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Catching the OBX Bug
Can you imagine a drive through the eastern coastal plains of North Carolina and through the marshy Dismal Swamp area to arrive at the beach?
A week and a half ago, I ventured to the easternmost part of North Carolina for a family vacation with my parents. We spent the second year in a row on the Outer Banks, the barrier islands known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. We left our home in the Piedmont in the late morning and drove past Raleigh and onto NC-64, through the area sometimes known as the Inner Banks, which consists of the Albemarle Region.
The drive through that region was peaceful and interesting, which made the five hour trip more bearable. We crossed over the Alligator River and then crossed the Bypass Bridge to Nags Head. We proceeded up north to our vacation rental in Southern Shores.
I noticed some highlights as we passed through the communities of Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk. I caught a glimpse of Jennette’s Pier as we passed through the Whalebone Junction. We first drove by the resort town of Nags Head, which has no shortage of shopping centers, grocery stores, kite shops, a bowling alley, and even a Tanger Outlets! The Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Westside of the Outer Banks is among my bucket list of places to go.
We made our way into Kill Devil Hills and I spotted the Wright Memorial on my left. I went there with my father, last year. I still remember the ranger telling the story with great detail, including the flights with the plane. After passing Kitty Hawk to the small, residential community of Southern Shores, we had arrived to our little flat-top cottage, where we would spend the rest of the week.
That evening, after dinner, I strolled down to the beach access and caught this beauty by 8 PM, that Friday night.
We spent the week, resting and healing ourselves after working hard for the past few months. The weather was more humid and hot than last year, when we had the windows open the entire week. However, the rains made the temperature more bearable. My brother drove down on the succeeding Monday with my sister-in-law and my 4 year old niece, who I noticed had grown several inches since the past year.
The highlight of my trip was a day trip to Corolla in Currituck County. I have many bucket list items, including a glimpse at the wild ponies, a tour of the historic Whalehead Club, taking a stroll through historic Corolla, and climbing the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Luckily, for me, I checked one item off that list.
Commissioned in 1 December 1875, the red brick lighthouse was not painted, unlike the better-known Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Bodie Island Lighthouse just south of Nags Head. The Currituck Beach Light towers above the historic Corolla Village and was the last major brick lighthouse built on the Outer Banks. My father and I made the 220 steps to the top, stopping to take a breath at each exhibit about the history of the structure. The views once we reached the top made the harrowing climb worthwhile.
View of the historic Whalehead Club
The beacon light of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, contains the largest of seven Fresnel lens. 20 second flash cycle (one for 3 seconds, off for 17) The light can be seen for 18 nautical miles.
My mom cooked the majority of our meals. She made a variety of foods, including shrimp tacos, crab cake, a tomato and mozzarella cheese pizza on the grill, and a seafood boil that contained andouille sausage, boiled potatoes, crab legs, clams, and shrimp. I also ate out three times, including a trip with my brother and his family to Spanky’s Grille, and a lunch with the whole family to the Black Pelican.
The Black Pelican in Kitty Hawk was my favorite restaurant I’ve been to in the Outer Banks. We split an order of fried calamari with a marinara dipping sauce. The calamari was cooked perfectly and was not too tough. For my entrée, I ate an order of fried oysters and a side of French fries which I enjoyed very much. I also enjoyed the atmosphere of the old, historic lifesaving station, and got a kick out of the constant presence of the Wright Brothers, including one of their signature dishes!
My second trip to the Outer Banks did not disappoint. I am already dreaming of a third visit in as many summers, and even a visit to Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island some day in the future.
What are your favorite places to go on the Outer Banks? What other destinations would you suggest to spend the summer vacation? Please leave a comment and tell me of YOUR experiences.
Great Blog Post about Dublin, Ireland
As a young American of Irish descent from both paternal and maternal lines, Ireland is second to England on my international bucket list.
Check out this blog post about Dublin.
Action Travel 2017 Group Tours
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Spring 2016 Events
Save the Date – Upcoming Events for 2016
Looking for something to do this weekend or next weekend or maybe in the month of April? We’ve gathered the upcoming festivals, celebrations, conventions and more. Check back weekly for new additions (in red)!
