La Tomatina & La Raima - Valencia, Spain
Every year on the last Wednesday of August, the small town of Buñol swells from 9,000 to over 30,000 for La Tomatina, the most famous food fight in the world. For one hour, shirtless men and women dressed in white hurl 150,000 crushed tomatoes at each other to celebrate the end of summer. I don't know what is about Spain and food fights, but La Raima, the world's largest grape fight, also takes place in the province of Valenica, in the town of Pobla del Duc, only two days after La Tomatina.
Burning Man - Black Rock Desert, Nevada
August 29 - September 5
For one week, this normally quiet desert playa in Nevada is converted into a temporary city where there are no rules (which means lots of naked people and some drug use) and everyday is a party. The city is governed by a set of 10 principles (that sound like an artsy version of the ten commandments) and can only succeed if each one of the 45,000 attendees contributes to the community. Burning Man culminates with the burning of a 40-foot tall wooden man, and after the event is over, the participants leave no trace of the city's existence.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe - Edinburgh, Scotland
August 5 - 29
3 weeks. 259 venues. 2,453 shows. 40,254 performances. 74,000 visitors... a day. That's what makes the Edinburgh Festival Fringe the largest art festival in the world. Performances range from theater to comedy to dance and everything in between.
Here are some of the biggest MUSIC FESTIVALS FROM AROUND THE WORLD...
Sziget Festival - Budapest, Hungary
August 8 - 15
All 266 acres of Old Buda Island, located in the middle of the river Danube, are converted into a playground of music, theater, sports and life-size foosball during the Sziget Festival, one of Europe's largest music and cultural festivals. It's been described as Europe's answer to Burning Man, but way more mainsteam (and with a lot less nudity). Around 400,000 people are expected to watch over 1,000 performances, with headliners like 30 Seconds to Mars, Muse and Iron Maiden.
Reading And Leeds Festivals - Reading & Leeds, England
August 26 - 28
The bank holiday weekend in the United Kingdom is cause for massive celebration, and the Reading and Leeds music festivals are two of the biggest and most prestigious events. 150,000 people will pack into both sites combined each day to watch headliners Guns N' Roses, Weezer, Paramore and Blink-182.
Lollapalooza - Chicago, Illinois
August 5 - 7
Green Day, Lady Gaga and Arcade Fire are just a few of the bands headlining this year's Lollapalooza, an annual music and art festival that celebrates music from all genres, dance, comedy and crafts. Over 100 acts will perform on 8 different stages in Grant Park.
Elvis Week - Memphis, Tennessee
August 10 - 16
The world's largest Elvis festival took place last year in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada, but die hard fans make the trek every year to celebrate the life of Elvis at his Graceland home. A week of trivia, contests, tours, tribute concerts and look alike contests culminates with a candle light vigil at Elvis' grave on the anniversary of his death, August 16, 1977.
Here some interesting and bizarre SPORTS CONTESTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD...
Palio di Siena - Siena, Italy
Twice a year (July 2 and August 16), the Piazza del Campo in the center of Palio di Siena becomes a makeshift racetrack in which ten horseback riders representing the city's wards (called contrades) race around the track three times for a hand painted silk banner and bragging rights. The 90-second spectacle attracts around 50,000 people, with 28,000 packed into the center of the racetrack. Before and after the race, the city is a scene of massive feasts and musical performances.
Air Guitar World Championship - Oulu, Finland
August 25 - 28
The people behind the Air Guitar World Championship believe that air guitar is not just silly and entertaining, it promotes world peace. Performers are judged on a 6.0 grade scale with the winner being the most exaggerated, theatrical, over the top air guitarist and lip syncher in the world.
World Gold Panning Championships - Zlotoryja, Poland
August 22 - 28
The gold rush may have ended over a hundred years ago, but that hasn't stopped people from panning for gold. And the best in the world will assemble to compete in the World Gold Panning Championships.
A few competitions from our list of 15 Strange Sports Festivals And World Championships also go down in August. There's the World Bog Snorkeling Championship in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales on August 29th, the World Sauna Championships in Heinola, Finland on August 6th & 7th, and the Sumo Suit Athletics World Championship in London, England on August 14th.
Try some food at one of these FOOD FESTIVALS FROM AROUND THE WORLD...
