By Henry Coen

CENTRAL PARK- “Last one to the testicle bouncy house is a rotten scrotum!” cries a group of children. They dash through the park, tripping over each other to clamber into the enormous, undeniably scrotal bouncy house. These enthusiastic tots are just some of the people enjoying this year’s Jingle Balls Testicle Festival, held right here in Grinnell, Iowa.

“The testicle festival is a time-honored tradition here in Grinnell,” town councilwoman and organizer Leslie Yepp told our reporters. “It actually dates back to the founder of the town, Josiah B. Grinnell, who built a community on this land in 1854. Most people don’t know that the B in his name actually stood for Balls. Josiah had a sort of fascination with gonads, and so in 1856 he threw the first ever testicle festival, right here in Grinnell.”

Nearly 200 years later, Grinnell still hosts a yearly testicle festival that people travel to see from across the state.

“Things look a little different than they did in Josiah’s day,” Leslie Yepp informs us as we tour the festival. “Animal welfare laws mean we can’t show off any of the real deal, but we have something even better.” She gestured to a three-story butter sculpture shaped like a pair of testicles. “Ta-da!”

That’s far from all the festival has to offer. “Get ya fried testicles on a stick! Get them here! Get ’em here!” calls a vendor from a wooden cart by Hotel Grinnell. Other treats include testicle-shaped cotton candy, testicle-shaped Hawkeye bottles from Walmart, and, of course, Iowa’s famous ham balls.

By far, the biggest event of the festival is the ballsack race. Teams of two must hop side by side in the same sack from first to Tenth Avenue. It is a grueling race, and teams practice all year in order to build strength, stamina, and teamwork. Still, it is well worth it to the lucky pair who win the day.

“I now crown you this year’s testicle king and testicle queen,” Leslie Yepp says as she places testicle-shaped crowns on the heads of Grinnell professors Big Chungus and Yo Mama. Big Chungus proposes on the spot, and everyone joins a flash dance mob, performing “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys. 

Other cities have noticed Grinnell’s success with the festival and have tried to mimic it—to varying degrees of success. Fork, Ohio just celebrated its 22nd annual inner ear festival, and Boil, Alaska has had its ovary festival for eleven years. On the other hand, the Twin Cities had less luck with their attempts at a toe festival: “A lot more creeps than you might think.”

“After this year’s successful festival, we have only set our sights higher,” Leslie Yepp says, reflecting on next year’s festival. “Next year’s butter sculpture is going to be four stories tall. And, fingers crossed, I think we might have a chance to get famed WWE wrestler Big Testicle Bill to come!”

No matter what next year’s testicle festival brings, the B&S will be here to report on it.