So you’re lining up the summer festivals you plan to attend before you blink twice and it’s Labour Day already. From Vancouver’s Spot Prawn Festival to Drummondville’s Festival de la Poutine to PEI’s Wild Blueberry Festival — most Canadian summer fairs are based on food. Most but not all.
Besides a whole bunch of bathtub races, highland games and fishing derbies, there’s the Accordion Extravaganza in Edmonton, which for three days attracts tens of thousands of music lovers … to Calgary!
Buzzard’s Restaurant in Calgary is home to this summer’s Testicle Festival, where visitors will be served prairie oyster fritters and bacon-wrapped “tendergroin.” When the Royal Couple visited the Calgary Stampede in 2011, they introduced an all-new testicle tasting called — I’m not making this up — “The Crown Jewels.” At the cowboy bar called Buzzard’s also known as “The Cajones Club,” sissies will be roughed up at the door.
Calgary will also host the International Festival of Animated Objects. It mostly stars puppets and stooges, but some members of the Canadian senate will also be featured this year.
If eating the deep-fried reproductive organs of an uncastrated member of the ox family gives you indigestion, do I have a festival for you. Gas Fest.
Just down the lake from me in the sleepy village of Selkirk, Ontario, from Aug. 9 – 11 , residents will celebrate the sudden emission of wind from one of two anatomically-disturbed gas wells. At Gas Fest, an audible eruption at both ends gets you crowned Grand Marshal Of Alka-Seltzer & Kaopectate Parade. The Brits call this feat “the double collywobble.”
Actually, Gas Fest features none of the above and instead celebrates the town’s early exploration of natural gas. Kicked off by a church BBQ, the fair offers arts, crafts, beach volleyball and a baby contest in which the winning burp will be measured on a sound meter in nearby Cheapside.
Hundreds of Elvis Impersonators will once again descend on Collingwood, Ontario, where crotch grabbing and hip thrusting will be tolerated for the entire three days of the festival but organizers warn that some lips may become permanently curled up.
Weird is the only word for Islendingadagurinn. That’s the Icelandic Festival in Gimli, Manitoba, which sees a maid of the mountain (Fjallkana) crowned the queen and the demonstration of Icelandic warfare tactics since 1924. Iceland prides itself in never having been successfully invaded for the past 90 years due mainly to the strategy of inviting the enemy over for a dinner of hangikjot and lavfabravo. United Nations crime investigators are looking into reports that some prisoners of war were served kutmagar.
The Fibre Arts Festival in Gibson’s Landing, British Columbia, will feature seminars in crocheting, quilting, weaving, felting and spectators nodding off by the hundreds. Faced with dwindling attendance, organizers plan to add “Indiscriminate Binge Drinking” to this summer’s program.
Canada you say, a country with strange summer celebrations? The East Coast Garden party where they drink Mooseland Beer, eat cod tongues and dance to East Coast Celtic bands is held in … Grande Prairie, Alberta. That may be great “craic,” as they say in Newfoundland, but it’s also bad geography. Trauma experts will be available to work with hung over Newfies who wake up watching a rodeo.
Up in the Yukon at Watson Lake, locals will be guiding tourists on walks through the Forest of 70,000 Signs. In 1942, an American soldier posted a board showing the distance to his home in the United States and the signs have just kept going up. People passing through the forest are encouraged to nail their own signs to a tree. At 70,000 signs, mine would be a “STOP” sign.
And finally, the greatest summer “heat beater” of all time — Nudestock North.
You may not have been at Woodstock and your dog may not have attended Woofstock, but you and your birthday suit are more than welcome at a “naturalist camp” at Puslinch, just north of Toronto. Motto: “Grin and bare it all.” The nudist camp is called Ponderosa and no — for all the hijinx those crazy Cartwright boys got up to — Hop Sing could not have seen this one coming.
This year’s attendees will attempt to break last summer’s record — I did mention I’m not making this up — of 277 naked people in the swimming hole at the same time. It’s call the “Skinny Dip Challenge.” To keep this fair from taking an ugly turn and being renamed “Goose Fest,” the hands of all wading nudists must be above the water at all times.
So get out there and enjoy it all. Summers have never been so hot or so strange.