Book Your Flight: Canada’s International Hair Freezing Competition Is Here

If you're looking to instantly transform your hairstyle, head to Takhini Hot Pools in Canada's Yukon Territory. The natural hot springs there make it possible to bathe outdoors in extreme freezing weather, resulting in some impressive 'dos when people get their hair wet and let it harden. As Smithsonian reports, the practice has become so popular that there's now an annual event to see who can freeze their hair into the most impressive shapes. Photos of 2020's contestants have already started pouring into HairFreezingContest.com, and the competition looks fierce.

The first International Hair Freezing Contest took place in February 2011 as a spin-off of the local Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous. After competing in winter sporting events all day, athletes from the rendezvous would head to Takhini to take a mineral bath in one of the pools fed by the area's natural hot spring. The manager at the time turned the relaxation session into another competition when he asked bathers to sculpt their wet hair into frozen works of art. Whoever ended up with the best selfie won the contest.

What began as a fun activity among a small group of people has grown into a major competition. Each winter, people from around the world visit the hot pools hoping to take part. The Hair Freezing Contest is unique in that it doesn't take place over a set stretch of dates. Rather, guests compete whenever it's cold enough outside to achieve the desired hairstyling effects, e.g. when it's -4°F or colder. Throughout winter, competitors can sign a form proving they were really there, and if it's cold enough to shape their hair in the pools, they can snap a selfie and submit their work to Takhini. Categories include Best Male Photo, Best Female Photo, Most Creative Photo, and Best Group Photo. Contestants are eligible to win $2000, complimentary soaks, and free passes to Takhini's new facility when it opens in autumn.

For those worried about their hair falling out, the business promises that hair freezing isn't harmful, and dipping your head into the pool quickly thaws it back to normal.

Selfies will be accepted through March 8, 2020, with official voting on the winners taking place on March 15. To see some hairstyles in the running to win this year's contest, check out the photos below.

Party Like a Hobbit at Chicago’s Lord of the Rings Pop-Up Bar

Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Replay Lincoln Park

One does not simply walk into Mordor, but one does simply walk into The Lord of the Rings pop-up bar in Chicago—as long as you’re at least 21 years old, of course.

Replay Lincoln Park, known for elaborate themed pop-ups for Game of Thrones, South Park, and other entertainment franchises, has transformed its premises into a magical reproduction of Middle-earth aptly called “The One Pop-Up to Rule Them All,” open now through March 23.

Inside, you’ll be able to crouch under an outcropping of tangled tree roots while one of the dreaded Nazgûl lurks above you, high-five a grimacing Gollum, and snap photos with all your favorite Lord of the Rings characters.

nazgul at the lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Nazgûl like to party, too.
Replay Lincoln Park

You might want to skip elevenses to make sure you have plenty of room for a Hobbit-approved feast during your visit. The menu, catered by Zizi’s Cafe, features items like Fried Po-tay-toes, Lord of the Wings, Beef Lembas, and Pippen’s Popcorn.

ent replica at chicago's replay lincoln park pop-up bar
Say hello to a friendly Ent while you munch on "Pippen's Popcorn."
Replay Lincoln Park

According to Thrillist, there will be three different counters in the bar, each with its own specialty drinks. Head to The Prancing Pony for a second breakfast shot (maple whiskey, bacon, and orange juice), or take a trip to Minas Tirith to toss back a palantir shot, made of silver tequila and passion fruit purée. If you’re in the mood for a little dark magic, you can trek over to Mordor and try a “my precious” shot, a fusion of dark rum, orange liquor, and Cajun seasoning.

lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Eye of Sauron is watching you order another round of Mordor shots.
Replay Lincoln Park

For those of you who are happy to accompany your Tolkien-obsessed friends to the pop-up but aren’t exactly tickled at the sight of a moss-covered Ent replica yourselves, take heart in this added bonus: Replay Lincoln Park also boasts more than 60 free arcade games and pinball machines.

[h/t Thrillist]

23 Weird Laws You Might Have Broken

Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy hosts "The List Show."
Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy hosts "The List Show."
Mental Floss via YouTube

If you've ever played a game of bingo in North Carolina, you may have been a party to a crime without even knowing it. And if you've ever eavesdropped on a neighbor in Oklahoma and shared any of that juicy gossip, you might just want to go ahead and turn yourself into the police.

From coast to coast, America is full of bizarre laws that you've probably broken at one time or another. Join Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy as she digs into the history of 23 of the strangest of them—like why you can't eat fried chicken with a knife and fork in Gainesville, Georgia. You can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

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