ALL POSTS IN [Festivals and Celebrations]

Fiesta San Antonio

Photography By San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau

For more than a century, San Antonio has honored the heroes of the Alamo and Battle of San Jacinto with an annual parade and celebration. Now, one of the largest festivals in the US, Fiesta San Antonio welcomes almost 3.5 million people each year.

A fun, family-friendly event for all ages, this year’s Texas-sized Fiesta will take place April 10-27, and will offer 110 events such as concerts, parades, cook-offs and more. READ MORE

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Photography by Getty

This April, thousands of free-spirited music lovers will flock to the California desert for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio.

The annual 2 weekend, 3-day festival will take place April 11-13 and 18-20. It will feature multiple stages for live music performances from more than 150 artists, and from every genre, including rock, hip-hop and electronic. This year’s headliners include OutKast, Muse and Arcade Fire, in addition to other popular artists such as Ellie Goulding, Pharrel Williams and Lana Del Rey. READ MORE

 

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Photography by Reuters

Each year, in March and April, millions of people flock to Washington, DC, to experience the beauty of the National Cherry Blossom Festival when thousands of cherry blossom trees bloom along the Tidal Basin.

Today marks the average peak bloom date for the cherry blossom trees, and while the actual bloom date is difficult to predict, the National Park Service predicts that this spring’s peak bloom period is between April 8 and 12.

If you’re planning a visit, a stroll along the Tidal Basin is a must, but here are some other ways you can also celebrate the festival in the nation’s capital: READ MORE

 

Scarborough Renaissance Festival

Photography By Scarborough Renaissance Festival

For more than 30 years, Waxahachie, TX, located just south of Dallas, has been home to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival — a Renaissance-themed festival that will take place 8 consecutive weekends and Memorial Day Monday between April 5 and May 26 this spring.  

Spread out across a 35-acre “village,” the festival’s 3 areas — Crown Meadow, Pecan Grove and Holly Field — offer a variety of attractions for attendees of all ages to experience the spirit of the Renaissance. READ MORE

Taiwan Lantern Festival

Photography by Reuters

Today marks the 25th year of the Taiwan Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the first lunar month, and marks the tail end of the celebration of the Chinese New Year. This year’s festival will take place in Zhongxing New Village, Nantou County – the second largest county in Taiwan. 

The main theme for the festival is determined by the Chinese zodiac animal for the new year. This year’s lantern theme is representative of the Year of the Horse. The lantern – a 75-foot-tall “Prancing Horse” — will be lit up with more than 200,000 LED lights, and will be on display at the festival’s center stage, positioned facing Taiwan’s highest peak, Yushan, which means “Jade Mountain.”

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Art Deco Weekend, Napier, New Zealand

Photography By catspyjamasnz, Flickr

Located in the Hawkes Bay region on the eastern coast of New Zealand, Napier is a popular destination that is chock-full of Art Deco buildings, shopping and events — so much so that its locals and tourists often refer to it as the “Art Deco Capital of the World.”

The city’s largest annual event, the TREMAINS Art Deco Weekend, will take place Feb. 19-23 this year and will include more than 200 events, various displays of 1920s and ’30s cars, trains and planes, and a Gatsby-inspired picnic. Festival-goers from all over the world will fill the streets dressed in era-appropriate attire to wine, dine, dance and celebrate all things Art Deco.

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Festival International de Ballons, Château-d’Oex, Switzerland

Photography By Christophe Dayer, Flickr

For the last 36 years, Château-d’Oex, located in the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland, has been home to the Festival International de Ballons (International Balloon Festival), which will take place Jan. 25 to Feb. 2 this year. 

A fun and affordable event for all ages, this year’s football-themed festival, chosen for the impending World Cup in Brazil, is expected to attract 40,000 to 50,000 attendees. Entry fees — charged on Saturdays and Sundays only — cost CHF (Swiss Franc) 15 for adults, which equals approximately $17, and is free for children under the age of 14. If you plan on attending the festival more than one day, a pin can be purchased for CHF 20 ($22).

Hot air balloons varying in size, shape and color will be on display, and spectators can experience a variety of activities including air shows with hot air balloons, F1s and hang gliders, hot air balloon competitions, and even take flight on a tether ride or, a much pricier option, their very own passenger flight.

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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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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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