Nothing puts a damper on an evening at the cottage like getting swarmed by mosquitoes. But in a Russian city, the pesky, blood-sucking insects are celebrated, and the more bites you have, the better.
Each year, the city of Berezniki hosts a mosquito festival that includes a mosquito hunt, where participants try to collect as many of the insects as possible in jars, and—believe it or not—a competition to see who receives the most mosquito bites after standing in the woods for 20 minutes.
“An expert panel of judges, including a doctor, will examine their bodies and the winner will be the one with the most bites,” organizer Natalya Paramonova told BBC News.
Although this year’s mosquito hunt was cancelled, due to the unusually hot and dry weather that depleted the region’s mosquito numbers, that didn’t stop organizers from hosting the mosquito bite competition.
According to a report by Global News, nine-year-old Irina Ilyukhina won the competition’s “tastiest girl” category, following a berry pick through the forest with her mother. The prize she received for walking out of the woods with 43 welts on her body? A ceramic cup.
The bizarre festival, which also features a woman dressed in a giant mosquito costume leading a “mosquito-themed” dance, is now in its fourth year. But if you think it’s crazy that the celebration has lasted this long, you’ll be even more surprised to learn that it’s not the only place that hosts one like it—the city of Clute, Texas, puts on The Great Texas Mosquito Festival every July. The events at this decades-old festival are a little different than the ones in Berezniki, but they’re equally wacky: there’s the Mosquito Chase 5K and a competition for the best-looking “mosquito legs.”
Sure, Canada is home to its fair share of outlandish festivals, but we don’t imagine we’ll ever see the country hosting something as wild as these ones.