ALL POSTS IN [Festivals and Celebrations]

Each year, half a million spectators line the streets of 8 consecutive Massachusetts towns to cheer on the 25,000 runners attempting to finish the winding, hilly 26.2 miles that make up the Boston Marathon. Held on Patriots’ Day — a Massachusetts holiday commemorating the beginning of the American Revolution — Boston’s marathon is the oldest and one of the most famous in the world.  

But the marathon, in recent years, has obscured some other – much older – Patriots’ Day traditions.

Friday Freebie- Patriots' Day

Get a free dose of history this weekend at one of the many battle reenactments and demonstrations going on in the picturesque towns of Lexington and Concord. This Saturday, watch as 300 British and Colonial troops demonstrate the “Bloody Angle Battle.” Or get an up-close look at Parker’s Revenge when the Lexington militia company ambushes a group of British soldiers. Hartwell Tavern and the Captain William Smith House –2 historic sites that have been restored to revolutionary-era glory — will also be free and open to the public this weekend. READ MORE

There’s no better time to visit San Francisco than in April, after the rainy season has ended and before the summer fog settles over the city. You don’t have to be religious to have a hippity hoppin’ good time this weekend at the city’s annual Spring Celebration and Easter Parade

Final Four

Now in its 21st year, the event runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. this Sunday, April 8. Not only will kids get to meet the Easter bunny himself (you’d think he’d be too tired after all those basket deliveries!), but they’ll also  get to ride ponies, play with all kinds of adorable furry creatures at the petting zoo, bounce around in inflatable houses and test their climbing skills on the rock wall. READ MORE

DC Cherry Blossoms

Few spring scenes inspire instant happiness like the cherry blossoms in full bloom on a sunny day on the National Mall. You’ve got to see them. A stroll around the Tidal Basin (despite the number of tourists) is absolutely necessary if you’re in DC over the next few weeks. Those pinky-white blooms scream “spring is here!” like nothing else. This year is particularly special because it’s the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the United States.

If you’re in DC this weekend, you’ll find a surprising number of free events that coincide with the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The opening ceremony will be held on Sunday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and will feature Grammy-nominated singer Sara Bareilles, plus other local and Japanese performers. While the event is free, you still need to register online for a ticket. READ MORE

by Jimmy Im

It’s not all about tacos and margaritas anymore.

Last week in Cancun, spring-break revelers flooded the bars and clubs for a Mexican-style St. Patrick’s Day, while Jersey Shore‘s Snooki and JWoww filmed scenes for a new show at Beach Palace Resort. But while nightlife remains an iconic fixture of the destination, Cancun has been luring a new type of traveler: foodies. From March 15 to 18, hundreds of visitors participated in the inauguration of the region’s first food and wine festival, a boon for Cancun’s growing culinary scene.

Cancun Food

The Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival proved that Mexican gastronomy is no joke — in fact, traditional Mexican cuisine has been named to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list — as almost 30 world-renowned chefs from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the US brought their culinary flair to the region to celebrate the local cuisine and introduce their own techniques to an emerging culinary destination.

Headlining the event was Ferran Adria from the highly touted elBulli restaurant, universally known as the world’s best restaurant for several years. (It closed in 2009.) While the festival honored Ferran at a gala reception and dinner, more than 30 culinary events were also open to the public.

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There’s no better place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than Boston (well, OK, besides Ireland).  Boston has one of the highest concentrations of Irish pubs (and people of Irish descent) in the US, and St. Paddy’s Day celebrations date back to the days before the American Revolution. But if you’re not interested in fighting through the throngs of people day-drinking along the parade route in “Southie,” put on all the green clothes you can find and head to Faneuil Hall for some family fun.

Irish step dancers

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Faneuil Hall will feature free live entertainment on the West End Stage. Performers will include bagpipers, Irish step dancers and other Irish musical groups. We know you’ve been practicing your jig for just this occasion! READ MORE

by Amanda DiGiondomenico

To celebrate that extra day we’ve been granted this leap year, many travel destinations — from Orlando to South Africa – are trying to make those extra 24 hours worth your while. Instead of wasting away your leap day, let these 5 travel ideas inspire you to make the day something to remember.

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One More Disney Day
For starters, Disney wants your leap day to be extra magical, so they are officially calling leap day, “One More Disney Day.” To commemorate the day, Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando’s Disney World and Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, will be open 24 hours straight. Once the gates open at 6 a.m. on Feb. 29, Mickey fans can have the run of the park until the rides shut down at 6 a.m. on March 1. The lines will probably be short in the wee hours of the morning, offering maximum opportunities to ride.

