6 Animal-Themed Fall Festivals That You've Likely Never Heard Of

There’s the running of the bulls and dog shows galore — but a caterpillar race? Check out these truly one-of-a-kind animal celebrations taking place around the world this autumn.

Animal-Themed Fall Festivals

Monkey Buffet

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Monkey Buffet Festival

Held annually in the Thai town of Lopburi each autumn, this festival celebrates the city’s numerous primates by offering them a $16,000 buffet of fruits and vegetables that's laid out on the steps of a temple. Not surprisingly, more than 2,000 monkeys flock to the tasty spread.

Swiss cow parade
Swiss Cow Parade

In various cities throughout Switzerland in September, dairy cows are adorned with flowers and then herded down from their summer mountain pastures to be paraded through town. The ceremony is usually accompanied by music and a custom known as Chästeilet, when all the cheeses produced over the summer are divided among the owners of the cows, based on the amount of milk each animal produced.

Pushkar Camel Fair
Pushkar Camel Fair

For five days in November, the small Indian city of Pushkar comes alive with nearly 300,000 tourists, 20,000 camels, horses and cattle to celebrate the selling and trading of livestock. Competitions abound, including camel races and cricket matches — and even bridal rivalries, when marriages (between people, not camels) are arranged.

King's Cup Elephant Polo
King's Cup Elephant Polo

What started as a funny conversation between two sports lovers in the early 1980s somehow turned into a popular Thai game: elephant polo. It’s exactly what it sounds like — polo played by riders who sit atop pachyderms. Twelve teams compete in the annual September event, but only one can come away with the King’s Cup.

Spanish Sheep Parade
Spanish Sheep Parade

For the past 18 years, sheep herders have driven nearly 5,000 flocks of sheep through the streets of Madrid each fall to protest urban sprawl, as well as exercise their right to migrate livestock through ancient grazing routes — one of which dates to 1372!

Banner Elk Wooly Worm Festival
Banner Elk Woolly Worm Festival

To celebrate the colorful tiger moth caterpillar, which can be spotted in great numbers each fall in North Carolina, townspeople in Banner Elk hold a woolly worm race. “Coaches” can win up to $1,000, and experts examine the winning worm's bands to predict the severity of the coming winter. Over a 24-year period, the insects supposedly have had an 85 percent prediction success rate.

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