Top 5: Out-of-the-box summer festivals

Published on: Thursday, May 10, 2018
Top 5: Out-of-the-box summer festivals - Roswell UFO Festival, image by Juliana Halvorson

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Summer is a great time of year to indulge your wild side, so take full advantage of the season at these top five mad-as-a-hatter summer festivals

Puck Fair, Ireland

One of Ireland’s oldest and longest celebrated street festivals involves everything from goats to circuses. Every year in early August, the townspeople of Killorglin trek to the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks to capture a wild goat to crown “King Puck”. Once the goat is crowned, the festivities begin and continue for three days straight. Around 100,000 visitors flock to this small town in County Kerry for endless hours of parades, puppet shows and night concerts. Festival-goers can revel in the entertainment then relax at a pub until the wee hours of the night before the entire festival culminates with a magnificent firework display.

Batalla del Vino, Spain

The most famous summer festival in Spain may be the Tomato Fight in Valencia, but the Spanish Wine Battle makes its own splash in La Rioja. Dressed entirely in white except for the red bandanas around their necks, crowds horde the village of Haro in late June and splash wine from morning to noon until everyone is a beautiful shade of purple. Thousands of locals and visitors arm themselves with plastic bottles cups and even full bottles of wine to wreak havoc in the city. After several hours of sticky celebration, everyone heads to the town centre to indulge in huge feasts and more wine – this time, of course, to drink.

Wife-Carrying World Championships, Finland

Husband-and-wife finalists from around the world unite in the Finish town of Sonkajärvi each July for the annual wife-carrying showdown. Women held in various poses are carried through a 235.5-metre obstacle course by their partners. This peculiar sport goes back to the local legend of Rosvo-Ronkainen, whose infamous gang of thieves were said to have kidnapped villagers’ wives in the 1800s, carrying them on their backs. Don’t miss the spin-off event, the Wife-Carrying Karaoke contest while you’re there.

Roswell UFO Festival, New Mexico

For a taste of something out of this world, mark your calendars for this extraterrestrial extravaganza in Roswell, New Mexico. Each summer this three-day UFO festival kicks off with an E.T.-themed party and is followed by laser shows, alien costume competitions and an enormous evening light parade. The popularity of the event stems from the Roswell UFO pop culture phenomenon which draws thousands of curious visitors each year. Sign up for the song contest, hear talks from ufologists, or show off your alien-themed vehicles at the festival car show.

Boryeong Mud Festival, South Korea

Not afraid to get a little dirty? Then the Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea is an experience not to be missed. Daecheon Beach, the location of the nine-day festival, houses mudflats with high mineral concentrations making the event’s mudslides, soothing massages and boisterous wrestling challenges good for the skin and mood. Visitors looking for a challenge can crawl through muddy obstacles courses while others can commemorate their time at the festival with self-made mud soaps. Be sure to dive into the fun as soon as you reach the festival grounds or risk getting locked up in a “mud prison”.

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This article was updated on 09/05/2018