Leap at Martha’s Vineyard
If peace and quiet are more your speed, then head to Martha’s Vineyard for a little rest and relaxation. But don’t take yourself too seriously there; at the Vineyard Square Hotel you can score a free bottle of wine if you bring a photograph of yourself leaping over something. So let loose, find the closest leap-able object and bring someone who has a camera.

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by Troy Petenbrink

In the beginning, New Mexico didn’t get much respect; early opponents of statehood said New Mexico’s cultural diversity and rural territory were actually liabilities. Today, those same reasons are what make America’s 47th state worth visiting.

New Mexico Pueblo House

This year, New Mexico celebrates its 100th year of statehood, making it the perfect time to discover (or rediscover) the state’s rich past and promising future. Here are 6 ideas to make a New Mexico trip memorable:

6) Explore History From the Pueblos to the Atomic Age
History lovers can explore the 2,000-year-old Acoma Pueblo atop a towering sandstone mesa; its responsible for the state’s nickname, “Sky City.” The 19 pueblos across New Mexico allow visitors to learn more about its native people.

Fast-forward to the 1940s: New Mexico’s vital role in ending World War II can be explored at Los Alamos, one of the primary locations for the Manhattan Project and home to the Bradbury Science Museum, which documents the history of the famed nuclear weapons project. Also tour Trinity Site, the location of the first atomic bomb explosion (it’s open for public visits twice a year); and The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, located outside of Albuquerque, NM.

5) Stroll a Mile-Long Stretch of Galleries
Art and culture encompass nearly every aspect of New Mexico. There’s Native American pottery and jewelry made throughout the pueblos; Santa Fe’s mile-long stretch of galleries on Canyon Road; and the many museums in Taos, NM.

You can also learn about one of New Mexico’s most famous artists, Georgia O’Keeffe. Walk among the inspiring majestic landscapes that surround her two homes — Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu– where she lived until 1984. View the largest single repository of her work at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in downtown Santa Fe.

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New Year's in New York City's Time Square

Before you ring in 2012, remember the year in travel. Travel Channel’s Year in Photos slideshow captures several memorable events around the world, including the Austria’s World Bodypainting Festival, the Middle East’s revolutionary demonstrations, the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in NYC, DC’s MLK Memorial opening, and Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano eruption.

We also remember 2011 with When Nature Attacks, a look back at some of the most devastating natural disasters around the world. And don’t forget to check Travel Channel’s Most Memorable Moments of 2011, which highlights fun moments from some from our TV shows, including No Reservations, Ghost Adventures, Bizarre Foods and The Dead Files.

In addition to this slideshow, we also take a look ahead at the upcoming College Bowl Championship series, what’s hot in and what’s out in travel, and our TV show hosts give you the dish on their new year’s resolutions. So start your New Year off right, with a look back and a look ahead, on TravelChannel.com!

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Port St. Charles Marina in Barbados

So, you've decided to take a break from all the schmoozing with celebrity chefs at the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival, and you want to experience the best of Barbados. We have a few suggestions. Check out our slideshow of things to do while on the island and read our top 5 picks below.

1. Hit the beach. There are more than 70 miles of beach to explore in Barbados with no shortage of water sports. Snorkel with sea turtles, go jet-skiing or just drift in a small sail boat. The most pristine beaches are in the south, while surfers will find paradise in the east at Bathesheba.

2. Go to the Oistin’s Fish Fry. Everybody is there on Friday nights, so don’t be the only one to miss out on some of the best food the island has to offer. Stop by Pat’s for the fried or grilled flying fish platter for a mere $10. Have a Banks, the local beer, to wash it all down, then stroll around the open food and craft market and join in the dancing to reggae and soca beats. READ MORE

By Robin Bennefield

Tony in Singapore

Barbados’s appeal has nothing to do with its sizzling 80 to 90 degree temps, but everything to do who’s going there — and why. Celebrity chefs like Top Chef‘s Tom Colicchio and Top Chef Masters‘ Marcus Samuelsson have discovered the tiny Caribbean island and claimed it as their food paradise, bringing the foodies who love them along for some fun in the sun. Today marks the close of the second annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival, a weekend-long event featuring 20 food-focused activities all around the island.

Beautiful Bajan beaches and Barbados’s best resorts were the backdrop for cooking demonstrations by Colicchio and Samuelsson, as well as Ming Tsai, Mark McEwan and Bruno Loubet. On Saturday night, the chefs served up some of their best fare to well-dressed fans at a party at an exclusive polo estate, as wine, rum and champagne flowed.Tsai joked with guests as he plated and passed out tastes of ahi tuna, while Colicchio posed for pics and Samuelsson and his model wife made the rounds. READ MORE

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