World’s Biggest Carved Pumpkin Is a Tribute to Zombies

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Life-size zombies crawling out of a 1,800-pound giant pumpkin? You have to face it, Halloween carved pumpkins don’t get a lot cooler than that.

A crowd of Halloween fans gathered at the New York Botanical Garden, the other day, to see pumpkin-carving master Ray Villafane work his magic on the world’s biggest pumpkin. Ray, an established artist known also for his incredible toy and sand sculptor, had something special in mind for this year’s event, and it’s safe to say zombie fans were pleased with his idea. He used two of the largest pumpkins from this year’s harvest, one of them a record-holder, to create a creepy scene featuring zombies covered in pumpkin guts crawling out of a giant squash. Ray spent hours painstakingly carving his undead work of art, but his efforts were generously rewarded with cheering and clapping.

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Canadian Globetrotter Completes 11-Year Walk around the World

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After walking an amazing 75,000 kilometers across the globe, 56-year-old Jean Beliveau completed his 11-year global trek and returned to his native Montreal, where he was greeted by family and friends.

With a crowd cheering him on as he crossed a bridge into Montreal last Sunday, Jean Beliveau hurried to meet the mother he hadn’t seen for 11 years, his loving and supporting girlfriend and two children. It was an emotional reunion that Beliveau could only describe as “amazing”. More than 100 locals showed their support for his effort by walking the last kilometers with him, through the streets of Montreal. The former neon-sign business owner has recently completed the world’s longest walk around the world, a journey that took him through 64 different countries and offered unforgetable experiences.

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French Chocolatier Organizes Chocolate Boat Regatta

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Thousands of people gathered on the banks of the Odet River, in Quimper, western France, to see seven chocolate boats competing in the sweetest regatta ever.

Georges Larnicol first made headlines last year, when he managed to sail in a 1.2-tonne-heavy chocolate boat, in Concarneau port. Now the 56-year-old master chocolatier, who owns a dozen shops throughout western France, has taken his passion to a whole new level by creating seven functional chocolate boats and showing them off to the world during a race. All of the boats were made of melted unsold chocolate, measured two-meters-long and weighed around 450 kilograms, each. The boats only had room for one sailor, who had to use chocolate oars to steer it to the finish line.

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The Tipat War of Bali Is What I Call a Real Food Fight

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Every year the men of Kapal Village, in Bali, celebrate the rice harvest by throwing rice cakes at each other in one of the largest traditional food fights in the world.

Also known as the Aci Rah Pengangon ritual, the Tipat War is preceded by a collective prayer in the inner court of Kapal Village’s Pura Desa (the village temple). Here local men give thanks for the bountiful rice harvest and relax before the upcoming food massacre. After praying, dozens of bare-chested men start the first rice cake fight right in the middle of the temple courtyard. They are divided into two groups and throw tipat (cooked rice wrapped in a square shaped woven coconut leaf) at each other. This fight lasts for only five minutes and is a preliminary event to the full-scale war that is about to take place in the village street outside the temple.

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World Egg Throwing Championships – An Egg-centric Competition

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One of the wackiest competitions in the world, the annual World Egg Throwing Championships held in Swaton, England feature a variety of events, all having to do with smashed eggs.

According to the World Egg Throwing Federation website, egg throwing is a local tradition inspired by historic events that occurred in the 14th century. It’s believed the ancient village of Swaton has stood on theses very grounds since before Roman times, but it wasn’t until 1322 that it became forever linked to egg throwing. The newly appointed Abbot was assigned to the Parish of Swaton  by royal decree, and found a rather ingenious way of increasing church attendance. As the only person in the settlement to own chickens, he provided one egg for each attendee to his sermons. But when the waters of the River Eau flooded, cutting off the church from the village, monks started throwing the eggs to the waiting locals. Legend has it when the gap became even wider, the monks used small trebuchets to make sure the eggs traveled the required distance.

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Latvia’s Wacky Milk Carton Boat Race

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Every year, at the end of August, Latvians celebrate Milk, Bread and Honey Festival with a special race between boats made from thousands of empty milk cartons.

The milk carton boat regatta has become a very popular tradition since it first took place nine years ago. The wacky event always take place on the Lielupe River, in the Latvian town of Jelgava, and means to offer local audience a good time and popularize a healthy lifestyle through the consumption of organic dairy foods made in Latvia. Teams of locals eager of a good time, as well as some representing dairy processors and food producers enter the competition every year and fight for various titles, including the fastest boat, funniest crew and most original boat.

