ALL POSTS TAGGED "[festival]"

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

 

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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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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Mexico’s Ancient Ruins
Ghoulish Ghost Tours
Destination Fear

Photography by Getty Images

Every Labor Day weekend the tranquil waters of Prospect Lake are turned into nature’s most whimsical looking glass. More »

 

Getty Images

This weekend Thailand celebrated its New Year, know as Songkran, with the world’s biggest water fight. Songkran is an annual Buddhist holiday that traditionally calls for Thais to visit elders and temples on the first day of the year. The days leading up to the New Year are less serious and filled with epic water battles across the country. For the 3 days leading up to the New Year, there isn’t a dry spot in Thailand, as the “Land of Smiles” fills its water guns and buckets and takes to the streets for the celebratory dousing of passersby. This festival is based on a renewal and cleansing tradition stemming from the water blessing in temples for the New Year. Each year this all-out water fight only gets bigger — and wetter– in Thailand.

Last year, I unintentionally planned a vacation to Thailand during Songkran. As a tourist, I didn’t know what to expect. I prepared myself with a waterproof camera case, a poncho (that proved useless) and the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mindset — I bought a water gun in a Thai market for protection. As most tourists who find themselves in Thailand during Songkran can probably attest, I felt lucky to be here to witness something so unique and at the heart of the country’s culture: a veritable national party.

Thailand, a country already so well-known for its hospitality, welcomes droves of tourists during Songkran to join in its annual water fight. So take it as a compliment if you get soaked with a water gun here. It means they like you.

During the 3 days of Songkran, I was lucky enough to see 3 different cities celebrate it.  The first day of Songkran, I was in Pai, a small mountain town in the north of Thailand. Pai has become a favorite among expats and tourists looking for a nature reprieve from Thailand’s congested bigger cities. The small town of Pai is centered around one main street and everyone in the town seemed to be on it during Songkan — either in a truck filled with young mischievous water-throwers with trashcan-size buckets full of water or lined up on the streets for a prime spot to watch the action. And as I would learn repeatedly throughout Songkan, the ultimate target for drenching during the festival is always the tourist. My introduction to Songkran in Pai began when I was ambushed by a group of young monks armed with super soakers (see photo).

Photography by Stephanie Price

Next stop on the Songrkan tour was Chiang Mai, my absolute favorite city in Thailand, less touristy and globalized than Bangkok, but still with plenty to see, do and taste. As our bus from Pai pulled up to the gates of Chiang Mai, I quickly realized that Pai was just a trickle of water fights compared with this city’s all-out water war. There was no shortage of water in Chiang Mai either, as the fuel for this 3-day water fight here mostly comes from the river that runs through the city. By the second city, my travel companions and I had amped up our ammunition; water guns just weren’t as effective — or as fun — as entire buckets filled with water.

 

Photography by Stephanie Price

Our last stop on the Songran tour was Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital city. This was also the last night of the celebrations before people throughout the country would flock to temples for a more serious (and drier) day with family — but not before one last big splash. So we found ourselves in the epicenter of the country’s water festival, on the biggest night, in Thailand’s biggest city. Think New Year’s Eve in Times Square, but instead of noisemakers, everyone’s armed with water guns. Our hotel was smack dab in the middle of the action on Khao San Road, a 0.5-mile-long strip full of bars, restaurants, hotels, stores and heaps of tourists mostly of the young budget-traveler type.

As I learned firsthand, staying dry as you walk through Khao San Road is the least of your problems during Songkran. I could barely walk through this street because it was so crowded with Songkran revelers. While Thais are generally known to be laid-back people  – often, you can even escape the water splashing if you just shake your head or hand — we found no such luck here. No matter how much we pleaded, we couldn’t escape getting soaked in Bangkok. The water battle on Khao San Road was unlike anything I could have imagined. Few would ever take a camera out here to document the craziness for risk of it getting ruined. Luckily, neither did I.

On the early morning of the New Year, after a final night of water mayhem, we were due to fly home. We woke up and breathed a sigh of relief that finally the crowds on Khao San Road had gone home and we could skip the bathing suit under our clothes and poncho for the trip to the airport. So we packed into a tuk-tuk (Thailand’s rickshaw) with all of our luggage (cabs were nowhere to be found on this national holiday) and headed to the airport. But to our utter surprise, we received one final drenching at a stoplight from a truck that still had a bucket of water in the back from the night before.

Soaked and carrying our wet bags, we arrived at the airport laughing, knowing there was no better way to leave Thailand than with one big splash.

 

Where’s the best place to practice yoga? Paradise. More specifically, Wanderlust O’ahu, the one-of-a kind festival that features yoga, music, surfing and plenty of Hawaiian culture on the fabled North Shore. Typically a summer festival that’s held in mountain resort areas, Wanderlust kicked off its 2013 season by leaving the mainland for its first-ever beach location in the Aloha state.

photo by Mike Bernard

When I attended my first Wanderlust at Whistler last August, I was immediately hooked on the unique vibe of this festival that combines world-class yogis, outdoor adventure, organic wining and dining and dancing under the stars to crowd-pleasing bands.

But Wanderlust at a more intimate setting on one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches? Mindful-living magic.

Away from the crowds of Waikiki, Wanderlust O’ahu was held at Turtle Bay Resort, an 880-acre paradise that sits on the northernmost tip of the North Shore with 5 miles of remote beachfront. Yogis down-dogged by the crystal blue ocean (or on the ocean if they attempted stand-up paddleboard yoga) with palm trees swaying and 15-foot waves breaking nearby. Hawaiian surf legends Gerry Lopez and Rochelle Ballard taught yoga classes and shared their surf-yoga connection during evening speakeasies. Wanderlust-ers got a taste of Hawaiian culture with surf, ukulele and hula lessons. And every day in paradise was topped off with dancing under the stars – with musical acts like Michael Franti and Friends and ALO.

photo by Ali Kaukas

While every moment at Wanderlust O’ahu felt perfect, my favorite moment had to be the spontaneous “trance dance” party led by yoga goddess Shiva Rea and Wanderlust musical mainstay Michael Franti. Picture over a thousand people jumping and dancing to the infectious beats of Michael Franti under the Hawaiian sunshine (in comfy yoga pants, of course).  Pure happiness.

See Michael Franti lead the dance party in the festival highlights video. Check out images of Wanderlust O’ahu in our slideshow. And get more highlights of the festival in my Postcard From Wanderlust O’ahu.

photo by Kathleen Rellihan

Don’t worry,  there are still many chances to experience Wanderlust this year. It’s just gearing up for its 2013 summer season, with all the mainland events tickets on sale now: Wanderlust Vermont, Jun 20-23; Wanderlust Colorado, July 3-7; Wanderlust California, July 18-21; and Wanderlust Whistler, August 1-4. Don’t miss out on advanced pricing, which ends March 26. Ticket prices will go up, so now is the time to book your Wanderlust adventure. And the earlier you book, the more likely you’ll get into the popular classes, which fill up quickly.

Where will your wanderlust take you this year? I have a feeling mine will take me back to another Wanderlust festival.

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