This month, the annabelle agenda highlights the more interesting festivals happening across America this fall (and ones to visit next year and one in Ireland).


The Okra Strut Parade

The Okra Strut, or as the locals call it "The Strut," began as a fundraiser for the local library and is now South Carolina's largest festival parade. "The Strut" takes place over two days with as many as 100,000 people joining the festivities including the parade featuring Okra Man. Why they chose to put the words "okra" and "strut" together to make a festival, I cannot imagine, unless they were looking for a flood of gourmet Saturday Night Fever devotees to come to South Carolina.

Location: Irmo, South Carolina
Dates: September 26 & 27, 2003

21st Annual Montana Testicle Festival
The double entendres abound at this festival celebrating the marinatin', breadin', fryin', and eatin' of the manhood of some unfortunate bulls. The annual "Testy Festy" is held at Rock Creek Lodge, 20 miles outside of Missoula, Montana. The event has been covered by every men's magazine from Hustler to Maxim, probably not because they like to eat "Montana Tendergroin," but rather it seems that lots of women like to show their boobies during the beer-soaked testes-eatin'.

Location: Rock Creek Lodge, Montana
Dates: September 17-21, 2003

Bean Fest and Great Championship Outhouse Race
Since 1981, the citizens of Mountain View, Arkansas, have celebrated their civic pride by stewing up gallons of pinto beans and pushing outhouses around the town square, two events that make up the "Bean Fest and Great Championship Outhouse Race." But, the real draw to this festival and the town which calls itself the "Folk Music Capital of the World," is the gathering of traditional musicians who come early for impromptu folk, gospel, and country jam sessions on an outdoor stage and amid the festivities.

Location: Mountain View, Arkansas
Dates: October 24-26, 2003


The 12th Annual Humungus Fungus Festival
There's fungus among us! The hero of the Humungus Fungus Festival is a gigantic 1,500 year-old mushroom covering 37 acres and weighing 11 tons. Scientists found the giant 'shroom outside Crystal Falls, Michigan, in the 1980's and it wasn't long before the town saw the fungal possibilities. If you go to the Humungus Fungus fest expecting to feast your eyes on a giant mushroom, you will be disappointed to learn that the celebrated fungiform is in the forest, covered by a protective layer of leaves and humus. In that case this festival should be called "The Humungus Fungus Covered by Humus" festival.

Location: Crystal Falls, Michigan
Date: August, 2004

Interstate Mullet Toss 
Unfortunately, this is not an event where people toss Billy Ray Cyrus into the Gulf, instead the contest is to see who can throw a dead mullet fish the farthest -- from Florida into Alabama. I'd like to meet the committee that came up with this idea.

Location: Pensacola, Florida
Date: April, 2004

Hairy Chest, Legs and Beard Contest
Now here's a contest I can get on board with! Though I am unclear as to the contest classifications (Are there male and female divisions? Can you enter more than one body part?), I am pretty sure that I could sweep the hairy legs category.

Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Date: July, 2004

World's Smallest St. Patrick's Day Parade
Such modesty! As reported on "In Dripsey in County Cork, between 3,000 and 4,000 people turned out to watch a parade, which was just 25 yards long, from one pub to another. John Sheehan, the owner of one of the pubs, the Lee Valley Inn, said that the village is hoping to get into the Guinness Book of Records."

Shouldn't this parade be called "The World's Wee-est Pub Crawl?"

Location: Dripsey, County Cork, Ireland
Contact: Stay at this little b&b next year:
Date: March 17, 2004

American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
Remember when everyone made such a big deal when Bill Clinton used a pen while doing the New York Times crossword, like that was a sign of his towering intellect? But, I ask you, why would anyone do a crossword in pencil? I learned the art of the crossword while working at a diner filled with old folks and they schooled me on how to kick ass on crosswords. Rule number one was use a pen, because if you're not sure if it's the right word you shouldn't fill it in. I think there is a life lesson there, but I'm not sure.

Location: Stamford, Connecticut
Dates: March 12-14, 2004

--by Alisa Welch

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