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belleville news democrat
Time Magazine: Catsup Bottle Festival
among world's quirkiest

1By ELIZABETH DONALD ©2010 News-Democrat
Friday, May 14, 2010

What does the Brooks Catsup Bottle have in common with Mike the Headless Chicken, Roswell, New Mexico's aliens and rolling rounds of British cheese? They're all on Time Magazine's list of Top 10 quirky local festivals.

Time put together a photo array of the oddest customs around the globe, including a Spanish baby-jumping festival to thousands of nude Japanese men in a mud pit. In Hong Kong, tens of thousands of people climb a 60-foot metal structure covered with sweet buns.

By comparison, Collinsville's annual celebration of the world's largest catsup bottle is fairly tame: a hula-hoop contest, hot-dog-eating contest, Little Princess Tomato and Sir Catsup contest and the traditional catsup tasting contest.

"I don't even know how this happened. ... I can't believe it. It's insanely cool," said Mike Gassmann, self-described "Big Tomato" of the Brooks Catsup Bottle Fan Club.

The 170-foot-tall water tower has been a metro-east landmark since 1949, originally a water tower for the G.S. Suppiger bottling plant. The annual Catsup Bottle Festival will be held this year on July 11.

Here are Time's Top 10 "quirky" festivals:
* Mike the Headless Chicken Festival (Fruita, Colo.)
* Roswell UFO Festival (Roswell, N.M.)
* BugFest (Raleigh, N.C.)
* San Fermin in Nueva Orleans (New Orleans, La.)
* Coney Island Mermaid Parade (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
* Cheese-Rolling Festival (Gloucestershire, England)
* Baby-Jumping Festival (Spain)
* Naked Festival (Okayama, Japan)
* Bun Festival (Hong Kong)
* The World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival (Collinsville, Ill.)

©2010 Belleville News-Democrat

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