CLOSE
Getty Images
Getty Images

8 Upcoming September Festivals and Events

Getty Images
Getty Images

Labor Day has come and gone, and the Coon Dog Graveyard Festival is over. But there are plenty of other things going on in the month of September, if you can get to them. Here are a few you might enjoy.

1. Great Outhouse Blowout

Photograph by Stephanie Mardis Weber.

The Penn's Store Great Outhouse Blowout and Race at Penn's Store in Gravel Switch, Kentucky will be September 14th. The event began as a dedication of the first outhouse at the store in 1992. The Outhouse 300 race draws entrants from all over the country. A racing outhouse must be a certain size and have a seat with a hole. Up to five people can push or pull the outhouse, but one person must be seated inside. The Outhouse Blowout also has musical performances, a car show, and an ugly legs contest (for men only).

2. Adirondack Balloon Festival

Photograph by Flickr user nick.cosimano.

The Adirondack Balloon Festival will happen September 19-22 in Glens Falls, New York. Thursday's events include the usual festival stuff: concerts, vendors, games, and fireworks. Then the festival moves to the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury, New York for seriously big balloon launches each day (weather permitting).

3. Kentucky Bourbon Festival

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival will run September 17-22 in Bardstown, Kentucky. The premiere competition at the festival is the World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay, in which a 500 pound barrel must be pushed with speed and accuracy. There are divisions for men, women, and teams. You'll also see barrel dancing during the race intermission. Other events include a historic tour, a ghost tour, the Bourbon tasting event, a hot-air balloon launch, a poker tournament, a scavenger hunt, and plenty of other events you won't find at "normal" festivals.

4. Great Gorilla Run

Photo credit: Getty Images.

London, England, is the site for the Great Gorilla Run. Every year since 2003, people dressed in gorilla suits run through the city, raising money to help protect the Mountain Gorilla. This year's run will be on Saturday, September 21st, celebrating its tenth year and over £1.9 million raised for central African charities.

5. Johnny Appleseed Festival

Photograph by Flickr user SomeHoosier.

The 39th annual Johnny Appleseed Festival will take place September 21-22 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The festival is to celebrate John Chapman, a missionary who introduced apple trees to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Chapman is buried in Fort Wayne. A large part of the festival is the living history area, with a military camp hosted by the 44th Indiana Civil War Historical Association, and a trappers and traders area, where festival volunteers reenact life in the 1840s. Craftsmen will be demonstrating their occupations, antiques will be displayed, and there will be plenty of apples to eat. In fact, all food vendors are required to prepare and serve food as it would have been made in the 19th century! That means no deep-fried bacon on a stick, but instead there will be caramel apples, chicken and dumplings, and delicious cider, among other treats.

6. The Aloha Festivals Floral Parade

The Aloha Festivals in Honolulu, Hawaii, have events scheduled through the month of September. The biggest of them, the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade, will be on September 28th, which should give you plenty of time to book a flight to Hawaii, but a hotel room might be hard to find: 100,000 people are expected to attend.

A colorful equestrian procession of female and male pā‘ū riders, extravagant floats with cascades of Hawaiian flowers, hula Hālau and marching bands will brighten Kalākaua Avenue from Ala Moana Park to Kapi‘iolani Park. This is a "must see" event! Free admission.

The Aloha Festivals were born in 1946 as a way of celebrating the culture of Hawaii.

7. Beef-a-Rama

Photo from Travel Wisconsin.

Minoqua, Wisconsin, hosts the annual Beef-a-Rama on September 27-28 this year. The festival started out as Fish-a-Rama in 1964, as a way to open the fishing season. It evolved from fish to beef to please the palates of festival attendees. Events include the Rump Roast Run (and the shorter Calf Mile), live music, a beer tent, a farmers market, a beef-eating contest, a parade, and a beef-roasting competition. There will be plenty to eat. Mostly beef!

8. The World Chicken Festival

The World Chicken Festival in London, Kentucky was named in honor of Kentucky Fried Chicken, which was founded in the same county (but not the same town). This year's festival is scheduled for September 26-29. Fried chicken is served from the World's Largest Skillet, which is over ten feet in diameter and requires 300 gallons of cooking oil. It can fry 150 chickens at once! Pictured is the annual Colonel Sanders Lookalike Contest. Don't think you can enter that one at the last minute, but there are plenty of other competitions and games at the festival. 

