If you could use a good laugh or simply want to see how far people will go to look absolutely ridiculous, check out Tall Pines Campground during the week of July 12.
That’s when the 98-site Bainbridge, N.Y. campground celebrates its annual Hillbilly Week and Redneck Regatta, when campers make their arks, rafts and boats and see how far they can get down the Unadilla River before either sinking or encountering some other kind of hilarious mishap.
“People do tend to reserve their campsites early for that one,” said Gayle Bennett, the park’s owner.
Last year’s Redneck Regatta participants made a homemade raft with lawn chairs strapped to it. Others created their own pirate ship, while two ladies created their own watercraft using an old bathtub. Of course, some campers also try making boats out of cardboard. But Bennett has a few words of caution about that.
“Cardboard doesn't last that long in the water,” she said.
Tall Pines Campground, of course, is not the only campground offering wacky activities during the summer months. Across the country, family owned and operated campgrounds across the country are increasingly offering zany activities to help people unwind while having fun and memorable experiences with one another.
These include everything from watermelon seed spitting contests to hairy leg and ugly dress contests to backwards parades and wacky talent shows. Here’s a sampling of other zany events taking place at campgrounds across the country this summer:
– Jellystone Park in Greenfield Park, N.Y.: Father’s Day weekend activities include Dad’s Pie Challenge. Similar to the Newlywed game, dads are asked to fill out a questionnaire before the game. Then the questions are posed to dad's family members and dad's answers are read out loud. If dad gets an answer wrong, he gets a pie in the face. Actually, it's a pie tin filled with whipped cream. www.nyjellystone.com
— Jellystone Park at Yonder Hill in Madison, Me.: On Father’s Day weekend young campers will be invited to dress up dad in ladies’ attire for the annual Miss Jellystone Contest, with judging based on hairiest legs, brightest lipstick, most stylish hair, prettiest earrings and overall beauty; volleyball with father-son teams; and a steak barbecue with Yogi. www.yonderhilljellystone.com
— Hayward KOA in Hayward, Wis.: On July 5 this park will have its “Watermelon Olympics.” Campers will be able to see how far they can spit watermelon seeds. The record is 27 feet! Other activities include the watermelon disc throwing challenge and the fastest watermelon eating competition. www.haywardcamping.com
— Kansas City Jellystone in Lawrence, Kan.: On July 22 - 28 this park will have its “Wacky Week,” which includes a wide range of activities including wacky shirt and hat contests and a “Wacky Talent Show.” www.kansascityjellystone.com
— Lazy River at Granville in Granville, Ohio: On Sept. 20 this park will celebrate its “Topsy Turvy” weekend with reverse kickball, backwards relays and a dress backwards parade. www.lazyriveratgranville.com
— Jellystone Park in Eureka, Mo.: On June 3 - 9 this park will host pirate-themed activities. Campers can make pirate hook hands; search for the loot; make pirate flags; try their skills in a blindfolded obstacle course; make a pirate sword craft; engage in dunk tank games; and see a stunt show from Swords and Roses and an interactive skit involving pirates. www.eurekajellystone.com
— Meadville KOA in Meadville, Penn.: On Aug. 24 this park will have a “Juggler’s Weekend.” Campers will have a chance to learn how to juggle at a juggler’s workshop provided by Geoff Bach, who will also have a juggling show. www.meadvillekoa.com
— Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina in Newport Beach, Calif.: On June 15, July 20 and Aug. 17 this park will have cardboard boat regattas. Other summer activities include kids crafts, Karaoke contests, ice cream socials, guitar hero hours, teen pizza nights, card nights and outdoor movies on the beach. www.newportdunes.com
— Shelby Mansfield KOA in Shelby, Ohio: On Aug. 10 this park will have its “Crazy Fun Weekend.” Activities include a “Dress Up Weird” parade; a foam party; sumo wrestling; and KOA’s Got Talent contest. On Aug. 24, the park will have a “Brain Freeze Ice Cream Eating Contest.” Other events taking place on Saturdays throughout the summer include a Zumba exercise program for those 15 and over; adults only swimming; and a wine and cheese party. www.shelbymansfieldkoa.com
— Stoney Creek RV Resort in Osseo, Wis.: On July 26 - 28, this park will have its “Clown Fest Weekend,” when all of the park guests are invited to dress up in clown suits. Many of the guests make their own clown costumes. The park will have craft activities for children in the morning, followed by a parade in the afternoon. The park is also organizing a carnival clown festival to take place in the afternoon with carnival games. www.stoneycreekrvresort.com