(Photo: Woolly Worm Festival)
Woolly Worm Festival
When: Oct. 20–21, 2012
Where: Banner Elk, North Carolina
For 35 years, the fuzzy Isabella tiger moth caterpillar has been the star of the Woolly Worm Festival in North Carolina's ski country. Locals use the worm's markings to predict the severity of the coming winter. At the festival, the caterpillar that wins a series of hard-fought races up three-foot lengths of string is the official weather forecaster. Tradition says that more black stripes predict a cold and snowy winter, while brown stripes indicate milder conditions. The competition is tough (around 1,000 entrants), but the owner of the woolly winner is rewarded handsomely (with a $1,000 prize). After cheering on your favorites, you can down a funnel cake, browse arts-and-crafts stalls, or enjoy live entertainment.
Don't Miss: The creative contestant names. "Patsy Climb" and "Dale Wormhardt" were among the competitors in years past.