The Quick Report

The Best Festival in Every State in the U.S.

The coolest part of living in a society instead of subsistence farming in a remote area is that you get to meet a lot of other people. And what better way to see a ton of new people than to attend a festival in your state? Here’s the best festival in each state in the US!

Alabama

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Believe it or not, Mobile’s Carnival celebration is older than the Mardi Gras party thrown in New Orleans. The Alabama version is also a bit more kid-friendly, so you can safely bring the whole family with you for this fun festival!

Alaska

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Anchorage, Alaska’s Fur Rendezvous, often called the “Fur Rondy” for short, is a ten-day event that takes place each February. This long running winter sports event hosts killer attractions like the World Championship Sled Dog Race and a massive auction.

Arizona

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In the 1930s, the Pueblo tribe revived an old Native American tradition known as hoop dancing. Not to be confused with hula hooping, which is a much newer trend influenced by Hawaiian culture, Pueblo hoop dancing is the main focus of Arizona’s World Championship Hood Dance Contest, which is held annually at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Arkansas

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What is there to do for fun in the small town of Emerson, Arkansas? Well, you can eat purple hull peas. They’re kind of like black-eyed peas and they grow natively in Arkansas! Emerson hosts a yearly Purple Hull Pea Festival that includes fun activities like a pea-shelling contest and a tiller race.

California

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Coachella is a massive music festival that takes place each year in the Indio desert. It’s so overwhelmingly popular that it’s held over two weekends to give the acts more room to breathe! If you love live music, you have to visit Coachella at some point in your life.

Colorado

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The Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a sprawling, three-day celebration of craft beer and everything that goes into the brewery scene. The festival includes taste testing and competitions among the participating breweries!

Connecticut

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Did you know there’s a festival for professional oyster shuckers? Every year, Connecticut’s Milford Oyster Festival gathers the best of the best to compete in shucking contests, and enthusiasts line up to try out oysters and listen to live music!

Delaware

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Dover isn’t the busiest town in Delaware… that is, until the Firefly Music Festival kicks off each year. It’s a three-day event with a calmer, more relaxed vibe than cousin festival Coachella. Enthusiasts particularly love the camping scene at Firefly!

Florida

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The biggest event in the world of fine art is Art Basel. Each December in beautiful Miami Beach, the four-day festival summons the upper crust of the contemporary art world for a huge showcase. Enthusiasts are welcome to attend, too, and they could catch a glimpse of stunning new works of art as well as celebrities and artists.

Georgia

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Atlanta, Georgia’s Food and Wine Festival is the coolest event you can hit up when you travel through the massive Southern city. Some of the best food in the South is on display at tents all around the city, and you can sample wines from wineries all across the country.

Hawaii

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Maybe every day in Hawaii feels like a festival, but the real event is the Aloha Festival that started in 1946. This classic event takes place in September around Honolulu and is a wide-ranging celebration of traditional Hawaiian culture. Between the live entertainment and local food, you’ll fall in love with the islands all over again.

Idaho

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The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho might seem like a strange fit. The massive celebration started in the 60s at the University of Idaho and has grown into one of the country’s foremost celebrations of everyone’s favorite genre of far-out music.

Illinois

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Lollapalooza started in 1991 as a traveling festival but eventually settled down in Chicago as its one and only venue. It’s a towering festival that hosts numerous A-list music acts and plays host to titanic crowds that fundamentally change how Chicago operates for a few days.

Indiana

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The Indy 500 is the racing event that gearheads and speed freaks wait for all year. Indianapolis makes the most of this beloved race by throwing the legendary 500 Festival, which now includes month-long events throughout May and a parade on the day of the big race.

Iowa

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Iowa’s state fair is more than your run-of-the-mill local festival. It’s a genuinely outlandish event that showcases bizarre food creations like pickle-flavored beer, deep-fried butter, and cookie dough spaghetti. It’s a strange world of anything-goes cuisine, and you’ve got to visit if you love unusual flavors.

Kansas

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This one might surprise you. The coolest festival in Kansas is Dodge City Days, a celebration of Kansas’s era as a frontier. The Old West themed event hosts a cattle drive, carnival, rodeo, and more! This is one reason to get into Dodge, for once! (And yes, Dodge City is the origin of this phrase—the place was rough back in the cowboy days.)

