A cold snap where I live made me face the fact that summer is over. October is looming, a month chock full of bizarre happenings. However, even when you take Halloween, baseball, and various harvest festivals out of the picture, there are still a lot of weird and wonderful events to enjoy in October.
North American Wife Carrying Championship
The sport of wife carrying goes way back in Finland, and is gaining a foothold in the US for some reason. The 11th annual North American Wife Carrying Championship run will take place Saturday, October 9th at Sunday River Ski Resort in Maine. Teams must consist of one male and one female, but who carries who is up to the participants. The race course is 278 feet long and has obstacles, including a water crossing and logs to hurdle. If you drop your wife, a penalty is added to your time. There are still 50 slots available if you want to sign up. The winning team will qualify for the World Wife Carrying Championship in Finland next July.
There's a bridge that spans the New River Gorge in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. On October 16th, BASE jumpers from all over will gather at the bridge for Bridge Day. Why? To jump off the bridge, of course! And not only BASE jumpers -outdoor adventurers will be climbing up and rappelling down the gorge as well. There's also a highline for inexperienced visitors who want to get a taste of the thrill.
Bean Fest and Great Championship Outhouse Race
This year's Bean Fest and Outhouse Races in Mountain View, Arkansas will be held October 29th through the 31st. Or maybe its the 28th through the 30th. Either way, this festival is full of beans -2,000 pounds of pinto beans, cooked by different teams around the courthouse square. The outhouse races are run by three-person teams, with the pilot sitting on a toilet seat and steering, and two others pushing the outhouse.
World Conker Championships
Conkers may be a children's game, but it's serious business during the World Conker Championships, held annually on the second Sunday in October. This year's tournament will take place October 10th at New Lodge Fields near Oundle, Northamptonshire, England. Both the men's and women's events draw competitors from all over the world -or at least in those countries where people actually play Conkers. In addition to a good time for all, the event raises funds for charities for the visually impaired.
Polar Circle Marathon
The Polar Circle Marathon is billed as "the coolest marathon on earth." That's because it takes place October 23rd in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland! With snow covering the gravel course and temperatures between 0 and -15 degrees Celsius, you are limited to seven hours for the full marathon and four hours for the half-marathon. If you don't finish in time, they will come pick you up for your own safety!
World Championship Quartz Crystal Dig
The World Championship Quartz Crystal Dig takes place October 8-10 this year in Mount Ida, Arkansas. Thousands of registered entrants pick up numbered bags at the beginning of the day and dig at various mines in the area, then hand in their bags for judging on the quality and quantity of the crystals retrieved. The winners get to keep what they, dug plus trophies, cash, and prizes from sponsors.
Angola Prison Rodeo
The Louisiana State Penitentiary presents the annual Angola Rodeo every Sunday in October (five dates this year). The rodeo was first held in 1965 for the entertainment of prisoners and employees, and was opened to the public in 1967. Over the years, an arena was built, rodeo professionals were brought in to oversee the event, and arts and crafts were added to the festivities. Inmates compete in many events from barrel racing to bull riding to "convict poker", in which four participants sit at a table while a bull is released. The last one to stand up wins! Yes, participation is voluntary.
Woolly Worm Festival
The Banner Elk Woolly Worm Festival welcomes you to Banner Elk, North Carolina October 16th and 17th. Events include the Woolly Worm Ball, the Woad Wace, and of course, Woolly Worm Racing! As you can see, the woolly worms need a little encouragement to move up to the finish line.
Coming soon: 2010 Halloween events from all over.