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Wolfgang via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
arrow
holidays
8 Legendary Monsters of Christmas
Wolfgang via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Wolfgang via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

The customs of the holiday season, which include St. Nicholas Day, New Years Day, and Epiphany, as well as Christmas, often incorporate earlier pagan traditions that have been appropriated and adapted for contemporary use. Customs that encourage little children to be good so as to deserve their Christmas gifts often come with a dark side: the punishment you'll receive from a monster or evil being of some sort if you aren't good! These nefarious characters vary from place to place, and they go by many different names and images.

1. KRAMPUS

As a tool to encourage good behavior in children, Santa serves as the carrot, and Krampus is the stick. Krampus is the evil demon anti-Santa, or maybe his evil twin. Krampus Night is celebrated on December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas Day in Austria and other parts of Europe. Public celebrations that night have many Krampuses walking the streets, looking for people to beat. Alcohol is also involved. Injuries in recent years have led to some reforms, such as requiring all Krampuses to wear numbers so they may identified in case of overly violent behavior.

Krampus may look like a devil, or like a wild alpine beast, depending on what materials are available to make a Krampus costume. In modern times, people can spend as much as they like to become the best Krampus around—and the tradition is spreading beyond Europe. Many cities in America have their own Krampus Nights now.

2. JÓLAKÖTTURINN

Jólakötturinn is the Icelandic Yule Cat or Christmas Cat. He is not a nice cat. In fact, he might eat you. This character is tied to an Icelandic tradition in which those who finished all their work on time received new clothes for Christmas, while those who were lazy did not (although this is mainly a threat). To encourage children to work hard, parents told the tale of the Yule Cat, saying that Jólakötturinn could tell who the lazy children were because they did not have at least one new item of clothing for Christmas—and these children would be sacrificed to the Yule Cat. This reminder tends to spur children into doing their chores! A poem written about the cat ends with a suggestion that children help out the needy, so they, too, can have the protection of new clothing. It's no wonder that Icelanders put in more overtime at work than most Europeans.

3. FRAU PERCHTA


Flickr // Markus Ortner

Tales told in Germany and Austria sometimes feature a witch named Frau Perchta who hands out both rewards and punishments during the 12 days of Christmas (December 25 through Epiphany on January 6). She is best known for her gruesome punishment of the sinful: She will rip out your internal organs and replace them with garbage. The ugly image of Perchta may show up in Christmas processions in Austria, somewhat like Krampus.

Perchta's story is thought to have descended from a legendary Alpine goddess of nature, who tends the forest most of the year and deals with humans only during Christmas. In modern celebrations, Perchta or a close relation may show up in processions during Fastnacht, the Alpine festival just before Lent. There may be some connection between Frau Perchta and the Italian witch La Befana, but La Befana isn't really a monster: she's an ugly but good witch who leaves presents.

4. BELSNICKEL

A drawing of Belsnickel.
Lucas, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Belsnickel is a male character from southwestern German lore who traveled to the United States and survives in Pennsylvania Dutch customs. He comes to children sometime before Christmas, wearing tattered old clothing and raggedy fur. Belsnickel carries a switch to frighten children and candy to reward them for good behavior. In modern visits, the switch is only used for noise, and to warn children they still have time to be good before Christmas. Then all the children get candy, if they are polite about it. The name Belsnickel is a portmanteau of the German belzen (meaning to wallop) and nickel for St. Nicholas. See a video of a Belsnickel visit here.

Knecht Ruprecht and Ru Klaas are similar characters from German folklore who dole out beatings to bad children, leaving St. Nicholas to reward good children with gifts.

5. HANS TRAPP

Hans Trapp is another "anti-Santa" who hands out punishment to bad children in the Alsace and Lorraine regions of France. The legend says that Trapp was a real man, a rich, greedy, and evil man, who worshiped Satan and was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. He was exiled into the forest where he preyed upon children, disguised as a scarecrow with straw jutting out from his clothing. He was about to eat one boy he captured when he was struck by lightning and killed—a punishment of his own from God. Still, he visits young children before Christmas, dressed as a scarecrow, to scare them into good behavior.