Kentucky

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If you’re even passingly interested in the sport of horse racing, you’re probably aware of the Kentucky Derby. The Derby Festival is a huge party that includes fireworks, a steamboat race, marathons, and plenty of live music. If you’ve ever heard people getting dressed up and excited about Derby Day, they’re probably more attached to the festival than the race.

Louisiana

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You knew this one before you even clicked on this article, didn’t you? New Orleans’ legendary Mardi Gras event is known worldwide for its stellar food, free-flowing drinks, and celebration of life and vibrancy. The colorfully painted floats, hand-thrown gifts to the crowds, and long tradition of splendor all make the event a can’t miss sight for any fan of parties.

Maine

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Anyone could tell you that the best lobster comes from Maine. So, it’s not surprising to find out that the state’s Lobster Festival is the biggest event in the far-north state. Every year, thousands of seafood connoisseurs converge in Rockland and take down tons and tons of the delicious crustaceans.

Maryland

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Artscape in Baltimore, Maryland is the biggest free art festival in the country. The event’s energy is wonderfully anarchic, with artists and vendors gathering for a celebration of the storied medium of visual art. Just make sure to stay hydrated during the event, as it takes place in July!

Massachusetts

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One of the foremost dance festivals in the country is Jacob’s Pillow, an annual event that spans two months and has one of the strangest names on this list. For the curious, it’s called that because a road near the event’s original location was called “Jacob’s Ladder” back in the 1700s.

Michigan

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What time is it? Tulip Time! No, really, that’s the name of Michigan’s coolest festival. The aptly named Holland, Michigan hosts the event each year, celebrating the Dutch heritage of the flower and town alike. Naturally, the event is more than just looking at tulips, as it includes parades and traditional Dutch food.

Minnesota

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Minnesota is known for its frigid winters, and, if you’re from Saint Paul, you know that’s reason to celebrate. Saint Paul’s Winter Carnival is one way the people in Minnesota pass the time during the coldest part of the year, including parades, treasure hunts, and the storied ice sculptures of Kellogg Mall Park.

Mississippi

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The town of Tupelo, Mississippi would like to once again remind you that Elvis Presley was born there. In fact, each year the town hosts the Elvis Festival, a celebration of the King of Rock that includes impersonators, tribute bands, and a 5K fun run.

Missouri

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Some festivals have straightforward names that tell you everything you need to know about them. That’s the case with the Fair Saint Louis in Missouri, a free three-day event that celebrates Independence Day with a huge party. Beyond just food and drink vendors and live music, everyone wants to be in St. Louis in time to see the amazing fireworks show.

Montana

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Montana feels like a state locked in time due to its stunning natural landscape and history as a haven for cowboys of the Old West. This reputation lives on in the Wild West Winterfest, a celebration in Red Lodge, Montana that sees would-be cowboys compete in the Skijoring Races. Skijoring, for those who have never seen it, is when you strap skis on and then have a horse or dog pull you around.

Nebraska

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The Nebraskaland Days in June showcase everything wonderful about the Cornhusker State, from rodeos to carnivals and everything in between. If you love live music and delicious Nebraska food, this is one event you don’t want to miss!

Nevada

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Here’s another one you’ve probably already heard of: the coolest festival in Nevada is Burning Man. Okay, Burning Man isn’t exactly a festival as much as it’s a temporary commune that pops up every year in the desert around Black Rock City. But, in a sense, it’s a celebration of art and, of course, a chance to burn a huge effigy.

New Hampshire

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There are a lot of Scottish descendants and immigrants in New Hampshire. Each year, Loon Mountain Resort hosts the Highland Games and Festival, a place for all those Scottish folks to gather and participate in classic activities like hammer-tossing, stone carrying, and, yes, playing the bagpipes.

New Jersey

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Jersey City’s LGBT Pride Festival is one of the biggest in the world and has been running since the 90s. Everyone is welcome at this massive multi-day event that celebrates everyone’s right to self-expression and identification. And that’s something to really be proud of!

New Mexico

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You might have seen photos of the truly astonishing Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s biggest celebration of hot air balloons. Interestingly enough, the event started innocuously back in 1972 as a party thrown by a small local radio station!

New York

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

There are more festivals in New York than you can shake a fin at, so let’s highlight the weirdest one: the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. That’s right, each summer, Brooklyn plays host to a huge parade of aquatic-themed floats carrying performers in unique and appealing merfolk costumes!

