Independence Day: Marshmallow fights to lobster racing, here are eight bizarre Fourth of July traditions
While we're are pretty familiar with the barbecues and fireworks, there are hot-dog eating contests, marshmallow fights and lobster racing that some communities follow to celebrate the national holiday
This weekend, the country will celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Fourth of July festivities call for celebrations of all kinds, be it extravagant or simple. Typically, it consists of barbecues, parades, and mandatory fireworks. And while we're are pretty familiar with these traditions, there are some communities that have an unusual way of celebrating the national holiday. Here are some of the weird, bizarre ad bewildering Independence Day traditions from around the country.
Coney Island, New York: Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest
Hot dogs are practically the must-have delicacy during national holidays across the nation, but in Coney Island, hot-dog eating is associated with a full-blown contest called 'Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest'. For over 100 years now, Nathan's Hot Dog Stand has been sponsoring the annual Fourth of July hot-dog contest. The tradition is apparently connected to proud display of patriotism, as the story goes, four immigrants in 1916 attempted to settle a dispute as to who was the most patriotic by setting a hot-dog eating challenge.
Kentucky: Computer Trap Shoot
In Kentucky, the Fourth of July tradition involves shooting old computers. Participants donate their out-of-use computers, and Kentuckians blow up every component of the computer with a gun. If you're a computer science major, this would be a great way to vent your tech-related frustrations. Computer Trap Shooting is such a seriously-observed tradition that two shooting ranges in the Daniel Boone National Forest have put up warning signs to not shoot TV sets and other electronic appliances.
Mescalero Apache reservation, New Mexico: Coming-of-age ceremony
The Independence Day celebrations in the Mescalero Apache reservation in New Mexico include a coming-of-age ceremony for teenage girls. These ceremonies are open to the public. On the first and last public segment of the ceremony, the girls run four times around a basket filled with sacred items of the creation, symbolizing the four stages of life set by their deity, the White Painted Woman. Each night, the girls, along with their godmothers and singers, enter the Holy Lodge or Ceremonial Teepee, where they dance and singers provide rhythmic beats with dear-hoof rattles. The reservation also hosts an annual rodeo on the Fourth of July.
Ocean Beach, California: Marshmallow fight
In Ocean Beach, California, the end of British rule is celebrated by hurling marshmallows at each other. In previous years, theses sticky fights have gotten more notorious, like in 2011, when more than 600 pounds of marshmallows were incorporated in this food fight. On an average, that means at least 39,000 marshmallows are chucked around, in the hot California sun, each year.
Bar Harbour, Maine: Lobster racing
While these are not as mainstream as fireworks or barbecues they've still gained a reputation as a unique way of celebrating Independence day. The city of Bar Harbour in Maine hosts annual Lobster Races, in which it brings out its locally sponsored pedigree lobsters and race them against each other. It's like a derby but for crustaceans, complete with bets and cheering. While these animals have no ideas as to what's going, it is hilarious to watch them either thither towards the finish line or run astray. However, the event is organized for a good cause and the proceeds go to charity.
Hailey, Idaho: Road Apple Roulette
Residents in Hailey, Idaho, come together to celebrate the Fourth of July by playing a game called 'Road Apple Roulette'. Participants buy squares out of 10,000 of the annual parade's path mounted atop horses that drop "road apples" or horse dung, along the way. If these "apples" land in the square that you bought, your name goes in a drum and you can win grand prizes. The proceeds go towards charity.
Bolinas and Stinson Beach, California: Tug of War
In Bolinas and Stinson Beach, every Fourth of July, the two towns basically reignite an old feud, pulling on a rope across the Bolinas Channel that separates them. There are competitions for both men and women.
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina: Parade of Boats
Murrells Inlet in South Carolina has a Fourth of July parade, like any other community, except for the fact that these are held in the local creek. Boats are decorated in flamboyant stars and stripes decorations and are a sight to behold for spectators. It begins at 5 pm, at high tide, and has been an annual tradition since 1984. In recent years, there have been as many as 125 registered boat entries for the parade, along with many more joining last minute.