Part frog-filled folklore, party classic country-fair fun, this annual event stands out as one of those wacky crowd-pleasers that everyone should see at least once in their lives. This competition, part of the Calaveras County Fair, recreates Mark Twain’s short story, “The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County”—which may or may not be based on a true faceoff between high-jumping amphibians back in the 1800s. Since 1928, humans have entered their best jumpers and—with shouts, ground slaps, and anything but nudges and pokes—encourage their frogs to leap further than any other. (Best jump ever goes to Rosie the Ribeter, who leapt just over 21 feet/6.4 metres in a single bound.) There’s a $5,000 prize (we’re not sure the frog cares much) for the winner of the final event, the International Frog Jump Grand Finals.
While the frog jump is the attention grabber at the Calaveras County Fair, said to be one of the longest running events in California, there’s plenty more going on here. Choose your favourites in the junior livestock auctions, enjoy the Frogtown Rodeo, and take a spin on a classic carny ride.