This year a record number of participants registered milk carton boat race – 36 teams showed up on the Lielupe River, on August 27, to prove their seafaring skills. There were only a few rules teams had to obey for this event: boats had to be made excursively of empty milk cartons and had to be guided to the finish line by human power alone. The size of the boat and number of rowers was not limited, provided the carton vessel remained afloat. The course was only 50 meters long, the shortest so far, but teams struggled to finish as they had to paddle against a strong wind. Some team members even jumped into the river to push their boats across the finish.

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Snapperfest – Yet Another Another Animal Cruelty Fest

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Snapperfest is an obscure Indiana festival where participants have to yank a snapping turtle’s head out of its shell until they can wrap their hands around its neck.

It has been taking place in Ohio County, Indiana, for over a decade, despite PETA’s numerous attempts to shut it down, and sadly, it was organized this year as well, on August 20th. As always a big crowd gathered at Campshore Campgrounds to see the “brave” competitors tormenting a bunch of frightened snapping turtles. Now that right there sounds like a great way to spend your weekend.

Every Snapperfest contestant has to run up to a tank full of snapping turtles, grab one by its tail, slam it onto a piece of tarp and yank its head out of the shell. Apparently, each participant has his own techniques to get the wild-caught turtles to reveal their heads, but most popular are the repeated slamming against the ground, and pounding on the shell. While the crowd cheers them on, they grab the snapper turtle’s head and yank it out enough to wrap their hands around its neck. The one who manages to yank the turtle’s head fastest, wins.

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The Magnificent Floating Puppets of Les Plasticiens Volants

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Les Plasticiens Volants is a world-renown theater group that stages monumental performances using giant inflatable puppets, some over 20 meters long.

Ever since it was established, in 1976, the unique group has been entertaining audiences world-wide withe their amazing shows. From just two members, the group has grown to a company of 30 enthusiasts who create the puppets and masterfully operate them over the heads of the audience, telling a story. According to the members of the Les Plasticiens Volants, the advantage and at the same time the biggest challenge is building a marionette without a solid or fixed structure. They bend in the air and turn their heads in a way that makes them seem alive. But, as you can imagine, they are lot harder to control from the ground.

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Thai Artist Stages Modern Day Gold Rush

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Acclaimed Thai artist Surasi Kusolwong is challenging art lovers to get down and dirty for the chance to get their hands on a real gold necklace.

Kusolwong’s latest art installation, called Sickness, is one big pile of colorful wool and yearn, but it contains precious treasures in the shape of gold necklaces planted by the artist himself. Lucky visitors at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center have the chance to get down on all four and look for one of the ten gold necklaces hidden withing the sea of thread waste. There is no info on how long a person is allowed to search for the precious necklaces worth hundreds of dollars, but I’m thinking it’s not a lot of time, considering only one of the ten necklaces has been found since the Sickness exhibition opened, on August 21. If someone manages to find one of the small treasures they are allowed to keep it.

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Run For Your Lives – A Zombie-Infested Obstacle Race

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If you’re a big fan of zombie movies and video games, and always wanted to experience a zombie apocalypse in real life, this is your big chance. Run For Your Lives is a unique 5k obstacle course race where contenders have to get passed man-made and natural obstacles while chased by brain-eating zombies.

This sounds like one of my biggest nightmares, and after seeing the presentation video, I’m definitely not signing up. But then again, I’m too scared to even participate in one of those harmless zombie parades, so…But anyway, back to the race. Unlike in a regular running competition, you’re not just running against the clock, but also against an army of bloody, virus infested zombies that want to kill you. Don’t worry though, they’re not really going to kill anyone, just steal all their flags, which represent life points. At the beginning of the race, runners will be equipped with a flag belt, representing their health. If they lose all their flags during the race, they “die” and the zombies win. Runners will still be able to complete the race if they so desire, but they will not be eligible for awards.

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100-Year-Old Crowned Ms. Alabama Nursing Home

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Felma Schrimshire, 100, was named the winner of the 2011 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home pageant, out of 75 grey-haired contestants from across the state.

They may have more grey-hair than your average pageant participants, but the ladies who competed in the Ms. Alabama Nursing Home contest proved they have just as much style and grace. The top ten finalists gathered at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, for the last stage of the competition. Here, the judges and an enthusiastic crowd evaluated the senior beauty queens on their outlook on life, as well as poise and personality. After a 15-minute interview in front of a panel of judges, contestants were asked to answer a surprise question. In case you were wondering, this particular pageant didn’t include a swimsuit competition.

