Minnesota’s Most Bizarre Festivals


Will Sherry, Contributor

Minnesota is known for its beautiful lakes, friendly people, and cold winters. But did you know that the state is also home to some of the weirdest festivals in the country? From frozen turkey bowling to a celebration of all things spam, Minnesota has a festival for just about everything. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of Minnesota’s weirdest festivals.

  1. Frozen Dead Guy Days

Frozen Dead Guy Days is an annual festival held in Nederland, Colorado, but it has strong ties to Minnesota. The festival celebrates a man named Bredo Morstoel, who died in Norway in 1989. His body was cryogenically frozen and shipped to the United States, where it was kept in a shed in Nederland for several years. The festival features events such as a coffin race, frozen salmon toss, and a polar plunge. Visitors can also learn about cryonics and the process of freezing human bodies.

  1. The World’s Largest Ball of Twine Festival

Darwin, Minnesota, is home to the world’s largest ball of twine. The ball, which weighs over 17,000 pounds, was created by a man named Francis A. Johnson in the 1950s. The town celebrates the ball of twine every year with a festival that features food, music, and a parade. Visitors can also take a tour of the twine ball and learn about its history.

  1. Spam Jam

Spam is a canned meat product made by Hormel Foods, which is based in Austin, Minnesota. The town celebrates all things spam with a festival called Spam Jam. The festival features spam-themed food such as spam burgers and spam sushi. Visitors can also participate in a spam carving contest, where they create sculptures out of spam. The festival also includes live music and a parade.

  1. The Frozen Turkey Bowling Festival

The Frozen Turkey Bowling Festival is held every year in St. Paul, Minnesota. The festival involves rolling frozen turkeys down an ice rink and trying to knock down pins. The turkeys are donated to a local food shelf after the festival. The festival also features live music, food, and drinks.

  1. The Eelpout Festival

The Eelpout Festival is held every year on Leech Lake in Walker, Minnesota. The festival celebrates the eelpout, a type of fish that is known for its ugly appearance. The festival includes ice fishing, eelpout races, and eelpout-themed food such as eelpout chowder and eelpout on a stick. Visitors can also participate in a polar plunge and watch the coronation of the festival’s king and queen.

  1. The Lutefisk Festival

Lutefisk is a traditional Scandinavian dish made from dried whitefish that has been soaked in lye. The dish is often served with potatoes and melted butter. The town of Madison, Minnesota, celebrates lutefisk with a festival that includes a lutefisk eating contest, lutefisk toss, and lutefisk relay race. Visitors can also enjoy live music and a parade.

  1. The Waseca Sleigh and Cutter Festival

The Waseca Sleigh and Cutter Festival celebrates the history of horse-drawn transportation. The festival includes sleigh rides, horse-drawn carriage rides, and ice skating. Visitors can also watch a sled dog race and a snowmobile race. The festival features food, music, and a parade.

Minnesota’s festivals are not only weird but also a reflection of the state’s diverse cultural heritage. From Norwegian cryonics to Scandinavian lutefisk, Minnesota’s festivals celebrate the traditions and history of its communities.

Moreover, these festivals also provide a significant boost to the local economy. According to a report by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, festivals and events generate over $250 million in economic activity and support over 3,000 jobs in the state.

However, these festivals are not just about the economic impact. They also bring communities together, create a sense of belonging, and provide opportunities for people to showcase their talents and creativity.

In recent years, some of these festivals have faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many events were canceled, scaled back, or held virtually to prevent the spread of the virus. However, as the state emerges from the pandemic, many of these festivals are returning with new safety measures and precautions.

Minnesota’s weird festivals are not only a source of entertainment and economic activity but also a reflection of the state’s cultural heritage and community spirit. Whether you’re into frozen turkey bowling, lutefisk eating contests, or eelpout races, Minnesota has something for everyone. So, the next time you’re looking for something unique to do in the state, make sure to check out one of these weird festivals and experience the unforgettable charm of Minnesota.