ALL POSTS IN [Festivals and Celebrations]

Sundance Film Festival

It’s a big year for Sundance Film Festival as it celebrates its 30th birthday in Park City, UT, this week. For the last 3 decades, the next big moviemakers, critics, celebrities and film buffs  have attended this annual event every January to be wowed by the best of independent films from all over the world.

The largest independent film festival in the US, Sundance was launched in 1978 with the help of Robert Redford’s company, Sterling Van Wagenen. Over the last 30 years, Redford has played an integral part in building the festival’s momentum and his mark is seen all over town, from his famed Sundance Resort, 5,000 acres on the slopes of Mount Timpanogos in Utah’s Wasatch Range to Zoom, his cozy restaurant located on Park City’s Main Street.

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Winter solstice at Stonehenge

Winter solstice at Stonehenge (Photo: Getty Images)

Welcome to the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The winter solstice kicks off this Saturday, and with it, thousands of visitors from around the world have gathered at Stonehenge — the mysterious standing set of stones dating between 3000 B.C. and 2000 B.C., in Wiltshire, England — to mark the grand astronomical event when the monument aligns on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunset.

Of course, who are we fooling? On Saturday morning, most of us would probably prefer to snuggle up under the covers than brave the gathering crowds at Stonehenge (even if the new $44 million visitors center, which opened this past Wednesday, sounds interesting, with an exhibition that includes a forensic reconstruction of a Neolithic man). We’ll leave it to the druids, pagans and astronomical diehards currently gathered at Stonehenge to fill us in on the grand event, which, on the flip side, ushers in the longest night of the year.

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The “Day of the Dead,” or Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, is often compared to Halloween due to its celebration the day trick-or-treaters hit the streets. But it has a much different purpose. The occasion is a national holiday on Nov. 1 and 2 in Mexico and centers on the gathering of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is held in connection with the Catholic All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

If it seems to you like the holiday often goes uncelebrated in the United States, you might just not be in the right place. Below are 5 “Day of the Dead” events that honor those who have died. Find a complete list of the nation’s events here.

1. Dia de Los Muertos in Los Angeles, CA 
When: Nov. 2 from noon to midnight
The celebration is held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and is the largest of its kind in California. The festival features an altar-decorating competition as well as live music and costume contests for the best Calaca (skull or skeleton) costume.

2. Bare Hands Dia de Los Muertos, Numero Once Festival in Birmingham, AL 
When: Nov. 2 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Bring a small altar or memento of remembrance and dress up in bones for this energetic cultural celebration. The festival attracts thousands of visitors and is sponsored by Bare Hands, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for community involvement and promotes cultural dialogue.

3. All Souls Procession in Tucson, AZ 
When: Nov. 3 at 4 p.m.
The All Souls Procession brings more than 35,000 people together to the streets of downtown Tucson for a 2-mile-long walk that culminates with the burning of a large urn filled with hopes and offerings from the public for those who have passed. The procession is organized by non-profit arts collective Many Mouths One Stomach.

4. Dia de Los Muertos Street Festival in Corpus Christi, Texas
When: Nov. 1 and 2
This festival brings a large art exhibition, artist workshops, and entire day-long dancing and concert events to celebrate the “Day of the Dead.” The event promotes cultural tourism by drawing artists, musicians and vendors to the area each year.

5. Dia de Los Muertos 2013 in Albuquerque, New Mexico 
When: Nov. 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
This annual celebration is held at San Jose de Armijo Cemetery and features sugar skull painting, costumes and music organized by the Atrisco Heritage Foundation. The foundation works through the event to promote and preserve the ancestral and cultural heritage of Albuquerque.

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Photo by James Coletta

A DJ spins in the corner as neon lights reflect off hundreds of different wines. Young people dressed to the nines mingle in locations like the “Bubbly Bar” (which showcases 6 sparkling wines), a photo booth holding up signs like “I Spit” and “I Swallow,” and booths separated by regions pouring everything from Vinho Verde to shiraz; Sancerre to Carménère. If there’s one thing immediately apparent — this isn’t your average wine event.

The brainchild of Tyler Balliet, founder and president of Second Glass, Wine Riot’s mission is to make wine tasting as unpretentious and unintimidating as possible.

“I started Wine Riot because I was frustrated that there wasn’t a fun way to learn about wine,” Balliet says. “The books, the classes, and even other wine events were so academic and time-consuming. What about the people who just wanted a little bit of wine info? How do they learn?”

Unsurprisingly this relaxed attitude about a drink often associated with snobbery has been widely embraced by a younger demographic than one would normally see at a wine event. Now the event that started in the basement of a wine shop overtakes swank venues in cities like Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

While the red wine-stained teeth may hint that this is nothing more than a mere booze-fest, wine knowledge does floweth here. Every hour there are “Crash Courses” – 20-minute informative sit-downs with producers who talk about everything from Old World vs. New World wines, to South American wines and the way the terroir affects the grapes. While the crowd may become more boisterous as the night progresses, the dialogue remains on-point and all about the wine.

Popular with wineries that know that 21 to 35 year olds are the fastest growing consumers of wine, most of the tastings are of affordable, everyday drinking wines with labels that captivate the eye.

“The wine industry still operates in an older style,” Balliet says, “but we’re the generation that is going to push them forward, regardless of whether the industry comes along for the ride.”

Part of the push? The heavy implementation of social media and the utilization of apps. With the free Wine Riot app, guests can keep track of all the wines they tasted and mark the ones they especially loved — which makes buying a case of something that much easier … even if the night itself becomes a little hazy.

