Quaint and Quirky Arts Festivals in America

We’re fast approaching festival season, which means it’s time to fill those calendars up with weekend trips for the best celebrations around. Whether you’re interested in all things food-focused — there are festivals in our great nation celebrating omelets, frog legs, cherries, cheese curds, peanuts and pretty much anything else you can eat — or prefer the big headliners of massive music fests, you’re in for some unfettered festival fun this year. Our favorite is the arts festival, especially that of the quirky variety. Here’s a list of some you shouldn’t miss!
Annual Mermaid Parade at Coney Island
  • Duck Tape Festival: Avon, Ohio —You’ll be totally amazed to see what duct tape enthusiasts come up with at this truly unique Ohio festival. Sponsored by Duck Tape —the flashy adhesive brand whose headquarters just so happens to be in the Cleveland suburb where the festival is held — this one is all about the many ways you can use Duck Tape to create. Take a look at the festival’s gallery to see what we mean. It takes place for one weekend in June at Veterans Memorial Park in Avon.
  • The Mermaid Parade: Coney Island —The largest art parade in the nation isn’t exactly quaint, but it is as quirky as they come. Hosted annually on a Saturday in June, the Mermaid Parade’s official mission is to celebrate mythology and to boost public self-expression in New York City. That means you’ll find some serious creativity and pageantry here, especially in the form of homemade costumes and floats. The parade meanders along the Riegelmann Boardwalk and then Surf Avenue in Coney Island.
 Coney Island Mermaid Parade
  • Eeyore’s Birthday Party: Austin — According to Howie Richey, the author of “Party Weird: Festivals & Fringe Gatherings in Austin,” Austin was born to be a party town. Eeyore’s Birthday Party — the day-long festival in Pease District Park — is exemplary of that. Since 1963, the last Saturday of April is designated Eeyore’s Birthday, with Austinites dressing up in fun costumes and enjoying live music and food. It was named in honor of the Winnie-the-Pooh character, Eeyore, who thought his friends forgot his birthday.
  • Morro Bay Surfboard Art Festival: Morro Bay, Calif. — At this Coastal California arts fest, local surfers and artists come together for a greater cause, by creating and then donating uniquely painted or decorated surfboards. After the festival, the sale of the surfboards helps to support Morro Bay in Bloom, a nonprofit focused on beautifying the town’s public areas. The festival runs from October to December, with painted boards on display at local businesses. It commences with the official surfboard sale.
  • Frozen Dead Guy Days: Nederland, Colo. —  In the mountains of Colorado, there’s a town called Nederland with one very unique resident: a cryogenically frozen corpse. Said corpse is that of Bredo Morstøl, the grandfather of a Norwegian citizen who brought it to the U.S. in 1989, eventually settling himself and Morstøl in the small Colorado town. The annual fest, which takes place in March, includes apt activities such as coffin races, a frozen dead guy lookalike contest and a tour of the shed where the corpse is still frozen.
  • Underwater Music Festival: Florida Keys — Talk about quirky! This Florida festival is by far one of the most fascinating music festivals around. For the last 25 years, divers have gathered under the sea at Looe Key Reef to play music in honor of coral preservation efforts. The whimsical instruments — “strummed” to the tune of a radio playlist — are crafted by local artist August Powers. The event is typically held on a Saturday in July.
annual UFO Festival
  • UFO Festival: Roswell, N.M. — It’s appropriate that the biggest UFO festival is held in Roswell, the town where a suspicious flying disc crashed in 1947. This super-popular fest hosted nearly 40,000 festival-goers last year, many of whom dressed in elaborate alien getups and celebrated their extraterrestrial endeavors. Fest-goers can enjoy fun activities, like light shows and parades, as well as serious alien-related speakers and presentations. It takes place over Fourth of July weekend all over the city.
As you can tell, if there’s a fringe interest, there’s a festival to celebrate it. There’s no better way to spend your summer than at a few of these unique festivals. Don’t forget your quirky costumes!