ALL POSTS IN [Festivals and Celebrations]

Photography by Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

With the fall finally here, it’s a good bet that you and your friends will be headed out to arguably the most traditional festival of the season — Oktoberfest. And while I think it’s safe to say most of us won’t be making the trip to Munich for the official celebration (Sept. 20-Oct. 5), there are plenty of options stateside for a real taste of Germany. Whether it’s in a small town, major city, German beer hall or vintage barn, Oktoberfest is always great fun. But we’re not talking about the generic beer garden and polka band here. We’re talking about German-American communities getting down the same way their ancestors and countrymen have been doing across the pond for centuries. I mean, you wouldn’t go to a Mexican restaurant for St. Patrick’s Day, would you? Of course not!

So let’s break out the bratwurst, slap down some sauerkraut and, of course, tap the kegs on some of America’s most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations.

Cincinnati (Sept. 19-21)

Perhaps the largest and most popular Oktoberfest in the US is smack dab in the middle of the country —not surprisingly, in a city rich with German culture. Cincinnati (or Zinzinnati this time of year) plays host to thousands of Oktoberfest supporters, young and old, each fall with the city’s signature festival. With six blocks closed down for the party, there is plenty of room for you and your friends to don some lederhosen, down a few liters of beer and stuff your faces with German cuisine. Founded in 1976, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati may be best known for earning its place in the Guinness Book of Records by setting the mark for the world’s largest Chicken Dance at the time, with 48,000 people in 1994. The traditional dance is still going strong 20 years later, along with numerous other German games and dances throughout the three-day festival. READ MORE

Joe & Misses Doe Honey Beer

Joe & Misses Doe Honey Beer (Photography by Nancy Borowick)

Raise your steins! The annual 16-day Oktoberfest celebration, which pays homage to German beer, kicks off Sept. 20 in Munich. And if you’re not among the lucky few making a trip to Germany this year, Oktoberfest events in US cities including New York City, Miami and Cambridge, MA, will host their own celebrations, featuring their fair share of German brews, live Bavarian folk music, traditional cuisine and more. Then, mix it up — literally — with a visit to a local restaurant or bar for one of the following signature beer cocktails —  tasty concoctions made with both beer and liquor — to keep the party going. READ MORE

Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Photography by Lakeview Photography

Get a dose of Southern comfort at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival this fall. The weeklong event runs from Sept. 16-21 and is absolutely worth a trip to Bardstown, KY. This famous bourbon celebration started in 1992 to bring together popular distilleries in the region. Last year, about 52,000 visitors attended the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and this year’s turnout is expected to be booming.

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images News)

Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, is the hot travel destination in August for 2 reasons — the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In addition to visiting Edinburgh Castle, strolling along Rose Street and exploring the National Museums of Scotland, tourists heading to “Old Smokey” this month should add these 2 fun festivals to their travel itinerary.

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Paris Plage (Photo Courtesy of Reuters / Charles Platiau)

Celebrated on July 14, French National Day or Bastille Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution and the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. Celebrations are held all over France, but thousands line up along the Champs-Elysees in Paris to watch the oldest and largest military parade in Europe. These annual festivities aren’t limited to the celebration on the ground, but locals and tourists can look high above the crowds to see the Patrouille de France aerobatics team in action.

Bastille Day isn’t the only thing tourists should add to their agenda when visiting Paris in the summer. Here’s a quick list of 5 fun summertime experiences you don’t want to miss when vacationing in Paris.
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Photography by Archive Photos / Getty Images

Tomorrow, people across the US will don their red, white and blue in celebration of America’s 238th birthday.

Pictured above, actress Louise Synder wears a vintage swimsuit and a Stars & Stripes top hat to set off fireworks for a Fourth of July celebration on the beach in 1950.

Whether you’re planning to spend Independence Day with family and friends at the beach, grilling in the backyard, or watching one of the best fireworks displays in the US, we hope you’ll enjoy this week’s holiday-themed, throwback Thursday as much as we do.

Check back every week this month for our Vintage Summer Throwback Thursdays.

 

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Canada Day celebration

Photography by Thinkstock

While Americans famously celebrate Fourth of July, Canadians celebrate their own nationalistic holiday, appropriately named Canada Day, on July 1.

Until Oct. 27, 1982, Canada Day was actually known as “Dominion Day.”  It was almost a hundred years before that, on July 1, that the British North America Act was passed (sometimes referred to as the Constitution Act) which established Canada as a separate nation. The following year, the Governor General of Canada asked that all Canadian citizens celebrate on July 1. Declared a civic holiday in 1867, most Canadians are pleased this day off landed in the summer instead of the cold winter, because it’s often the kick-off weekend to summer vacations. READ MORE

Pop the Kennebunk Festival (Photo Courtesy of Maine and Maine Home+Design Magazines)

The Dish
For 6 remarkably tasty days in June, food and travel lovers from across the US unite at the Kennebunkport Food and Wine Festival, an annual event that has – hands down – become the hottest ticket in coastal Maine. Now in its 10th year, the festival draws Maine’s top chefs, as well as wine and beer makers to this charming waterfront town.

Rub elbows with an eclectic group of guests at nightly cocktail hours and after-parties, featuring live music and tasty artisan beverages made from local distilleries such as New England Distilling, but save your energy for the festival’s main events.

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Fort McHenry

Photography By National Park Service

As Francis Scott Key watched the smoke clear and the sun rise above Baltimore’s Fort McHenry after witnessing its bombardment by British naval ships during the final months of the War of 1812, he had every expectation of seeing a white flag of surrender. To his surprise, he saw the tattered, but still flying, remains of an oversized American flag that had been commissioned just months earlier by the fort’s commander Major George Armistead.

Key was so moved by the by sight of the flag and by the Americans’ protection of their fort that he penned the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” That poem, eventually set to music and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” became the national anthem of the United States of America. READ MORE

Photo Courtesy of Taxi / Getty Images

For Canadians, the 3rd weekend in May, or the “May Long” (weekend is implied), is the unofficial start to summer.  While technically this is the Victoria Day weekend — named in honor of Queen Victoria’s birthday — most Canadians are feeling victorious for surviving yet another cold northern winter. This is a nation where we break out the shorts at the first thaw; so, we’re pretty pleased to kick off the season with a weekend at the cottage or in our backyards with a barbecue. For tourists, here are 5 classic things to do in Canada this summer:
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