Don’t miss these upcoming Wine Riots:

Boston
When: Friday, Oct. 25| 7-11 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 26 | 1-5 p.m. and 7-11 p.m.
Tickets: $60

Los Angeles
Saturday, Nov. 9 | 1-5 p.m. and 7-11 p.m.
Tickets: $60

For tickets and information go to: www.secondglass.com/wineriot

 

– By Ashley Hardaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austin City Limits is here. The annual 3-day music fest kicked off Friday morning in Austin’s Zilker Park, and will draw an anticipated crowd of 6,500 music fans over the coming days.

Just in case you can’t make it to the Lone Star State capital this weekend, though, the event has something new in store for attendees this year: For the first time ever, Austin City Limits will unfold over 2 consecutive weekends. That means if Oct. 4-6 doesn’t work for you, you still have Oct. 11-13 to head on down to Austin. Between now and then, there’s a whole lot in store — here’s a roundup of highlights of Austin City Limits 2013.

The beer alone makes a trip to Austin worth it. This year, Austin City Limits has opened a beer lover’s dream — the brand new, 20,000-square-foot Barton Springs Beer Hall. This playground for beer lovers features 15 brews, from local drinks like Hill Country’s own Real Ale, to brews from around the country. Kick back, drink up and enjoy a game of football on big screen TVs in the hall.

And, of course, there’s food, lots and lots of food. Austin Eats Food Tours will be on-hand, featuring local restaurant delicacies, as well as plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options. Expect to find foodie favorites such as chef Tim Love’s Love Shack, Austin’s Pizza and Second Bar + Kitchen by chef David Bull, alongside new culinary favorites such as La Condesa, Frank and mmmpanadas.

The good part about the money you spend: A portion of funds raised will go toward supporting the Hill Country’s Conservancy’s Violet Crown Trail, a 30-mile hike and bike trail in Austin; additional support will go toward a carbon offset project spearheaded by the Texas Climate & Carbon Exchange.

For tips on staying in and getting around the city that keeps it weird, check out our Austin City Guide. Plus, if you love music as much as food, you’ll want to take an Austin Foodie Foray. And once you pack up and leave, send us a postcard from Austin — we’ll want to know how it goes!

Considered one of the biggest and best music festivals in the country, Bonnaroo has become a pilgrimage that any music fan must make. Featuring musicians from all genres, including indie rock, hip hop, jazz and more, Bonnaroo’s activities don’t stop at the music — which starts around noon and doesn’t end until … about 4 a.m. Here, you’ll find well-known comedians, film screenings, a silent disco and waterslides, just to name a few highlights.

Tonight at 9|8c on Fandemonium, Adam finds out first-hand that the fun never stops at Bonnaroo and gets a taste of the festival’s food truck goodness.

It’s not too early to start planning your trip to Bonnaroo — June will be here before you know it! Let us help with our Bonnaroo travel guide, full of tips on how to get to Manchester, TN, where to stay when you arrive and what to eat if food trucks aren’t your thing.

Tune in tonight for a glimpse inside this revolutionary music festival!

Every year, for 4 days in June, country music fans take over the Tuttle Creek Lake State Park in Manhattan, KS, for the Country Stampede music festival. In fact, it’s one of the largest parties in the Midwest with over 175,000 attendees eating good food, enjoying strong drinks and tailgating in the campgrounds with fellow country lovers — and a few of the performers themselves.

Tonight at 9|8c, Adam joins in the fun on an all-new episode of Fandemonium. In fact, when he comes across a country musician, he even writes a country song of his own … about Brooklyn.

Do you love country music? It’s not too early to start planning your own trip to Manhattan, KS, to join in the stampede. Let our travel guide help you get there!

The town of Laconia, NH, is usually quaint and quiet. But for a single week in June, hundreds of thousands motorcycle enthusiasts make their way to Weirs Beach to show off their custom choppers, indulge in some quality seafood and get down with their bike brethren.

In the mood for a $100 lobster pizza? How about a resort overlooking the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee? The 15,000-person town of Laconia has it all. Wanna get down and dirty with the bikers in Laconia? Check out our travel guide to find out what you can’t miss during this crazy week in June, and tune in tonight at 9|8c to watch Adam Richman join in on the madness on an all-new episode of Fandemonium.

Great barbecue is an art. And for a real taste of the craftsmanship that goes into roasting a whole hog or smoking a rack of ribs so tender the meat falls off the bone, look no further than Memphis in May’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

Tonight at 9|8c, Adam Richman witnesses the barbecue madness on an all-new episode of Fandemonium. From delicious smoked sausage to Denmark’s take on American barbecue, Adam tastes it all. He also meets more than a few barbecue devotees who make this weekend the highlight of the month-long Memphis in May celebration.

It’s never too early to start planning your next spring fling! If Adam’s got you wanting to join in the barbecue fun, check out our Memphis travel guide for tips to plan your own Memphis in May excursion. Or use our Best BBQ Festivals and Competitions photo gallery to find one closer to home!

And don’t forget to tune in tonight at 9|8c for Fandemonium!

Everything is bigger in Texas … even their Renaissance festival! In fact, the Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, TX, has an average attendance of 200,000 “rennies” each year. And as Adam finds out tonight at 10|9c on Fandemonium, these renn-fest goers are some of the most imaginative and devoted superfans he’s found so far.

From the 22 stages holding over 200 performances, to the more than 150 cast members (most of whom are volunteers!) who bring the festival to life, it’s worth a trip to Waxahachie for the chance to travel back in time to the year 1533.

Did we mention the turkey legs? Or steak on a stake? Or the mead?

If we’ve convinced you to lace up your corset/don your codpiece (not required), then check out our Waxahachi, TX, travel guide for tips. Or check out the Renlist for a list of Renaissance festivals near you!

Not feeling persuaded, yet? Then tune in tonight for an all-new episode of Fandemonium at 10|9c, and you’ll be joining a joust in no time!

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