Japanese festivals are almost always based around a shrine, and the festival is seen as a way of renewing or blessing the shrine through art, ceremony and mass prayer.
But the Onbashira Matsuri, or Sacred Pillars festival, is different than the rest because it features lumberjacking, brawling, swimming and extremely dangerous log riding portions not for the faint of heart.
This wonderful video by OH! MATSURi concisely captures the feel of this rare festival, which is held near Lake Suwa in Nagano every six years and has supposedly continued uninterrupted for the last 1200 years.
I could see a festival like Onbashira catching on in the Pacific Northwest, only with less praying and more drinking.
-Via Laughing Squid