Funky Fall Festivals Across America

Happy Belated First Day of Fall!  Yesterday marked the official start of the pumpkin spice frenzy – lattes, pies, candies, Pringles…yes Pringles.  But even though the food this time of year brings joy and a few extra pounds, fall also brings with it some amazing festivals.  Regular harvest festivals are plentiful across the country, but as you can imagine, some towns’ annual fall festivities celebrate truly unique traditions and local quirks.  Here are some of America’s funkiest fall festivals, from the whimsical to the totally bizarre.

Trailing of the Sheep Festival – Ketchum, Idaho – October 7-11, 2015

Did you know Ketchum, Idaho is one of the sheepherding capitals of the world?  Throughout much of the town’s history, sheep have even outnumbered people!  The Trailing of the Sheep is the culminating event of a four-day festival in Ketchum that celebrates the town’s rich history of livestock herding.  Herders accompany over 1,500 sheep parade down Main Street as they complete their migration from summer to winter pastures.  This amazing celebration of local culture, cuisine, and sheep takes place every October.

Wife Carrying Championship – Newre, Maine – October 10, 2015

Newre, Maine celebrates the end of summer with an annual Fall Festival at Sunday River Ski Resort.  Live music and arts and crafts are dwarfed by the headlining event – The North American Wife-Carrying Championship.  This race is based on a 19th century Finnish legend about “Ronkainen the Robber” who only accepted men into his band capable of carrying heavy weights or local women through a running course.  Just as it sounds, the event challenges 50 couples to race through a 278-yard obstacle course with the woman being carried.  The winner receives the wife’s weight in beer and three-times the wife’s weight in cash. Learn more about the North American Wife Carrying Championship by visiting their website.

Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade – Manitou Springs, Colorado – October 24, 2015

In the late 1800’s, Emma Crawford traveled to Manitou Springs to aid her tuberculosis with the town’s mineral springs.  She passed away several years later and was buried on Red Mountain.  After years of weather and erosion, however, Emma’s coffin was unearthed and slid down the mountain to the valley below.  To remember Emma Crawford, thousands of people travel to Manitou Springs every year for the coffin races and parade.  Teams of five construct rolling “coffins” with elaborate designs and decorations.  One person dressed as Emma rides in the vehicle while four runners push her along a 195-foot course.  Winners take home trophies for time and aesthetics. Registration is still open for this ghoulish race coming up in a few weeks!

No matter how you’re celebrating the start of fall, make sure you remember to keep your yard protected from mosquitoes right up until winter arrives, so you’ll be in much better shape when the warm weather returns next year.  Mosquitoes will thrive and lay eggs until temperatures are consistently below 55 degrees, which is still months away for many.  Taking care of mosquitoes with an end-of-season spray will allow you to enjoy your yard uninterrupted this fall and will dramatically decrease the amount of pests next season.  Call your local Mosquito Joe for more information.

Photo Credit: The Trailing of the Sheep Festival, Sunday River, and Manitou Springs Emma Crawford Coffin Races


West Nile Virus Making Headlines

This time of year can be tricky as the weather fluctuates between warm and cool. While we’re excited to have a much-needed break from the humidity and heat, it doesn’t mean you should let your guard down against vector borne disease. Just last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their reports and there have been 493 cases of West Nile reported in 40 states. While those numbers are down from last year, there have been fifteen deaths, which makes this a serious public health issue. It seems everyday there is a new headline about West Nile being diagnosed in a new area of the country. West Nile Virus is usually spread by mosquitoes and can cause serious neurological problems, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms. You can read our past blog post for more detailed information about the disease and its symptoms.

Vector borne diseases don’t stop there. Lyme Disease this year has been another illness causing major health issues, so we’ve been closely monitoring tick activity. The CDC reports that every year around 300,000 people are infected with Lyme disease! In late 2014 scientists discovered a whole new tick-borne virus and we have been seeing the first cases pop up in the U.S. this year. Bourbon Virus is now on the radar as yet another disease spread by ticks.

As you enjoy the nice fall weather, make sure you’re aware that mosquitoes and other insects that carry diseases are still around. Mosquitoes will stay active until the temperature is consistently below 55, and ticks will feed until the temperature is below freezing. Mosquito Joe is still working to make sure you’re safe with our mosquito control services, but pay attention to the news in your area. If you live in an area where Lyme Disease has been an issue or where West Nile has been confirmed, take extra precautions such as long sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, and eliminating standing water in your yard, a mosquito’s favorite breeding ground. We want outside to be fun and safe!


Before We Say Goodbye to Summer…

For most Americans, Labor Day means one last summer vacation before the sun seemingly goes away forever (don’t worry, it’ll be back). But do you know how the holiday actually started?

The late 1800s saw a rise in protests from workers dissatisfied with unsafe and unfair working conditions. The first Labor Day “parade” took place on September 5, 1882 with 10,000 workers marching in New York City. From there, the idea of a “workers’ holiday” spread to unions around the country, with parades and festivals becoming the norm. Congress made it official in 1894 by making Labor Day a national holiday the first Monday of every September.

Now that you know why you have a long weekend coming up, onto the fun stuff.  Not sure how to celebrate this weekend? Well here at Mosquito Joe, our first choice is always to get outside! Labor Day is a great chance to revel in the summer sunshine with family and friends, so here are a few unique ideas for enjoying some good ol’ Mother Nature:

  • Be active – before you light the grill for the classic backyard barbecue, take the day to try some new outdoor activities:
    • Explore a national or state park in your area
    • Take to the water with a sailing lesson or kayak/jet ski rentals
    • Go zip lining or try a nearby adventure park
    • Go for a long bike ride, stopping for lunch along the way
  • Be a local tourist – spend the day visiting a forgotten local attraction:
    • Take the family to an amusement or water park
    • Head to the zoo or local science museum for an educational experience
    • Take a tour of a local historic site
    • Keep your eye out for the usual Labor Day parades and festivals
  • Relax – Take advantage of your downtime during the holiday weekend and have a mini-adventure of your own:
    • Watch a movie under the stars at a drive-in theater
    • Pack a lunch, drive to the outskirts of town, and have a picnic
    • Enjoy an outdoor concert/performance – don’t forget the lawn chairs!
    • Bring it home with a backyard barbecue. Nothing gets better than gathering your friends and family together for some good food and laughs.

This time of year, being outside still means dealing with a few pests.  That’s where Mosquito Joe has your back.  We know it’s tempting to end your mosquito spray services early as August rolls into September, but sticking it out a little longer will not only make your Labor Day weekend more enjoyable, it will dramatically decrease your bites come next season too! Mosquitoes can survive and lay eggs in temperatures as low as 50 degrees, which is still a long way off for some of you. Don’t think end of summer automatically means the end of mosquitoes – let Mosquito Joe finish what it started with one last spray. Contact your local MoJo office for more information.

We wish everyone a fun and safe Labor Day weekend. And a big THANK YOU to all of the workers out there, especially our fellow Joes, who put their best effort forward everyday.