6. PÈRE FOUETTARD

The French legend of Père Fouettard, whose name translates to "Father Whipper," begins with an evil butcher who craved children to eat. He (or his wife) lured three boys into his butcher shop, where he killed, chopped, and salted them. St. Nicholas came to the rescue, resurrected the boys, and took custody of the butcher. The captive butcher became Père Fouettard, St. Nicholas' servant whose job it is to dispense punishment to bad children on St. Nicholas Day.

7. THE YULE LADS

The Jólasveinar, or Yule Lads, are 13 Icelandic trolls, who each have a name and distinct personality. In ancient times, they stole things and caused trouble around Christmastime, so they were used to scare children into behaving, like the Yule Cat. However, the 20th century brought tales of the benevolent Norwegian figure Julenisse (Santa Claus), who brought gifts to good children. The traditions became mingled, until the formerly devilish Jólasveinar became kind enough to leave gifts in shoes that children leave out ... if they are good boys and girls. 

8. GRÝLA

All the Yule Lads answer to Grýla, their mother. She predates the Yule Lads in Icelandic legend as the ogress who kidnaps, cooks, and eats children who don't obey their parents. She only became associated with Christmas in the 17th century, when she was assigned to be the mother of the Yule Lads. According to legend, Grýla had three different husbands and 72 children, all who caused trouble ranging from harmless mischief to murder. As if the household wasn't crowded enough, the Yule Cat also lives with Grýla. This ogress is so much of a troublemaker that The Onion blamed her for the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

A version of this post originally ran in 2013. See also: more Legendary Monsters

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Keystone/Getty Images
arrow
History
84 Years Ago Today: Goodbye Prohibition!
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
A huge queue outside the Board of Health offices in Centre Street, New York, for licenses to sell alcohol shortly after the repeal of prohibition. The repeal of prohibition was a key policy of Franklin Roosevelt's government as it allowed the government an opportunity to raise tax revenues at a time of economic hardship.
Keystone/Getty Images

It was 84 years ago today that the Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, repealing the earlier Amendment that declared the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol illegal in the United States. Prohibition was over! Booze that had been illegal for 13 years was suddenly legal again, and our long national nightmare was finally over.


A giant barrel of beer, part of a demonstration against prohibition in America.
Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Prohibition of alcohol was not a popular doctrine. It turned formerly law-abiding citizens into criminals. It overwhelmed police with enforcement duties and gave rise to organized crime. In cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis, the dismantling of breweries left thousands of people unemployed.


Photograph courtesy of the Boston Public Library

Homemade alcohol was often dangerous and some people died from drinking it. Some turned to Sterno or industrial alcohol, which was dangerous and sometimes poisoned by the government to discourage drinking. State and federal governments were spending a lot of money on enforcement, while missing out on taxes from alcohol.


New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach (right) watches agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of Prohibition.

The midterm elections of 1930 saw the majority in Congress switch from Republican to Democratic, signaling a shift in public opinion about Prohibition as well as concerns about the depressed economy. Franklin Roosevelt, who urged repeal, was elected president in 1932. The Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution was proposed by Congress in February of 1933, the sole purpose of which was to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment establishing Prohibition.


American men guarding their private beer brewing hide-out, during Prohibition.
Keystone/Getty Images

With passage of the Constitutional Amendment to repeal Prohibition a foregone conclusion, a huge number of businessmen lined up at the Board of Health offices in New York in April of 1933 to apply for liquor licenses to be issued as soon as the repeal was ratified.

The Amendment was ratified by the states by the mechanism of special state ratifying conventions instead of state legislatures. Many states ratified the repeal as soon as conventions could be organized. The ratifications by the required two-thirds of the states was achieved on December 5, 1933, when conventions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah agreed to repeal Prohibition through the Amendment.


Workmen unloading crates of beer stacked at a New York brewery shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.
Keystone/Getty Images

A brewery warehouse in New York stacked crates past the ceiling to satisfy a thirsty nation after the repeal of Prohibition.


Keystone/Getty Images

Liquor wouldn't officially be legal until December 15th, but Americans celebrated openly anyway, and in most places, law enforcement officials let them.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios