Big cities may have glitz and glamour, but small town America has cornered the market on being incredibly strange. Small towns with bizarre names and claims to fame stretch across the country, showing off their collections of giant objects and hosting competitions for things you’d never believe people actually want to win. The odd things for which small towns in America are famous are as unique as the towns themselves. While some communities decorate their buildings with painted quilts, others model their entire architecture after that of another country. It’s a weird world out there — and these towns only scratch the surface.
Many of these weird claims to fame began as a way to increase tourism, but over time they became a defining feature of the towns and their residents. Vote up the quirkiest small town claims to fame, then pull out your atlas or your favorite map app and start planning your next road trip.
Eau Claire, MI: The Cherry Spitting Capital Of The World
Every year on the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, MI, the International Cherry Pit-Spitting Championship takes place. People come from all over to show off their projectile skills. In 2004 Brian "Young Gun" Krause set a record for spitting a cherry pit more than 93.5 feet during the competition.
The International Cherry Pit-Spitting Championship is an all-day affair that begins at 10 AM, so if you want to go the distance you better make sure your jaw is in shape.
Marfa, a town so entrenched in West Texas it's almost Mexico, became an instant art hub in 2005 when artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset installed a replica Prada store along Highway 90. With the help of the Art Production Fund, a group helping to create public art, the store was built with the hope it would slowly fall apart in the middle of the Texas desert.
At the time, Yvonne Force Villareal of the Art Production Fund told the New York Times, "If someone spray-paints graffiti or a cowboy decides to use it as target practice or maybe a mouse or a muskrat makes a home in it, 50 years from now it will be a ruin that is a reflection of the time it was made." However, the duo have had to maintain a semblance of upkeep due to overzealous vandals, and at least one thief.
Austin, MN: The Hometown Of SPAM
Are you or someone you know obsessed with SPAM, that inexpensive tinned meat product that's been feeding people since 1937? If so, you need to go to Austin, MN. Here you'll find a museum, paid for by Hormel, dedicated to all things SPAM.
You'll learn how SPAM was created, how it's manufactured, and you can even find a history of the cans that have housed SPAM over the decades. If you'd like to spice up your recipes, you can also attend an on-site cooking demonstration at "Chez SPAM."
Dublin, OH: Cornhenge
Dublin, OH, is a quintessential small town in the Midwest. It has a large Irish population, as well as a major obsession with golf — but that's not what makes the town so interesting. In 1994, sculptor Malcolm Cochran created a field of 109 concrete ears of corn that each stand over six feet tall.
After its construction, locals weren't crazy about what they referred to as "Cornhenge," but it's pretty cool looking and definitely worth a look if you're passing through central Ohio.