March 2016 Events
March 4-13—Bike Week, celebrating its 75th year, has been a favorite event of bikers since the first running of the Daytona 200, but now the signature event is the AMSOIL Treasure Hunt that sends participates all over the city, from Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront to the Daytona Diner, in search of cool giveaways. (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
March 5-13—The Philadelphia Flower Show is the longest running indoor flower show, which draws more than 265,000 visitors each year to the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
March 10-13—Back for its 13th year, the San Francisco Triathlon International Ocean Film Festivalshowcases independent films that reveal the wonders of marine life and hope to foster an increased awareness for the underwater environment.
March 10-13—Celebrate the voices and experiences of Asian Americans through films, TV shows, digital media, music, and food at the CAAM Fest in San Francisco and Oakland.
March 11-20—Originally an independent music showcase, SXSW (or South by Southwest) in Austin presents film and technological premiers, but indie performers are still beloved. John Mayer and James Blunt were “discovered” at this festival.
March 12—Dannic will be playing at the Oasis Beach Club in Cancun as part of the Oasis Dance U concert series at The Pyramid, Luxury at the Grand Oasis and Grand Oasis Cancun.
March 12-13—The second largest Florida Keys event, the Original Marathon Seafood Festival draws more than 20,000 spectators and offers live music, games for children and a rock-climbing wall, raffle giveaways, vendors and a Keys artist village and art show, plus fresh local seafood, including lobster tails, stone carb, fish, shrimp, and more.
March 13—The culminating event of Carnaval Miami, Calle Ocho is a 23-block street festival that takes over Little Havana (Miami) with food and drink from local restaurants, a domino tournament, a cooking contest, a run, soccer games, and more.
March 16-20—Toronto Sportsmen’s Show, Canada’s biggest and best outdoors show, returns to the International Centre with exhibitions in fishing, outdoor adventures, and hunting, including a $75,000 casting pond, celebrity outdoorsman and women, axe throwing, chainsaw carver, and a spring boat show.
March 18-20—More than 20,000 people attend the ¡Latin Food Fest! for the kick-off party, two days of endless tastings, culinary demonstrations, an iron mixologist competition, and private chef dinners at Grand Park, Los Angeles, Calif.
March 19—Pop sensation Charlie Puth performs at the Imperial Ballroom as part of Atlantis’ Spring Break Concert Series. Charlie is best known for his single “Marvin Gaye” with Meghan Trainor, “One Call Away,” and “Some Type of Love.”
March 19-20—The 6th Annual South Florida Pet Expo offers giveaways, discounted vaccinations, free nail trims, lure chasing and obedience demonstrations, live entertainment, and a “mega-adoption event” at the South Florida Expo Center (West Palm Beach, Fl.). Don’t forget to bring your pet!
March 19—DVBBS will be playing at the Oasis Beach Club in Cancun as part of the Oasis Dance U concert series at The Pyramid, Luxury at the Grand Oasis and Grand Oasis Cancun.
March 19-20—The Travel and Adventure Show, the number one series of travel shows in America, heads to Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Convention Center with keynote speakers Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel, Wendy Perrin of WendyPerrin.com, Patricia Schultz of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, and Peter Greenberg of CBS Travel.
March 20—The 10th annual Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon also holds races in the One Mile and 50m Dash categories, and begins at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia.
March 20—The Equinox at Chichén Itza produces a play of light and shadow on the pyramid to create the appearance of a serpent undulating down the stairwell to connect with the snake-head sculpture at the base, a natural sight not to be missed.
March 20-April 17—Billed as the nation’s greatest springtime festival, the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. includes of Pink Tie Party fundraiser, a kick-off concert, a kite festival, and a parade on the level of the spectacular of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
March 23-April 5—The Miami Open lures top tennis players to Key Biscayne for one of the premier tournaments in the United States.
March 24-26—The newest Art Basel takes on Hong Kong, showcasing regional artists from Asia and Asia-Pacific with cross-cultural themes, gallerists, collectors, and visitors.
March 26—The newest hit group DNCE, featuring Joe Jonas, rocks Atlantis’ Imperial Ballroom. “Cake by the Ocean,” the band’s debut single, has rocketed to the top of pop charts and was even featured on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking Eve.
