Each U.S. state has its own history, a history that helped create and mold the state’s culture. Whether it is because of past events or influential people, each state also has traditions particular to that state.
Because they are so singular, these traditions may seem quirky, even peculiar, to outsiders. Regardless, states hold fast to these customs, even if they might seem odd — especially if there is a profit to be made.
24/7 Wall St. decided to take a look at these unique traditions by tracking down the weirdest in each state.
Some of these traditions revolve around holidays such as New Year’s Eve, Christmas, and the Fourth of July. Many towns in these states have put their own spin on these traditional celebrations.
To ring in the new year, folks in Idaho drop a gigantic potato. Traditional Christmas ornaments aren’t enough in Mississippi, where people embellish their holiday displays with decorations bearing a oceanic theme. In California, the Fourth of July is celebrated with a marshmallow fight in Ogden Beach.
Not surprisingly, some of these offbeat traditions involve food. West Virginia hosts a cook-off for roadkill. In Minnesota, folks hold a meat raffle.
Some of these traditions include races in which animals — not dogs or horses — compete against each other. Arizona plays host to ostrich racing. In Maryland, visitors can root for their favorite crustacean in the National Hard Crab Derby.
Though some places may balk at characterizing a particular custom as weird, many cities — perhaps taking a cue from our British cousins who embrace quirky customs and traditions — enjoy their offbeat description. For example, the cities of Portland, Oregon; Asheville, North Carolina; and Austin, Texas, have used the slogan of keeping their city weird on public buildings, signs, and bumper stickers as a way to boost tourism and commerce. Leave it to Americans to monetize weirdness.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed media sources, state and city websites, and cultural resources to determine a list of the weirdest tradition in each state. We looked at each tradition to assess its uniqueness in regard to the state as well as how unusual the tradition or custom is. Obviously, the peculiarity of a tradition is in the eye of the beholder. What is weird to one person is special to another.