PA is home to some of the weirdest and wackiest events you’re likely to find anywhere. Add a unique spin to your #PABucketList in 2024 with these 23 peculiar events.
1. Mummers Parade
Ring in 2024 with a Philadelphia New Year’s tradition, the annual Mummers Parade! Bring the whole family to watch more than 10,000 costumed performers of all ages parade down Broad Street. For more than 120 years, Mummers have prepared all year to put on their best, quirkiest, and most colorful shows. Don’t miss the best of the best Mummers brigades, who are judged at the Fancy Brigade Finale at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
When: Jan. 1
Cost: Parade is free; finale at the Philadelphia Convention Center is ticketed
2. Groundhog Day
Why wait to learn if there will be six more weeks of winter from your TV or a website? See Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow (or not!) live and in person with more than 30,000 fellow "Phil Phans” on Groundhog Day! The annual Groundhog Day celebration is just part of the fun because this small PA town hosts three days of festivities in honor of the beloved rodent’s special day. Although the main event is free (unless you want to purchase a VIP/Inner Circle Pass to get closer to the stage and all the action), you can participate in an array of ticketed activities to get your Phil fix including Lunch with Phil, Gobbler’s Knob Got Talent, and the traditional formal Groundhog Ball.
When: Feb. 1-3
Cost: Main event is free, but pre-event celebrations are ticketed
3. Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous
Watch more than 75 artists carve wooden masterpieces live at Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous. Marvel at the finished works and chat with the artists about their one-of-a-kind chainsaw carvings. This rendezvous offers lots of live music, entertainment, and tasty snacks to enjoy, along with the opportunity to purchase a carved work of art for your very own.
When: Apr. 24-27
4. 100 Nights of Taps
On summer nights in historic Gettysburg, hear the familiar notes of “Taps” every evening as the famous 24-note call is sounded in Gettysburg National Cemetery for 100 Nights of Taps. While not necessarily in the category of “unusual events,” listening to taps in the historic cemetery will definitely leave you with chills. After listening to the nightly bugle call played by local musicians, servicemembers, and veterans, stay for live performances of historical vignettes that change each night.
When: May 27-Sept. 2
5. Living Dead Weekend
It’s a weekend to die for celebrating all things George A. Romero and zombies during the Living Dead Weekend! Located at the filming location of “Dawn of the Dead,” this horror-fan convention features loads of zombie films inspired by the Living Dead series.
This year’s zombie-con will host three creepy cast reunions from “Creepshow,” “Creepshow 2,” and “Night of the Creeps!” Meet on- and off-camera celebrities from your favorite zombie films, tour movie locations, and attend exclusive parties and screenings with fellow horror movie lovers. If you’re seeking more scares after the weekend ends, take a three-day road trip packed with horror movie film locations on Pennsylvania’s Trail of the Living Dead.
When: Jun. 7-9
Cost: Price varies
6. Forest County Bigfoot Festival
Will you spot the elusive sasquatch at the annual Forest County Bigfoot Festival? Join the hunt for bigfoot with professional and casual enthusiasts in Allegheny National Forest. Be sure to take home cryptid keepsakes from more than 100 vendors selling bigfoot gifts and knickknacks.
When: Jun. 7-9
7. Rattlesnake Roundup
Slither down to Wyoming County for the annual Rattlesnake Roundup. Licensed hunters gather up Noxen’s slipperiest snakes for participants and spectators to enjoy! After you try your hand at wrangling a rattlesnake, learn about a snake’s roles in the local ecosystem from live reptile displays and cheer on local musicians and a parade. Don’t worry, snakes are never harmed during this event, and they’re always properly marked and returned to their original habitats.
When: Jun. 14-16
8. 38th Annual Sentimental Journey Fly-In
Former home of the Piper Aircraft planes, Lock Haven hosts this quirky annual event; it’s like a car show, but for planes! Airplane enthusiasts and pilots fly in from all over for the Sentimental Journey Fly-In. Marvel at the judged planes of different makes and models and stay for the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast.
When: Jun. 18-22
Where: Lock Haven
Cost: Price varies
9. Kecksburg UFO Festival
This small town in Pennsylvania beamed into the spotlight when a UFO was reported in the 1960s, and locals have been celebrating the Kecksburg UFO Festival ever since. Whether you believe in aliens or you’re extraterrestrial-curious, you don’t want to miss this three-day, family-friendly event! Snap a picture with the mysterious UFO monument, shop from local vendors, and compete in quirky contests.
Voted 2023’s Best Specialty Food Festival in the nation by “USA Today” (the third time it was won this coveted award), Picklesburgh promises a dill-icious good time at this pickle-themed festival in Downtown Pittsburgh! Pickle fanatics can enjoy all the pickled treats they can imagine, from fried pickles and pickle tots to pickled cocktails and shots. If you’re a truly diehard pickle lover, consider entering the pickle juice-drinking contest. Win and you will ascend to the coveted title of Mayor of Picklesburgh!
Squatchfest is a larger-than-life, family-friendly music festival in Kane. Try to spot the mysterious bigfoot himself or participate in the squatch-calling contest at this wacky music fest. The event also features festival favorites including food and beer trucks, kids’ activities, merch vendors, and fireworks!
When: Jul. 13
Cost: Price varies
12. National 19th Century Baseball Tournament and Festival
Take a trip back in time to see how baseball was played in Adams County in 1864 when it was called “base ball” at this homerun of an event. Using the same style uniforms and equipment and playing by the same rules and customs of the mid-19th century, clubs from all over the country come to town to compete in the Gettysburg National 19th Century Baseball Tournament and Festival. Order your free tickets online to take in a game or several, where balls must be caught bare-handed and the uniforms are wool!
