Did you know that every January / February, there is a huge pirate festival in Tampa, FL? I had no clue, but in reading an article about Party Across America, a book that highlights major annual events/festivals throughout the US , I heard about this insanity. During the Gasparilla Pirate Fest the Mystic Krewe sail into the Tampa harbor on their pirate ship, the mayor hands over the keys to the city, and a giant party commences. I need to add this to my travel plans in the coming years. Pirate festivals are hard to come by in a land-locked state.
So the author of the book took some time road tripping through America looking for these crazy-fun annual events...some of which have almost a cult-like following. The good news was that Colorado was well represented with activities like the Great American Beer Festival, Spring Back to Vail and the Tour de Fat. Then I checked back on my home states of WI and IL to make sure that the love was there. Taste of Chicago, check. Summerfest (one of my planned activities for July 09), check. There are always some states that aren't represented, and I thought that Iowa would be it.
I learned something new about fun things in Iowa (other than butter carvings at the State Fair). They have the RAGBRAI every summer. What does one do in a Ragbrai? Ride one's bike across the state of Iowa, that's what! It started in 1973 and about 110 did the entire event. Now the event is capped at 8,500 riders. Apparently other states have created events inspired by this, but I'm sure they don't have nearly as fun of a name.