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Offbeat

Why We Love America

With 50 states, 319-ish million people, and 240 years under its belt, America’s got a lot going for it. Rather than get too serious with “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”-inspired reasons as to why we love our country, let's revel in the wackier facts that make America great.

A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.

See recent posts by Chelsea Stuart

We throw a festival for literally everything.

Have a weird affinity for a particular thing and the drive to create an event in its honor? If so, you might have what it takes to pull together a festival. The U.S. is no stranger to odd festivities – just take the Union Square Fluff Festival, a tribute to the sickly sweet Marshmallow Fluff that sparked New England’s obsession with the Fluffernutter, now in its tenth year running. Not to be outdone, the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival draws a 40,000-strong crowd to witness competitors throw hardened cow dung. (The current record: 248 feet.) The title of freakiest fiesta might go to the Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, where, for 40 years, hordes of biological twins have flooded the grounds in a flurry of head-to-toe matching outfits for volleyball tournaments, talent shows, and a full-on parade.

We’ve invented some brilliant (read: absolutely essential) things.

If you’ve ever perused a SkyMall catalogue or caught an episode of Shark Tank, then you know what I’m talking about – those perfect gifts for office swaps and Secret Santas. Say, hyper-realistic tiny hands, metal detecting flip flops, and the vertical chess board. But all jokes aside, America is also responsible for the airplane, 3D printing, and Apple products, which proves we have just as many great ideas as we do novelty items.

Our fair foods (and food fads) are out of this world.

America has a "go big or go home" attitude when it comes to food, and while we catch flack for it from time to time, you can’t say we aren’t creative. State fairs are often the stage on which Americans unveil their craziest masterpieces, like deep-fried Starbucks coffee, deep-fried SlimFast bars, and wine-glazed (you guessed it) deep-fried meatloaf on a stick. We’re also all for starting viral pastry and baked good trends. See: the cronut, the rainbow bagel, and the raindrop cake.

We support one another in even our weirdest endeavors.

The year 2014 was a historic one: a robot landed on a comet (for the first time ever), hackers leaked Sony’s emails, and 6,911 people backed a Kickstarter for a man who wanted to make potato salad. What started as a simple request from a man in Columbus, Ohio, for $10 snowballed into a mass campaign that raked in $55,492. And what do you do when life hands you that kind of money? You throw PotatoStock, the potato salad party to end all potato salad parties. ‘Merica.

Our President and First Lady are the absolute coolest.

Ever the cool kid, President Obama concluded his final White House Correspondents’ Dinner in the most epic way. "I have just two more words to say: Obama out," he said, lifting two fingers to his lips, and full-on dropping the mic. The First Lady has also delivered some zingers while doing great things (serious and fun) for our country, from performing the Evolution of Mom Dancing on The Tonight Show to founding Let’s Move, an initiative to end childhood obesity and encourage an active lifestyle.

Our states are wildly different.

California has almost 39 million residents, so, statistically, one out of every eight Americans is from the Golden State. Montana has three times as many cows as it does people. New York City alone has more residents than 40 of the 50 states in the U.S. (with 26,000 people crammed in each square mile). Florida maintains steady temperatures in the 80s for most of the year while Alaska keeps it cool in the 30s and 40s. This is why we have so many great road trips, people!

We have many weird talents, some of which have broken a few Guinness World Records.

The quickest one-mile piggyback ride (just under 12 minutes) was completed by two students in Dublin, Ohio. Ozell Williams of Boulder, Colorado, did 57 consecutive handsprings – the most ever recorded. A trained macaw in Los Altos, California, removed 12 bottle caps in a single minute, making it the speediest bottle-opening parrot on Earth. We could go on…but just saying, all of this talent came out of the States.

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