Biggest Wildest Fall Festivals In The World

Image of Spain's La Tomatina festival.

My favorite collection of fall festivals from around the world.  These are most of the biggest and some of the most unique festivals.  All were chosen based on popularity and overall experience.  Experience these events at least once in your life.

La Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Valencia, Spain

Imagine 150,000 tomatoes and the biggest food fight in the world.  La Tomatina is a one hour food fight held annually on the last Wednesday of August.  In 2014 it takes place on August 27th with people trying to climb a tall greased pole in the center of town.  Everyone is singing to music and dancing.  Once someone makes the climb the trucks bring in the tomatoes and the food fight begins in earnest for one hour.  The party continues the rest of the day.  Nothing quite like it in the world on this giant a scale.

Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago, Illinois

Lights at Lollopolooza Music Festival in Chicago
Lollapolooza Music Festival in Chicago. photo [Christopher eden]
Join 200,000 people in Chicago for Lollapalooza on August 1st through 3rd, 2014 .  Eminem, Lorde, and Zedd headline Friday’s lineup with over 30 bands scheduled to play.  Saturday features Outkast, Calvin Harris, and Foster the People on center stage.  Another spectacular assortment of bands play throughout the day.  Sunday closes out with Kings of Leon, Skrillex, and The Avett Brothers following an all star lineup playing during the day.  Grant Park on the lake in downtown Chicago is the perfect venue for this world famous event.

Burning Man festival takes place annually at Black Rock Desert.


Image of man standing on spaceship at Burning Man Festival in Nevada.
Burning Man Festival in Nevada. photo [mack reed]
Every Labor Day weekend the desert in Northern Nevada comes alive for the week long Burning Man event.  Dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and more than a little decadence.  They actually build lots of sculptures including a 40 foot tall man they burn at night.  Over 70,000 people are expected this year.  Watch the huge art project built across the dry lake bed.  You will be fascinated by many of the 600 mutant vehicles which put the Max Max movie vehicles to shame.  Also gaze at the various temple projects that are built.  In fact a whole city is built and removed at the event.  Expect lots of nudity and self expression at this event.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta October 4-12, 2014

Image of six hot air balloons against a blue sky.
Visit a hot air balloon festival this fall. Great fun for the whole family. Photos at depositphotos [mblach].
Balloon festivals are some of my all time favorite events.  The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the world’s biggest hot air event.  Read my article “Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Starts October 4th” about this festival at Funtober.

Oktoberfest Munich is the largest festival event in the world.

Image of inside the large Hippodrom Beer tent at Munich Oktoberfest.
Hippodrom Beer Tent at Munich Oktoberfest – depositphotos [sepavone]
Oktoberfest started in Munich as a German wedding celebration.  Today it is the largest festival of any kind in the world.  Over 6 million people crowd the beer tents and fairgrounds each September for this 3 week event.  Funtober has over 100 pages of Oktoberfest information including our “15 Tips to Enjoying Oktoberfest in Munich” and our guide to “Most Famous Beer Tents in Munich“.

Watch Cannons Shoot Pumpkins at World Championships in Delaware

Image of cannons shooting pumpkins at world championships.
Cannons at World Championship Punkin Chunkin. photo courtesty

Watch cannons shoot pumpkins over 4000 feet at Dover International Speedway.  New location this year for the World Championships of Punkin Chuckin.  Over 100 cannons and catapults hurl pumpkins.  Food refreshments and a whole lot more.  Read out post on this Punkin Chuckin event.

Village Halloween Parade in NYC Attended by Two Million People

Image of dancers at NYC Village Halloween Parade.
Village Halloween Parade in NYC. photo [peanutian]
Greenwich Village NYC comes alive every Halloween {October 31st}.  Over two million people view some 60,000 participants on parade in costumed outfits.  Music, dance, costumes, and lots of fun make this one wild party.  As the night extends the party gets wilder.  Not necessarily recommended for young children toward the end of the night. When two million people have a party you know it will be crazy.

