From hobo enthusiasts to cheese rolling and toe wrestlers, there’s no shortage of bizarre events happening all around the world. And believe us, some of these weird conventions, championships or competitions are so insane we had to double check to make sure they actually exist.
The International Mister Leather Competition (IML)
A convention where attendees celebrate and explore the leather subculture, including BDSM and fetish activities. A tradition that started 40 years ago is holding strong and they even have a contest, with the best guy dressed in a leather getup winning the top prize.
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The Annual Air Guitar World Championships
A convention where participants perform with imaginary guitars and compete for prizes. Common genres are rock and heavy metal since they involve a lot of facial expressions, head swirling and impressive guitar skills.
The World Conker Championships (WCC)
The annual World Conker Championships is a convention where participants compete in a game where they hit each others conker (a type of nut) with a string. It may sound kinda nuts – pun intended – but this started as a venture to raise money for those who are visually impaired. Since its origin, in 1965, they managed to raise over £420,000 for charity.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake
If you love your cheese, this event where participants roll a wheel of cheese down a hill and chase after it should be on your list. It’s a mix of weird and fun, prone to accidents 100% and you get to win some cheese, as it was implied.
The Annual Mooning of the Amtrak
Laguna Niguel, California, USA
The hint is right there in the name: people gather to moon passing Amtrak trains. Apparently it started in 1979 when someone offered to buy a free drink for the one who mooned the passing train and years later it’s a tradition.
National Hobo Convention
Britt, Iowa, USA
A convention for hobos and those interested in hobo culture. Taking place on the second weekend of every August since 1900, it consists of hobos, rail-riders, and tramps gathering up to celebrate the American traveling worker. Some of the events that take place include Hobo 5K & Hobo 10K Walk/Run, Hobo Auction, Hobo Memorial Service, Hobo Classic Car Show, and the Hobo Arts and Crafts Show.
World Toe Wrestling Championships
Wetton, Staffordshire, England
Participants compete to see who can pin down their opponent’s toes. They start with the right foot, then left, and right again if necessary, best 2 out of 3 wins.
Marlinton, West Virginia, USA
For starters, this might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Here we have a convention where participants cook and serve dishes made from animals found dead on the road.
Sugar Baby Summit
Various locations around the globe
If you’re interested in the “sugar baby” lifestyle, where younger people enter into romantic relationships with older, wealthier individuals, give this one a go.
The International Hair Freezing Contest
Takhini Hot Springs, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
A competition which sees participants competing to create the wildest and most creative hairstyles by freezing their hair in extreme cold weather, all while sitting in a hot spring.
The Great World Championship Bathtub Race
Nanaimo, Vancouver, Canada
A convention where participants race in bathtubs through a watercourse. It’s wacky, exciting and just a tinsy bit on the weird side.
The Annual MerCon
South Haven, Michigan, USA
A convention for mermaid enthusiasts, featuring workshops, performances, and other activities. Attendees, being them male or female, dress up as mermaids and participate in underwater activities.
International Cherry Pit-Spitting Championship
Established initially in Eau Claire, this is a no-brainer: participants compete to see who can spit a cherry pit the farthest distance. There’s even a world record for this, 110 ft 3.5 in (33.62 meters).
The International Frog Jumping Contest
Calaveras, California, USA
Dating back to, since 1928, this bring-your-own-frog to compete in jumping competitions is not as easy as it may sound. You have to encourage your frog to jump in order to cross the finish line first. And this involves yelling, blowing in its direction, dancing, doing whatever it takes as long as the rules allow it.
National Taxidermists Association Convention
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA
Taxidermy enthusiasts showcase their creations, learn new techniques, compete for prizes and even bet a ton of money at the auction.
Somehow in line with the previous event, here we again have animal lovers. In this case, people dress up as anthropomorphic animals and attend this event full of weird costumes, performances and artwork.
The World Gurning Championships
A convention where participants contort their faces to create the weirdest and funniest expressions. A childhood pastime might see you crowned the big winner so go for it.
El Colacho Baby Jumping Festival
Castrillo de Murcia, Sasamón, Burgos, Spain
Yes, a baby jumping event… A convention where men dressed as the devil jump over babies lying on the ground as a way to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi. This somehow feels like a hazard to us…
International Festival of Worm Charming Competition
A convention where participants compete to see who can attract the most earthworms to the surface. Voted “Europe’s Most Unmissable Festival”, it requires zero experience and it offers a lot of other activities, granted way more common than this: a dog show, a football tournament and a beer and music festival among others.
The Annual World Pillow Fighting Championship
A championship where participants compete in a pillow fighting tournament.
BronyCon, an honorable mention
A now defunct convention for fans of the animated television show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” the attendees, who are mostly adult males, used to dress up in costumes of their favorite characters.
That was our list of weird conventions. If there’s a handful of people sharing the same interest, no matter how weird or uncalled for, the chances of being a convention, festival etc to celebrate it are real. Do your research, find your crowd and enjoy the ride.
What? No strange candy convention? With so many weird candy from around the world? Too bad. Anyway, do yourself a favor and check out these yummy candies.
Watch 21 Weird Conventions: Strange Hobbies Bringing People Together
What is the most unique festival?
Plenty to choose from. Here are our picks:
World Bodypainting Festival in Austria
Boryeong Mud Festival, South Korea
Underwater Music Festival, Florida
What is the most colorful festival in the world?
It would probably be Holi in India. It honors the beginning of spring and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. Filled with vibrant colors and happiness, this is one of the most unique and colorful festival out there.