March 26—Cash Cash will be playing at the Oasis Beach Club in Cancun as part of the Oasis Dance U concert series at The Pyramid, Luxury at the Grand Oasis and Grand Oasis Cancun.
April 2016 Events
April 3—The Opening Day for the MLB is here, and you can see games in Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Kansas City on the first day of play. The “traditional” start of the season—the following Monday—sees 12 games in all. The first 15-game day will be that Friday, April 8. (Book your away games now at your travel agent!)
April 5-9—In its fifth year, Nashville Fashion Week celebrates local and national talent, and helps to create opportunities for designers, models, stylists, boutique owners, and more, in middle Tennessee.
April 8-10—The largest single-day even in Miami Beach is the Gay Pride Parade, welcoming more than 80,000 spectators with glittery costumes, rainbow flags, and vintage cars down Ocean Drive. Also, enjoy the special events like beach parties, a 5k race, a high heels race, and other outdoor entertainment.
April 9-10—The 6th Annual Houston Pet Expo offers giveaways, discounted vaccinations, free nail trims, lure chasing and obedience demonstrations, live entertainment, and a “mega-adoption event” at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Don’t forget to bring your pet!
April 10-12—Join more than 80,000 participants for the Miami Beach Gay Pride Festival for a two-day non-stop celebration with the High Heel Race, Gay Pride Parade, and Miami Pride Cruise, and nightclub parties.
April 14-20—For the sixth year, the San Francisco Green Film Festival brings together environmental experts, filmmakers, and more than 60 films to create discussions and hopefully foster change in pressing environment issues.
April 14-23—Nashville Film Festival celebrates its 47th year with more than 280 films from 55 countries, from documentaries to features to shorts, and offers panels and workshops. It has been named one of the top five film festivals in the U.S. by Brooks Institute.
create opportunities for designers, models, stylists, boutique owners, and more, in middle Tennessee.
April 16-17—The 7th Annual Phoenix Pet Expo offers giveaways, discounted vaccinations, free nail trims, live entertainment, obedience demonstrations, and a “mega-adoption event” at the WestWorld of Scottsdale. Don’t forget to bring your pet!
April 18—On Patriot’s Day, when the first battle of the American Revolution was fought, Boston and its surrounding towns commemorate with dramatic reenactments like Paul Revere’s midnight ride and battles on Lexington Green and Old North Bridge in Concord. Boston officially observes Patriot’s Day the third Monday in April, though the true date is April 19.
April 21-May 5—The longest-running film festival in the Americas, the San Francisco International Film Festival, returns for its 59th year with competitions in feature films, documentaries, new media work, musical performances, and more. Last year’s event had more than 250 screenings of 183 films from 47 countries
April 22-May 1—New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival welcomes more than 150,000 visitors a day to 12 stages for soulful music, American pop, and harmonic church hymns, plus Creole favorite dishes!
April 22-May 1—Free classes, performances, open rehearsals, lecture demonstrations, plus the kick-off event, One Dance, which brings together more than 700 people for one…y’know, dance, make Bay Area Dance Week a celebration of all types of movements, including tango, jazz, hip hop, ballet, hulu, fire dance, Samba, and more. .
April 23—This date marks the 400th anniversary of the death of The Bard, William Shakespeare. ThoughKing’s College London has arranged performances, screenings, and exhibitions for the whole year,Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace) will be holding a procession from Shakespeare’s home to Holy Trinity Church, where he is buried.
April 23—What goes best with hot air balloons? If you said, “Rugby!” you’d be correct! Head to Scottsdale, Ariz. for The Fiesta Bowl Rugby & Balloon Classic to see the Arizona State University rugby team take on the Mexican National Rugby Union Team, and see the Darth Vader and Yoda hot-air balloons and a nightglow.
April 24-May 3—More than 65 films over 10 days educate the public about LGBT experiences in the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival with various venues throughout Miami and Miami Beach.
