With the festival season well and truly underway there’s still time to get your slice of the fun – in an original way of course! Why not combine an exciting day out with a spot of travel? Here are five unique events from around the world that have made it onto our radar…
1. World Bog Snorkelling (Wales) – 26th August
The small town of Llanwrtyd Wells in Powys is the legendary location where this wacky event was first invented. Competitors must don a mask or goggles with snorkel and flippers before racing to complete two lengths of a 60 yard boggy trench. Conventional swimming strokes are banned, so it’s all down to the power of the flippers. Die-hard competitors take the plunge in wetsuits whereas fun-seekers tend to enter the fetid water in fancy dress.
If you like the sound of heading to the hills, for some good ol’ fashioned bog action (like you do), then why not embark on a Brecon Beacons holiday this August bank holiday?
2. Pig Festival (France) – second Sunday in August
The annual Pig Festival (known locally a La Pourcailhade) is held in the charming town of Trie-sur-Baïse in south-western France. The celebrations involve pig races, sausage eating competitions and colourful pig-related displays. One of the most renowned (and amusing) competitions is “Le Championnat de France du Cri de Cochon” (“French Pig-Squealing Championships”), which encourages contestants to imitate the sounds that pigs make at various stages in their life. As you can probably imagine, this event is well worth a visit, especially if on holiday in France. Just don’t forget your costume for the ‘best pig disguise’ contest!
3. Monkey Buffet Festival (Thailand) – 25th November
Held in Thailand’s monkey capital, Lopburi (85 miles north of Bangkok), this festival invites hundreds of lucky Macaques to feast at an informal dinner party. An ode to the respect that Thai culture shows for these cheeky primates, the locals set up an all-you-can-eat feast for monkeys only – complete with tables and tablecloths. A sight that has to be seen to be believed, this surreal spectacle makes a great photo opportunity. Word of warning: Watch your belongings, these brave monkeys are notorious for grabbing bags, cameras and even jewellery!
4. Straw Bear Festival, (Whittlesea UK) – January
Dating back to the early 19th century, this festival features a weekend of celebrations and a dancing straw bear who wanders the streets! The Bear is led from house to house by his ‘keeper’ collecting donations and gifts. The journey of the straw bear is accompanied by weekend celebrations with traditional bands playing in public houses, a barn party and a large Cajun dance on the the Saturday night. Come Sunday lunchtime the bear costume is burnt to mark the end of the festivities.
5. Ivrea Orange Festival, (Italy) – February
Also called ‘Battle of the Oranges’, this fruit-filled occasion dates back to medieval times and is essentially a larger and juicier version of a food fight. The festival sees thousands of locals pouring out into the streets to throw oranges at each over a period of three days. Spectators can seek refuge behind the nets draped around buildings and those who aren’t afraid to get sticky and acquire a few bruises are free to head directly to the battlefield. An interesting experience, even if viewed from a safe distance!