What better way to show off your love for “the land of the free and the home of the brave” than with a visit to this weekend’s aptly named “Star-Spangled Sailabration” in Baltimore? Put on your American flag pants (or bowtie!) and scoot down to this weeklong festival, which commemorates the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the writing of every American’s favorite tune … “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
This Saturday, ditch your spot on the couch and get moving in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day. Each of the 132 different celebrations nationwide will promote healthy living and outdoor activities through their information centers and “active fun areas.” Brush up on your survival skills, learn to fish and pitch a tent, or have your photo taken with Smokey the Bear! READ MORE
Fleet Week in New York City …
Remember that Sex and the City episode when Carrie meets a sailor from Louisiana? It didn’t work out too well for her, but the rest of the ladies enjoyed the Fleet Week festivities. This past week was Fleet Week in New York City and sailors, marines and coasties took over Manhattan for parades, concerts and other events. READ MORE
Cannes Film Festival …
Stars descended on the small French Riviera town this week for the beginning of the annual Cannes Film Festival. Among the guests was “The Dictator,” a character played by actor Sacha Baron Cohen in the upcoming movie of the same name. READ MORE
NBC’s 17th annual TODAY Summer Concert Series kicks off (appropriately) … today! If you’re an early bird and in Manhattan on any Friday this summer, head down to Rockefeller Plaza around 6 a.m. to stake out your spot for a free live show. Usher is the first on the all-star roster of performers, which also includes Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, Train and Jason Mraz. READ MORE
By Jimmy Im
The 2012 Mayan Doomsday is upon us (insert maniacal laughter). You’d think most travelers would make plans to avoid archaeological Mayan sites on Dec. 21, but it’s in fact the other way around — and with good reason.
“End of the World” packages and tours have skyrocketed with the upcoming Dec. 12 date, which Hollywood deems the end of the world (according to experts, the Mayan calendar simply indicates Dec. 21 starts a new life cycle). There’s so much popularity around this date that Mayan-civilized countries once at the top of their game (including Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and, of course, Mexico) have seen a growth in hotel and tour bookings for next December. READ MORE
This week, big-name acts rocked out at Jazz Fest, One Word Trade Center became NYC’s tallest building, and Queen Elizabeth II continued her tour of the UK to mark her 60th year as monarch.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival …
The 42nd annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival kicked off with performances by the Beach Boys, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffet, along with many local musicians like Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. This weekend is set to be just as epic: Zac Brown Band, Ziggy Marley, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, the Foo Fighters, the Eagles and local bands like Rebirth Brass Band are all slated to perform. READ MORE
Whether you are actually celebrating the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla … or just looking for an excuse to eat tacos and have a margarita and a few cervezas, there are plenty of free celebrations going on around the country Saturday for Cinco de Mayo. On the 150th anniversary of the battle, the celebrations are sure to be crazier than ever, so don’t miss out! Check out a few of our picks for great, free celebrations:
Yes — Omaha! The Nebraska celebration includes the coronation of a queen, concerts, carnival games, rides and, of course, Mexican food!
The annual celebration in Denver is one of the biggest (believe it or not!), with almost 400,000 people joining in the celebrations over the past few years. Admission to Civic Center Park is free, and attendees can enjoy the traditional Mexican music played by various mariachi bands, taste Mexican tamales and tacos, and participate in the Green Chili Bowl Cook-Off. READ MORE
This week, giant puppets (yes, you read right) put on a show on the streets of Liverpool, England. Over 600,000 people turned out for the 3-day performance. Entitled “Sea Odyssey,” the show was a tribute to the Titanic, one of the many commemorative events held this month for the 100th anniversary of the ship’s tragic end.
Titanic Recreation …
A 30-foot-tall Little Girl Giant wandered the city of Liverpool with her dog Xolo, looking for her father who drowned when the Titanic sank. Luckily, her 50-foot-tall uncle was there to comfort her. The production, which ended with the giant puppets boarding a boat out of the city, was staged by the French street theatre company Royal de Luxe. It took 110 puppeteers and multiple cranes to operate the enormous marionettes. READ MORE
On April 17, visitors milling about on the National Mall in Washington, DC, got to snap some quick photos of a once-in-a-lifetime event –Space Shuttle Discovery’s very last flight. It wasn’t flying solo though; the space shuttle was mounted to a 747 carrier aircraft as it was transported to its final resting place at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Now that’s an awesome photo-op! Discovery replaced Space Shuttle Enterprise, which has now been loaded onto a 747 to be flown to JFK International Airport on Monday, April 23. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City will become the new home for the Enterprise.
This week also marked the start of the 100-day countdown to the 2012 London Olympic Games, sparking celebrations around the world. BMX Riders got air at the “100 Days Out” event held in Times Square; torch bearers unveiled a garden planted to resemble the Olympic rings — made out of over 20,000 flowers and plants — at London’s Kew Gardens; and Coca-Cola hosted a giant celebration in front of the famed Bird’s Nest in Beijing. Only 98 day left to go! READ MORE