Weirdest Tradition in Each State
41. South Dakota
> Tradition: Mashed Potato Wrestling Contest
> When: Early August
Since 1997, Clark, South Dakota, has played host to Potato Day each August. One of the highlights of the event is the mashed potato wrestling contest, held in a large pit filled with …. mashed potatoes.
> Tradition: Keeping live ducks in Peabody Hotel fountain
> When: Ongoing
The good people of Memphis are determined to keep live ducks in the fountain at the venerable Peabody Hotel. The tradition started in 1932 when the hotel’s general manager and his friend returned from a hunting trip and placed live duck decoys in Peabody’s fountain. Live fowl in the fountain proved to be a hit. Each day at 11 a.m., the ducks march to the fountain to the strains of John Philip Sousa’s “King Cotton March” and return to their rooftop residence at 5 p.m.
> Tradition: Massive bat takeoff
> When: Mid-August
Around mid-August, about 1.5 million bats that had been roosting underneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge take off at dusk each night. Bat pups are born in June and are nursed by their mothers until mid-August, when they are ready to fly off. The bridge is the largest bat colony in the world and became attractive to the winged creatures following a redesign in 1980 that created more crevices for them to roost.
> Tradition: Leaving love notes in the desert
> When: Any time
Utahns like to show their affection for loved ones by putting notes in the sand along Route 80. Notes can be written into the dirt or formed with rocks. Using the landscape to communicate is a western tradition. People craft giant capital letters by painting stones on hillsides near cities.
> Tradition: Naked Bike Ride
> When: June 9
Vermont, which has been more tolerant of public nudity than other states, has hosted several naked bike rides. A significant one is Montpelier’s observance of World Naked Bike Ride that is held toward the end of spring. The ride, which has been held since 2007, starts at the Freeride Bike Co-op and goes through the center of Vermont’s capital.