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Unheralded find home in obscure halls of fame

By Mike Fink
CNN Headline News

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When halls of fame collide.
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(CNN) -- Summer is almost upon us and what better time to hit the road in search of greatness. You've heard of the cockroach hall of fame and the accounting hall of fame, haven't you? Here are some other halls of fame that are a little less known and a little more eccentric.

The International Clown Hall of Fame in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, takes clowning seriously. Nowhere else has balloon shaping and comedy juggling been so revered. Here, icons such as Bozo, Red Skelton and Joseph "The Father of Clowns" Grimaldi serve as an inspiration to new generations of clowns. If you really want to get into the rubber-nosed nostalgia, the facility also offers "Clown Encounters," which allows the public to try on the accouterments of the art form.

If you've ever spent the night in a camper, then you owe a debt of gratitude to the pioneers of recreational vehicles. You can pay off that debt at the Recreational Vehicle/Manufactured Housing Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana. All the classic comfort campers from Winnebagos to custom camper trucks are there. Those who forged the way for manufactured housing also are honored. And yes, there is plenty of RV parking at the museum.

Speaking of parking, if you think that towing is a thankless job, you should haul on over to the International Towing & Recovery Museum and Hall of Fame in Chattanooga, Tennessee. All of the distinguished towing and wrecker workers throughout history are honored. There are also antique and toy tow trucks as well as other unique equipment. Just make you're legally parked before venturing into the museum.

One collection visitors will relish is the International Hamburger Hall of Fame in Daytona Beach, Florida. German immigrant Harry Sperl is proprietor of a juicy collection of hamburger-related items, everything from a waterbed with a sesame seed-covered spread to a hamburger Harley-Davidson. If Sperl's shrine doesn't cut the mustard, then there's also the Hamburger Hall of Fame in Seymour, Wisconsin.

The folks at Poole's BBQ in East Ellijay, Georgia, really ham things up with their "Pig Hill of Fame." Oscar "the Colonel" Poole marks his North Georgia restaurant with a hillside collection of more than 3,000 brightly colored signs commemorating notable pigs that will have you squealing with delight. Poole calls his establishment the "Taj-ma-hog," with one room designated as the "Hog Rock Café."

If you're the sort who wants to know whether your favorite celebrities wear boxers or briefs, the Frederick's of Hollywood Celebrity Lingerie Hall of Fame in California is for you. Just when you think Madonna hasn't been overexposed, come see the tasseled bustier she wore during one of her tours.

Also eye undies from such stars as Susan Sarandon, Robert Redford and other Hollywood elite.

There's really no end to the celebration for those who are famous for something. So while you're out on the road this summer, please take the time to pay homage to those who deserve a place in history. But of course, not all halls of fame are created equal. Maybe there should be one for the halls of fame themselves.


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