’t want to get behind a full four days dedicated to nothing but bagels.
2.Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival — Prairie du Sac, WI
What could possibly be weirder than a festival full of people throwing poop Frisbees? I really don’t know, but Wisconsinites love it. The Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival is held every Fall in Prairie du Sac and celebrates the long-standing tradition of tossed cow chips, which were originally used by early settlers for fuel. The Cow Chip Throw is one of the community’s most anticipated events of the year alongside the Tournament of Chips Parade featuring Cowabunga, the 13-foot-tall Trojan cow on wheels. It’s pulled down the street with all the other floats and is definitely the star of the show.


3. Duck Tape Festival — Avon, OH
Every year on Father’s Day weekend, the city of Avon, Ohio celebrates being the home of the Duck Tape brand of duct tape with the Duck Tape Festival. Events like the Duck Tape Fashion Show and Duck Tape Parade really spotlight the creativity of the community with gigantic floats, detailed themed scenes and wearable clothing — all made entirely of Duck Tape. Every year there’s a new theme and endless creative possibilities which makes this one of Ohio’s most odd yet fun annual celebrations.
5. The World of Faeries Festival — South Elgin, IL
From faerie dance lessons and tea parties in the Wildflower Garden, to gypsy belly dancing, bubble shows and mystical merchants; anyone can be a fairy for a day at The World of Faeries Festival. This whimsical two-day event in South Elgin, Illinois has been a tradition for 11 years now and this year’s event is scheduled for August 1-2. The festival is meant for visitors of all ages and as one would assume, costumes are highly encouraged.
6. Yale Bologna Festival — Yale, MI
More than 20,000 people attend this small town Bologna Festival every July to see who will be crowned the next King and Queen of Bologna. What a title! But the bologna king and queen crowning is just a slice of the fun. Yale’s famous outhouse races, baby bologna competition, street dancing and golf cart and bicycle parades round out one of Michigan’s most interesting annual food-themed festivals. There’s even a fireworks show to celebrate Yale’s bologna heritage and C. Roy Inc., the local family-owned company that has continuously mad9. Testicle Festival — Olean, MO
9. Testicle Festival — Olean, MO
The small town of Olean, Missouri is more than proud of its annual Testicle Festival which draws thousands to the area to participate. While deep fried Rocky Mountain Oysters and deep fried turkey testicles are the main attraction, the festival also includes live local music, competitions and family-friendly events and games. But don’t worry, there’s a variety of different food vendors for those who aren’t interested in tasting the main attraction.e delicious bologna for more than a century now.
10. Washboard Music Festival — Logan, OH
The Columbus Washboard Company is the only U.S. corporation that still manufactures washboards and it’s located in Logan, Ohio. So what does the community do? Celebrate the fact that they have the last washboard-making company in the U.S., of course. The Washboard Music Festival encourages people to use the washboard as a musical instrument by showcasing live performances of talented musicians doing just that. The three-day festival in June also features local vendors, tractor, car and quilt shows, rides for the kids and more.


15. Rubber Ducky Festival — Bellaire, MI
This August 15-16 the town of Bellaire will host its 12 Days of Summer Celebration, culminating in the annual Rubber Ducky Festival. Festival-goers purchase a number that corresponds with a rubber ducky and then thousands of ducks are dumped into the river that runs through town. Onlookers cheer as their rubber ducky races a quarter mile to the finish line and the first 27 ducks to finish the race are rewarded with a cash prize. A Rubber Ducky Parade precedes all the action alongside live music, sidewalk sales, inflatables for the kids, face painting and more.



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