North Carolina

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The Carolina Renaissance Festival is one of the biggest and best in the country. You can get huge tankards of ale, giant turkey legs, and awesome pieces of hand-made armor. And, as you might expect, you can enjoy the jousting tournament while chowing down on some delicious food.

North Dakota

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The United Tribes Powwow sees over seventy Native American tribes gather to compete in song and dance contests broken into numerous categories. The event is open to the public, but make sure to follow proper powwow etiquette if you’re a visitor!

Ohio

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The Columbus Arts Festival is a huge event for artists and enthusiasts alike. It spans three days in June and sees free live music and tents loaded with delicious food cram in around the riverfront. And, of course, you can see some truly inspiring pieces of art during the event!

Oklahoma

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The Linde Oktoberfest celebration in Tulsa might sound a bit out of place. How German is Oklahoma, anyway? Don’t worry about it. What matters is that you can chow down on some bratwurst and wash it down with authentic German beer at this amazing event that celebrates everything awesome about Germany.

Oregon

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The Portland Rose Festival is a huge event for flower enthusiasts. Of course, if you’re not into growing your own roses, you can also enjoy the standard fair fare, like concerts, fireworks, carnival rides, and truly scrumptious local food from street vendors.

Pennsylvania

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The Mummers Parade in Philadelphia takes place on New Years Day each year and claims to be the oldest folk festival in the country. Mummers, a type of masked mime, make up a large portion of the parade and give it its name. Notably, the event has moved from Main Street to the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Rhode Island

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If you had a nickel for each jazz festival on this list that isn’t in Utah, you’d have two nickels. That isn’t a lot, but it’s pretty weird it happened twice. Anyway, Newport’s Jazz Festival hosts open-air performances and absurdly good local cuisine.

South Carolina

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Greenville, South Carolina knows how to throw some serious festivals. Arguably the city’s best showcase is Euphoria, an event that hosts Michelin Star chefs and some of the best food you’ll find, period. It’s not “good for the Southeast,” it’s just the best.

South Dakota

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South Dakota’s Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup is exactly as outlandish and Dakota-fied as it sounds. Interestingly, despite the buffalo’s previous status as critically endangered, Custer State Park can’t maintain their exploding population these days. As such, the roundup is important for population control!

Texas

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South by Southwest is Austin, Texas’s premier arts festival, as filmmakers and musicians gather to showcase their latest creations. These days, video games are also displayed during the festival! It’s basically a huge celebration of all things entertaining and creative.

Utah

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The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is one of the foremost film festivals in the world. This dazzling gathering of movie stars and directors will make even a casual filmgoer into a cinephile if they give it a chance.

Vermont

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Don’t tell us you didn’t see this one coming. The Vermont Maple Festival in St. Albans is the premier Vermont festival, and it couldn’t be more fitting for the state unless Ben and Jerry themselves pulled up in an ice cream truck to hand out sweet treats.

Virginia

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Do you love the beach? The Neptune Festival along the boardwalk in Virginia Beach defines the city’s activities in September. Huge crowds descend on the popular coastal destination to enjoy surfing contests, sand castle competitions, live music, and a downright stellar parade.

Washington

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The Issaquah Salmon Days event puts the tiny, remote fishing town on the map once a year. Issaquah has been celebrating its salmon hauls every fall since the 60s because they’re the main driver of its local economy. The Salmon Days event includes live music, carnivals, and a parade.

West Virginia

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If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump with them? That’s the core question at the heart of Fayetteville, West Virginia’s massive Bridge Day celebration. Don’t panic, everyone attaches parachutes or wingsuits to themselves before they BASE jump from Fayetteville’s iconic arched bridge.

Read More: The Most Iconic Food From Every State

Wisconsin

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In 1999, Summerfest in Milwaukee was declared the largest music festival ever held. It’s since been eclipsed by other festivals, but the twelve stages and huge headlining acts still make Summerfest the kind of event you want to see if you’re a fan of modern tunes.

Read More: The Most Haunted Place in Each State

Wyoming

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Rodeos! Live music! Cowboy stuff! If those words excite you, you need to visit Cheyenne, Wyoming during its Frontier Days festival. The ten-day blowout dates back to 1897, when the rodeo portion of the proceedings first debuted. It’s a great way to celebrate the state’s Wild West history.

Read More: The Weirdest Tourist Attraction in Every State