Interstate Mullet Toss
Date(s): April 28–30, at the Flora-Bama, the the iconic party bar straddling the state line between Florida and Alabama.
411: If you’ve never been to Flora-Bama, then you need to go. Stat. And there’s no better time than the last weekend in April, when they stage the annual Interstate Mullet Toss. While the word ‘mullet’ may conjure up images of a regrettable ’80s hairstyle, the mullets that get tossed here are fish. (Though plenty of the 40,000-plus revelers who show up do sport complementary mullet haircuts for the occasion.)
The contest is simple: from a 10-foot circular launch area in Florida, contestants toss the mullets across the state line into Alabama, longest toss wins. No gloves allowed, and champions are crowned in age groups from 1—really!—to over-70.
Highlight(s): The glories of the Mullet Toss are many, from the come-one, come-all nature of the event to the sensational Gulf Coast location to that one guy who competed in a lime-green, over-the-shoulder banana hammock. But topping the list is the fact that it’s all for a good cause: Flora-Bama contributes more than $20,000 in Mullet Toss proceeds to local charities each year.
Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest
Date(s): May 17–20. This year’s contest is the 40th edition of the event, and the competition is being expanded from three to four days.
411: Spring celebrations wouldn’t be complete without one that involves stuffing your face. The annual Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest fills—literally—that bill. The secret to really enjoying this contest is purchasing a ticket for the Kingsford Tour of Champions. This allows you to sample barbecue and judge it (otherwise, teams aren’t allowed to serve food to the public). You’ll also get tours of competition tents, be able talk to the teams, and maybe learn a few tricks of the trade.
Highlight(s): The “Ms. Piggy Idol” competition, in which BBQ teams get on stage and sing or perform skits—with one of their members dressed as Ms. Piggy; the eyebrow-raising headquarters built by team members, some of which are three stories high, contain full bars, and are soundtracked by DJs; oh, and all of the delicious, succulent barbecue on hand.
Sasquatch Music Festival
Date(s): May 26-28. Founded in 2002, the Sasquatch Festival is part of the recent wave of regional (as opposed to touring) music festivals.
411: The Sasquatch Festival is your best bet if your musical tastes transcend all-EDM, all-the-time. Held in the 27,500-seat Gorge Amphitheatre, alongside the Columbia River, the event features one of the more picturesque concert locations you could ask for. Add headliners Chance the Rapper, The Shins, and Aesop Rock, along with comedians such as Fred Armisen and Sasheer Zamata, and this epic weekend is well worth the trip.
Highlight(s): Beyond the stunning location and diverse roster of quality acts is the fact that you can camp at the nearby Gorge Amphitheatre Campground for the whole weekend. Camping passes are good for one vehicle and up to six people.