April 25—The Red Hook Crit Series of bicycling (for pros only) is back in Brooklyn with qualifying heats, a last chance race, a women’s crit, and a men’s crit. (New York City)
April 27-May 1—Billed as “Florida’s largest waterfront music and art festival, SunFest in West Palm Beach is five-days of top acts like Ellie Goulding, Robin Thicke, and Alice in Chains plus palm trees, a Margaritaville vibe, and a smattering of genres.
April 29-30—The Bike Expo New York is America’s most-attended consumer bike expo, and is free and open to the public. Join more than 60,000 cyclists for this entertaining workshop and learn the basics, from how to fix a flat to how to prep for a professional race.
April 29-May 1—Wildflower Triathlon, part of the Tri-California Events, has been called “The Woodstock for Triathlon,” “Triathlon Back to the Basic Roots,” and “Elites Favorite Race,” and this weekend, try your hand at three challenging courses—long course, sprint distance, and Olympic distance, with swimming, biking, running. (Lake San Antonio, Calif.)
April 29-May 1—Kicking off the Memphis in May festival, Beale Street Music Festival draws more than 100,000 music enthusiasts for three days of blues and other genres, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, the Sunset Symphony, and more.
April 29-May 8—Imagine a jazz and R&B festival on beaches, in a jungle, or even near a volcano, and you have the St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival in Pigeon Island, St. Lucia. Don’t miss free jam sessions in Rodney Bay restaurants and bars in the evenings or zouk and soca bands for epic dance sessions.
April 30-May 1—The 5th Annual Tamp Bay Pet Expo offers giveaways, discounted vaccinations, free nail trims, lure chasing and obedience demonstrations, live entertainment, and a “mega-adoption event” at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Don’t forget to bring your pet!
April 30-May30—The West Coast’s premier design event, The San Francisco Decorator Showcase features the work of the area’s top interior and landscape designers and benefits the San Francisco University High School Financial Aid Program, drawing more than 20,000 visitors every year.
May 2016 Events
May 1—The TD Five Boro Bike Tour is back, offering 40 automobile-free miles across New York City for this once-a-year opportunity with 32,000 of your cycling friends. The bike tour starts at Franklin St. at Church St.
May 1-31—The world’s largest annual photography event returns to Toronto with the Scotiabank CONTACT, a month-long festival of photography in more than 175 venues, including billboards, major public museums, private galleries, and the Pearson International Airport, showcasing international artists’ and local photographers’ talent.
May 5-8—Presented in part by the Louisiana Office of Tourism, Gator by the Bay in San Diego is a Zydeco, Blues, and Crawfish Festival with Cajun and creole food, cooking demonstrations, more than 85 musical performances on seven stages, and a Mardi Gras parade.
May 6-7—What do you expect the 2016 Paradise Chocolate Fest to have? How about a 5k Walk/Run and a 10k run called “Chocolate Chase,” an evening of chocolate, wine, and brew, and a motorcycle run (on May 14), plus free chocolate pie, ice cream eating contests, chocolate samples, carnival games, and concerts? (Paradise, Calif.)
May 6—Mariah Carey kicks off her residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Entitled “MARIAH #1 TO INFINITY,” the show will feature all 18 of Mariah’s timeless and beloved No. 1 hits in one concert.
May 7—Uncorked Wine Festival takes over Ghirardelli Square and Beach Street with top-tier wines, local food, and entertainment. We’re pretty sure chocolate is somehow involved in this, too. (San Francisco)
May 7—The Capitol Pet Expo offers giveaways, discounted vaccinations, free nail trims, agility and obedience demonstrations, live entertainment, and a “mega-adoption event” at the Show Place Arena. Don’t forget to bring your pet!
May 11-15—The largest Women’s Week celebration happens in Miami at Aqua Girl with South Beach nightclubs, a comedy night, pool and beach parties, a jazz brunch, and a rock concert to promote LGBTQ wellness and equality.
May 16-22—Wild West Comedy Festival welcomes major headliners in comedy, such as Jeff Foxworthy, Trevor Noah, and Jay and Silent Bob, to historic venues in Nashville, like the Ryman Auditorium, War Memorial Auditorium, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, and Zanies.
