Spring may be synonymous with flowers and warmer weather, but it’s also the time for festivals to start kicking off across the country. Nearly all states have art and music festivals, but these three unique events taking place in the South this April need to be on your calendar!
Interstate Mullet Toss
I know you read the headline and immediately thought of the infamous hairstyle! I secretly wish there was a festival dedicated to business in the front/party in the back, but alas, this festival is all about mullet fish. The Interstate Mullet Toss runs the entire weekend of April 22, 2022, at the Florida/Alabama line (affectionately known as Flora-Bama). Often dubbed as the “Gulf Coast’s Greatest Beach Party,” it runs for 3 days and even has award ceremonies.
At the center of the party is the indigenous mullet fish — the only fish to have a gizzard and legend says it has mystical powers. Contestants will throw a dead mullet fish across state lines and whoever gets the farthest, wins! There are several categories, including children 1–9 years old, teens, and adults, both separated by male and female. There are even celebrity toss competitions, so there’s no telling who will show up!
There is a small admission to the party: $10 a day for adults; $15 for 16–20 year olds; and those 15 and under are free, but can only stay until 6 p.m. when the party turns to 21 and over only. While this is definitely a wacky festival, the money is serious — all proceeds go to local charities in both states, mainly benefiting children.
Ay-Matey! Pirates unite at the annual PirateFest in Greenville, North Carolina during the weekend of April 8, 2022. The popular Tar Heel State event is in its 15th year, meaning they are very serious about pirates. The festival spans eight blocks on the banks on the Tar River and features the festival staples: live music, a beer garden, and food. But, no pirate adventure is complete without sword fighting in the street, mermaids, and a pirate parade.
The family-friendly event is free to attend, and promises to be magical and memorable. In fact, PirateFest promises a lot of “tomfoolery, so mark yer calendars!”
Lowcountry Strawberry Festival
This festival may not have a snappy name, but don’t discount it. The Lowcountry Strawberry Festival isn’t just about a delicious red fruit, it also has pig races, acrobatic dogs, and a princess pageant (for humans). Descending on Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, the Lowcountry Strawberry Festival spans 3 days over two weekends: April 8–10 and April 14–16, 2022. Mt. Pleasant is a suburb of Charleston.
Since its inception in the late 1990s, the festival only continues to grow in popularity and is now touted as one of the largest festivals in the Palmetto State. The family-friendly event consistently has live music, food, and carnival rides. New this year are balloon artists, magicians, and a comedy show. There’s also a Little Miss Berry Princess event and Mr. John Deere contest. And it’s not a strawberry festival unless there is a strawberry pie eating contest! Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids 3–11; carnival rides are an extra cost.
I am inclined to include an honorable mention spot for the first-ever National Hot Slaw Festival. Hot Slaw and Art Y’all will take place on April 9, 2022, in the small town of Cleveland, Tennessee (about 30 miles east of Chattanooga). It pays homage to a very popular side dish in town — hot slaw. And if you don’t know what that is, I suggest you plan a trip to eastern Tennessee!
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