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When it comes to state fairs, you know the drill: funnel cake, bumper cars and rigged carnival games. Instead of the same old, same old, shake up your summer with one of these unexpected events that will add a little oddball fun to your plans.

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Calories don’t count at the RC-MoonPie Festival. Photo credit: Bob Henderson/Flickr.

RC-MoonPie Festival: Bell Buckle, TN
(June 16)

Shamelessly declare your love for Southern junk food at this festival that celebrates pairing a crisp RC Cola with MoonPie, which—if you’re not from around here—are those round graham cracker cookies with marshmallow dipped in  chocolate. Rounding out the festivities are live music, cloggers, a parade and more. And don’t worry about the calories; you’ll burn them off during the RC Cola & MoonPie 10 Mile Run.

Flickr CC: Clinton Steeds

UFO Festival: Roswell, NM (July 6–8)

Here’s a safe space to unleash all your conspiracy theories. The family-friendly event includes speakers, costume contests for attendees and their pets, live entertainment, authors and more. If the truth is out there, you’ll probably find it here.

The sun also rises in Key West during Hemingway Days. Photo credit: Erin Borrini/Flickr.

Hemingway Days: Key West, FL (July 17–22)

Whether you’re a bookworm or you paid a classmate to write your For Whom the Bell Tolls essay back in high school, you’ll enjoy this festival that celebrates the life of longtime Key West denizen Ernest Hemingway. The festivities include a Hemingway lookalike contest at the writer’s favorite bar, a “running of the bulls” down iconic Duval Street and more.

National Baby Food Festival: Fremont, MI (July 18–21)

Baby’s first food can also be baby’s first festival, when you bring the kids to this town that’s the cradle of Gerber Baby Food. Events include a children’s bike race, baby-crawling contest and car show, plus arts and crafts and more.

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da Vinci Days: Corvallis, OR (July 20–22)

In the spirit of the Italian artist/inventor, this free festival’s Graand (sic) Kinetic Challenge invites teams to engineer and race their own contraptions across 10 miles of city streets, sand dunes, mud and water. Other less laborious festivities include live music, a children’s village and art show.

Great Texas Mosquito Festival: Clute, TX (July 26–28)

Mascot Willie-Man-Chew and his “Swat Team” head up this carnival for folks itching to have a good time. The soiree includes music, carnival rides, cook-offs, a mosquito-calling contest and a prize for the child with the cutest mosquito-bitten legs (ouch).

Spitting images are everywhere at Twins Days the Twins Days Festival. Photo credit: Charles Robinson/

Twins Days: Twinsburg, OH (August 3–5)

This sibling celebration will have you seeing double—and triple. The first day of the festival is just for multiples and their families, but after that the public is welcome to marvel at the Double Take Parade, twins’ talent show, fireworks display and other activities that are twice as nice.

Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival: Prairie Du Sac, WI (August 31–September 1)

Cow chips (yes, that’s a dried pile of dung) were once used for fuel but now they ignite this Labor Day weekend extravaganza that also includes an art fair, kids’ activities, cow-themed parade and more. The highlight is a contest to see who can their cow chip the farthest, as judged by the official Meadow Muffin Committee.

BugFest is all the buzz at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, which puts on the event. Photo credit: Barbara Hobbs/Flickr.

BugFest: Raleigh, NC (September 15)

Got a kid who loves creepy-crawlies? Bring her to this free event full of insect-themed exhibits, crafts, games and activities. This is also an opportunity to ask questions to entomologists and—for the brave—sample cuisine from the festival’s Café Insecta, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Spinach Festival: Lenexa, KS (September 8)

Channel your inner Popeye at this free gathering that’s chock full of fun—and vitamin K. After a day of cooking demos, recipe contests, the world’s largest spinach salad and kids’ activities, you’ll either hate the green veggie or love it more than ever.

Tagged: Family, Festivals, Florida, FREE!, Seasonal, Texas

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