La Pourcailhade - Trie Sur Baïse, France
The Pig Festival is a celebration of our favorite fat animal friends. There's a pork sausage eating contest, piglet races, a piggy costume competition, and the highlight of the day: The French Pig-Squealing Championships, where contests try to imitate pig noises.
64th Annual Maine Lobster Festival - Rockland, Maine
August 3 - 7
Over 20,000 pounds of famous Maine lobster will be cooked inside the world's largest lobster cooker at the Maine Lobster Festival. There's also a parade, a tour of a Navy ship and all-you-can-eat blueberry pancakes to soak up all that dipping butter.
Get cultured at these TRADITIONAL FESTIVALS FROM AROUND THE WORLD...
Puck Fair - Killorglin, Ireland
August 9 - 11
100,000 people will converge on this small town to celebrate the oldest fair in Ireland. Puck Fair begins when a group of people head into the mountains to catch a goat. The goat is then taken into the center of town where it is crowned King Puck and put on display for three straight days as people dance and drink wildly.
Obon Festival - Japan
August 12 - 15
For over 500 years, people from all over Japan have celebrated the Buddhist tradition of Obon, where families gather together to pay respects to their ancestors... and the spirits of the ancestors return to earth. On the night of the 15th, people light a candle inside a paper lantern and send it down a river so the spirits can return to the afterlife. The celebration is marked by a folk dance called bon odori; the dance varies from town to town, but anyone can participate.
Aomori Nebuta Matsuri - Aomori, Japan
August 2 - 7
Nebuta Festivals began as a way of waking up sleepy souls in preparation for the fall harvest. The festivals are characterized by parades featuring massive illuminated floats of samurai warriors. Nebuta Festivals take place all over Japan, but the most famous celebration is in the city of Aomori. The last night of the festival is the biggest, with the best three floats being cast off into the ocean, and culminating with a fireworks show.
Finally, let's explore some of the strange and unusual FESTIVALS AND EVENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD...
71st Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - Sturgis, South Dakota
August 8 - 14
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is the oldest and largest motorcycle rally in the world. Every year over 400,000 motorcyclists come to show off their bikes, drink, perform tricks, drink, make new friends, drink, check out biker babes in very little clothing, drink, and get into enough trouble to fill the local jail.
Humungus Fungus Festival - Crystal Falls, Michigan
August 5 - 7
This festival lives up to its name. Crystal Falls is home to the oldest and largest living organism on earth: a mushroom that covers 38 acres, weighs over 100 tons, and is believed to be upwards of 10,000 years old. The main event at the Humungus Fungus Festival is eating a 10 foot by 10 foot mushroom pizza, the largest fungus pizza in the world.
Hemp Parade - Berlin, Germany
Potheads takes to the streets to get their message across at the Hanfparade, the largest hemp legalization demonstration in Europe.
29th International Regatta of Bathtubs - Dinant, Belgium
20,000 people come from far and wide to watch a hundreds of uniquely designed floating bathtubs take to the water for a chance to win various prizes. The International Regatta of Bathtubs starts out innocently but usually turns into a giant water fight.
The 29th Annual TestyFesty Testicle Festival - Clinton, Montana
August 3 - 7
Last year, 10,000 people made their way to the Testicle Festival to eat over 5,000 pounds of deep fried bull testicles. But that's not even the main attraction. This adults only event features a wet t-shirt contest, a hairy chest contest, and Bullshit Bingo, where people try to guess when a cow will drop a dookie.
Twins Days Festival - Twisburg, Ohio
August 5 - 7
Biological twins from all over the world head to Twinsburg, Ohio for the annual Twins Day Festival, the largest gathering of twins in the world.
Worthing International Birdman - Worthing, West Sussex, UK
August 13 & 14
The Worthing International Birdman is one of the more popular birdman competitions in the world, where people attempt to fly off a pier using self-made aircraft or elaborate costumes... but the result is always a crash into the water.
Bolas de Fuego - Nejapa - El Salvador
Most people stay away from El Salvador because of the danger. But in the case of Bolas de Fuego (which translates to Balls of Fire), it's the danger that brings people to El Salvador. In honor of a volcanic eruption in 1917, young people take to the streets of Nejapa every August 31st to hurl fireballs at each other. It looks incredibly violent, but surprisingly injurires are rare.
That's a packed line-up!
Are there any other cool or unusual festivals, contests, celebrations or events you want to see on this list? Share in the comments below!