San Sebastian Hosts Wild Running of the Bulls Festival

Image of San Sebastian running of the bulls.
Spain’s San Sebastian hosts Running of the Bulls. photo [kozumel]

San Sebastian hosts the second largest Running of the Bulls festival in the world.  The festival takes place annually including August 25-31, 2014.  It start almost 500 years ago.  Spain appears to offer lots of crazy festivals.  The more popular Pamplona event was made famous by Hemingway.  Just as exciting is this San Sebastian event that also runs through the streets.  I always thought they only ran once but I was wrong.  They have “runs” on each day of the festival.

More Wild & Crazy Festivals

Amsterdam – Gay Pride Parade July 26 to August 3, 2014

  • Over 300,000 people celebrate gay pride throughout the city.  The highlight is the canal parade.

Japan – Obon Festival – Festival of the Souls August 13-15, 2014

  • A 3 day Buddhist festival to honor the souls of one’s ancestors.

Key West, Fl – Fantasy Fest October 17-26, 2014

  • Started in 1979 to attract tourists the festival now gets over 100,000 attendees to this small island.

Salem, MA – Halloween Festival of the Dead

Keene, NH – Keene Pumpkin Festival October 18, 2014

  • Celebrated for twenty four years and now over 30,000 people attend this one day festival.

India – Diwali Festival of Lights October 21-25

  • A religious celebration of floating lights on the water.

Mallorca, Spain – Grape Throwing Festival September 27th

  • A simple harvest festival with no greater purpose than throwing grapes.

Mexico City, Mexico – Dia de los muertus – Day of the Dead

  • Celebrated in Mexico City this festival is one of many across Mexico that runs from October 31-November 2, 2014.

Pushkar, India – Pushkar Camel Festival October 26th-November 4th

  • The Indian tribes bring some 11,000 camels plus horses to this meeting for up to 14 days.

NYC – Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade November 27th

  • The largest Thanksgiving parade in the world and the official start of the Christmas selling season.

El Salvadore – Balls of Fire August 31, 2014

  • The city was moved following a volcano.  Now the 100 year old festival tosses fire balls to celebrate.  The colorful event features music, dance, and colorful fire coated balls.

Las Vegas NV – Star Trek Convention  July 31-August 3, 2014.

  • The Rio Las Vegas hosts this Star Trek Convention.  Always one of the largest.  These conventions by fans actually kept Star Trek alive before the movies started almost 20 years after the TV show was cancelled.  All the popular stars will be there.  Of course wear your costume.

Austin, TX – Austin City Limits October 3-5 and 10-12, 2014

  • Eminem, Pearl Jam, Outkast and a hundred other bands highlight this over the top music festival.

Monterey, CA – Monterey Jazz Festival September 19-21, 2014

  • Largest jazz music event in the world with 500 artists playing on 8 stages.

London, UK – Notting Hill Carnival August 23, 2014

  • A huge celebration with all the sights and sounds of Calypso music and Caribbean style atmosphere.

Seattle, WA – Bumpershoot August 30-September 1, 2014

  • Celebrating all types of music, film, theatre, and comedy.  Hundreds of artists perform before many thousands.

Buenos Aires, Argentina – International Tango Festival August 13-26, 2014

  • DWTS was never like this.  Thousands of dancing couples perform on stages and in the streets.

These are some of the biggest or wildest festivals and events in the world.  There are bigger.  There may be wilder events.  But these are my favorites and provide a variety.  In terms of size, many of the Oktoberfest events such as Kitchener-Waterloo (Canada), Blumenau (Brazil), Cincinnati (Ohio), and Cannstatter Volksfest (Germany) should make our list.  I even left off New Orleans VooDoo Fest.  I may need to write another post about the wildest events alone because there are so many.  How about strange and bizarre events?  Left me know if you want posts on these.

Funtober has information on thousands of festivals, hundreds of Oktoberfest events,, Labor Day Festivals and Halloween Fun.


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