100-year-old Felma Scrimshire won the judges’ votes with her incredible life story. She has traveled to every one of 50 of the US states, seen the Canadian provinces and much of Europe, served in the army for a year, during World War 2, and retired from a civil service job in 1976. A resident of the Andalusia Manor nursing home, Felma will serve as spokesman for nursing home residents throughout Alabama.

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Italy Mixes World’s Largest Mojito Cocktail

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We all love Mojito, and the bigger the cocktail glass the better, right? Well they don’t come much bigger than the one prepared by Italian cocktail experts, near Lake Pusiano.

Thousands of liquor lovers gathered in Italy’s Lombardy region, near Lake Pusiano, to watch cocktail connoisseurs prepare the world’s largest glass of Mojito, and hoping to sample some of it. On July 14, during the historic event, bartenders mixed large quantities of rum, sugar cane juice and mint and managed to create a 1,300 liter version of the delicious Cuban drink.

Bartenders from Raptor Ltd and Cafe Eupili spent around 75 minutes adding and carefully mixing the ingredients in a giant glass, while a thirsty crowd of 4,000 cheered them on. A Guinness Records representative acknowledged the new world record, which beat the previous one of “only” 877 liters, set in 2010, in Italy. I guess Italians have a thing for Mojito cocktails.

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Daredevils Compete in Annual Bee-Wearing Competition

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Two brave Chinese beekeepers competed in the annual bee-wearing contest, yesterday, trying to attract as many bees on their bodies, in just 60 minutes.

42-year-old Wang Dalin and 20-year-old Lc Kongjiang were the only contestants registered for the event that took place in Shaoyang City, China. Wearing only shorts, goggles and nose plugs, the two bee enthusiasts competed by each standing on a scale and using queen bees to attract as many regular buzzers on their bodies, in one hour. The queen bees were locked in small cages and tied around their bodies, and it was only a matter of time until the swarming bees picked up their scent and formed living suits around the competitors.

In the end, Wang Dalin won the bee-wearing competition, by attracting 26 kilograms of bees onto his body, while his younger fellow beekeeper only manged to attract 22.9 kilograms of live bees. Despite their valiant efforts, the two weren’t able to break the world bee-wearing record, of 39.5 kg (350,000 bees), set by American Mark Biancaniello.

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Miracle – Polish Kite Surfer Walks on Water

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In everyday life we usually only use the phrase “walk on water” as a figure of speech, but Polish kite surfing champion Maciek Kozierski traveled to the Sea of Galilee, in Israel, where Jesus himself did it, and accomplished the feat.

Accompanied by a team that included Israeli wakeboard champion Lior Eliyahu, and photographers Predrag Vuckovic and Joerg Mitter, Kozierski spent four days in the Sea of Galilee overlooking the historic church at Capernaum, trying to accomplish the miracle of walking on water. The plan was pretty simple: Maciek would use his kite to accelerate to maximum speed, then release the kite, step off his board and start walking on water.

But, as always, the plan looked a lot better on paper than in practice. The elements just didn’t seem too eager to help him achieve his Miracle (the name of the project) and the Polish kite surfer encountered serious difficulties that caused him to hit the water at high speed, over 50 times. Strong winds caused the waves to become too rough, while a calm sea meant no wind power for his kite, so the daredevil had to repeat his attempts until he nailed the perfect walk on water.

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The Incredible Flower and Sand Carpets of La Otorava

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In the Spanish town of La Otorava, Tenerife, the festival of Corpus Christi Festival is celebrated by lining the streets with beautiful themed carpets made from flower petals and colored volcanic sand.

Featuring some of the most fragrant art displays in the world, the feast of Corpus Christi attracts thousands of visitors from all around the world, eager to see what the skilled alfombras (carpet makers) come up with every year. In the Canary islands, Corpus Christi has been celebrated for the last 300 years, but the first person to ever create a flower carpet is believed to be Leonor de Castillo Monteverde, who in 1847 decided it would be a good idea to decorate the road in front of her house with flower petals, for the procession to walk over. It measured only three square meters, but made a strong impact on the community, and eventually became a local tradition. In the 164 years since then , La Otrava flower and sand carpets have only been suspended twice, in 1891 and 1897.

The tradition of making large carpets with scented flower petals and volcanic sand from the foothills of Mount Teide has come a long way since its humble beginnings and the artworks are becoming more spectacular with each passing year. Several days before the celebration, local families and even design companies draw the carpets on paper, and on the big day, men and children draw the outline on the streets, while women fill the designs with various flower petals. All the locals get involved in this beautiful celebration and create a truly pleasant atmosphere.

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