When: Jul. 20-21
13. Elk Expo
Home to the largest free-roaming elk herd in the northeastern U.S., encounter these majestic beasts for yourself at the annual Elk Expo! Learn about PA wildlife at the many exhibits and seminars and take a quirky elk souvenir home with you. Enter to win the annual PA Conservation Elk Tag raffle, a hunting package that benefits PA’s Elk Country.
When: Jul. 27-28
14. Rain Day Festival
Splash your way and play in the rain at Greene County’s annual Rain Day Festival, the only outdoor event where festivalgoers are actually hoping for rain in the forecast. To date, it’s rained 118 out of 150 years... including in 2023. Don’t be afraid to get wet and enjoy fun activities including pageants, an umbrella decorating contest, and plenty of live music. Don't forget your raincoat!
When: Jul. 28-29
15. 20th Annual York County Pawpaw Festival
Did you know that the humble pawpaw grows right here in Pennsylvania? Get a taste of the largest edible fruit native to the U.S. at the 20th Annual York County Pawpaw Festival! This outdoor, family-friendly fall festival celebrates York County’s delicious pawpaw at the peak of the fruit’s ripeness. This fruitful festival has pawpaw fruit (both wild and cultivated varieties), pawpaw cookbooks, local food vendors, artisans, and tours of the local farm and pawpaw orchard.
16. Peanut Butter Festival
Celebrate jelly’s better half at the annual Peanut Butter Festival in Clarion County. Enjoy a family-friendly peanut butter parade and crowning of the Peanut Butter Queen! If you’re a foodie, try your hand at the peanut butter eating contest or cook-off. Throughout the weekend, enjoy classic festival activities including fireworks, local crafters and vendors, bounce houses, car shows, and delicious food.
Where: New Bethlehem
17. Hinkelfest Chicken Festival
What came first, the chicken fest or the egg fest? Find out at the annual Hinkelfest, a family-fun festival celebrating more than 30 years of all things chicken! Enjoy a wide variety of chicken delicacies, such as chicken wings, chicken cheesesteaks, chicken fried rice, chicken pot pie, and chicken noodle soup. Other festivities include carnival rides and games, a petting zoo, cooking contests, live music, and a craft show.
When: Sep. 13-15
18. 65th Ligonier Highland Games
No need to book a European trip because it’s easy to embrace all things Scottish at the 65thLigonier Highland Games. Promoting ancient Scottish traditions since 1959, you’ll feel like you’re in the Scottish Highlands when you hear bagpipes and ancient Gaelic singers as you enjoy traditional local and imported foods, artisan workshops, and sheep. The main event is a series of traditional Scottish competitions, including harping, highland dancing, haggis hurling, keg tossing, and children’s games for the “wee lads and lassies.”
When: Sep. 14
Cost: Price varies
19. 116th Flax Scutching Festival
Ever wonder how your trendy linen bed sheets or comfortable linen shirt was made? Almost every year since 1907, the annual Flax Scutching Festival has provided visitors an up-close look at the process of making linen from the flax plant. After watching the live demonstrations, dine on delicious homemade food, purchase unique crafts from local vendors, enjoy live music entertainment, and pay tribute to early Americana viewing antique farm equipment and historical encampments.
When: Sep. 14-15
Cost: $5; free for ages 12 and under
20. Goose Day Weekend
Groundhog Day isn’t Pennsylvania’s only quirky animal holiday, Juniata River Valley celebrates Goose Day weekend every year! The two-century-old legend says that if you eat goose on Sep. 29, you’ll attract wealth and prosperity for the coming year. This year’s festivities will be lit up by a Goose Day Drone Light Show. Embrace this unconventional tradition and lock in your luck year over year.
When: Sep. 27-29
Where: Juniata River Valley
21. 43rd Annual Pippinfest
Not to be confused with the Broadway musical “Pippin,” Fairfield’s Pippinfest means “apple festival” and celebrates its local harvest and heritage. In 1982, Pippinfest sprouted from a Pippin apple tree planted behind the Fairfield Inn, honoring the earliest type of apple tree brought from England and cultivated in the U.S. colonies. The Pippin apple was even grown by founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and now you can enjoy two days of apple-themed vendors, food, and crafts for the whole family.
When: Sep. 28-29
22. 40th Annual Dickens of a Christmas
See “A Christmas Carol” come to life at Wellsboro's annual Dickens of a Christmas Celebration. The historic downtown turns into a Victorian-era holiday market, with The Arcadia Theater and many local churches offering special performances celebrating Charles Dickens and Christmas. Stroll the streets of the downtown filled with vendors, costumed entertainers, and great food. Scrooge doesn't stand a chance against these merry festivities!
23. 14th Annual PEEPSFEST
Did you know the fan favorite PEEP is made right here in Bethlehem? At the end of every year, the sweet marshmallow PEEPS are celebrated at the two-day PEEPSFEST at the iconic SteelStacks. Rated among the best New Year’s Eve drops in the nation by USA Today Readers Choice awards, PEEPS fans from all over the country come to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the 400-pound, illuminated PEEPS Chick Drop at 5:35 p.m. at this super family-friendly event. Make the end of 2024 sweet with fun activities such as ice skating, photo ops, fireworks, and live entertainment. You can find other unique New Year’s Eve traditions in the Keystone State here.
When: Dec. 30-31
Visit our website to find more events to attend in 2024 on our website and follow us on Facebook, X (Twitter), Pinterest, Threads, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state.