May 16-29—Don’t miss the high-paced action of the 100th Running of the Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Two full weeks of events lead up to the main race, including the pit stop competition, a concert featuring Journey, and the Indy Lights Freedom 100. (Indianapolis, Ind.)
May 19-June 5—The San Francisco International Arts Festival present world-class international artists from more than 50 countries whose work has not presented in the U.S. in more than 200 arts. Last year’s festival showcased artists from Colombia, England, France, Japan, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and more.
May 21—The 33rd Annual San Francisco International Beer Festival presents awesome beer and food pairings, and price of admission includes entrance into the festival, unlimited beer sampling in a four-ounce souvenir mug, unlimited food sampling, and live music.
May 20-22—Originally organized to bring visitors back to the gulf after BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Hangout Music Festival is a music festival…on a beach! (Gulf Shores, Ala.)
May 21—Some of the world’s best craft brewers gather in the historic Fort Mason Center to benefit the Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School at the 34th annual San Francisco International Beer Festival. All guests must be 21 and older to attend.
May 21—Los Músicos de José and Tower of Power will be playing at the Oasis Arena in Cancun as part of the Oasis Jazz U concert series at The Pyramid, Luxury at the Grand Oasis and Grand Oasis Cancun.
May 24—Help decide who wins the Golden Clam Award for best New England-style “chowda” at the 26th Annual Chowderfest & Brews in Waterville, N.H.
May 26—Brooklyn Uncorked celebrates its 10th anniversary with award-winning local wines and delicious eats from popular restaurants in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including Hunter’s, Paulaner NYC, Red Trail Ridge Winery, and Wainscott Main Wine and Spirits.
May 26—Alcatraz Challenge, part of the Tri-California Events, includes a 1.5-mile swim in the San Francisco Bay and a seven-mile run over the Golden Gate Bridge; choose a hotel in the Marina District or near Pier 3 to be close to the race action. (San Francisco)
May 27-29—Summer Camp Music Festival is just what it sounds like, a summer camp for grown-ups with field day competitions, sunrise kickball, late-night concerts, and musical workshops. (Chillicothe, Ill.)
May 27-30—Sasquatch! gathers more than 20,000 a performance to a concert venue called The Gorge, a natural amphitheater in Quincy, Wash. for an intimate music experience in the Pacific Northwest.
May 28—Fiusha and Chaka Khan will be playing at the Oasis Arena in Cancun as part of the Oasis Jazz U concert series at The Pyramid, Luxury at the Grand Oasis and Grand Oasis Cancun.
May 28-29—Toronto is the first city in North America and largest in Canada to host Doors Open, which welcomes visitors to explore the history, architecture, culture, and social significance of more than 150 buildings across the city.
Summer 2016 Events
June 2016 Events
June 2-5—Learning experiences, tasting events, classes, dinner, and talent chefs from D.C. to Texas make the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival the nation’s first culinary celebration dedicated exclusively to southern food and drink.
June 2-5—Think about your favorite country festival and then add in cherry everything? That’s what you’ll find at the Beaumont Cherry Festival, back for its 90th year. And don’t miss the parade and car show! (Beaumont, Calif.)
June 3-5—The Governors Ball Music Festival, also known as “GovBall,” offers three days of music excitement with A-list headliners and veteran talent with local fare, vegetarian options, and more, in New York City.
June 4-5—The Seattle Pet Expo heads to the Washington State Convention Center to help educate pet owners, offer great deals on vaccinations, free nail trims, live entertainment, obedience demonstrations, and a “mega-adoption event.” Don’t forget to bring your pet!
June 4-5—One of San Francisco’s largest free festivals, the Union Street Festival returns for its 40th year with a fashion show, craft beer and wine tasting pavilions, arts and crafts exhibitors, an art showcase, local food vendors.
June 7—The Red Hook Bike Jumble is a bike flea market where riders can sell new and used bikes, equipment, and other related bike accessories; presented in association with the New York Bike Jumble.
June 8-10—Seattle International Beerfest takes over the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion and Lawn at Seattle Center (right outside of the Space Needle) to offer exotic, hard-to-find brews. The festival motto is “taste the greatest beers you’ve never heard of.”
June 9-12—Bonnaro, the largest outdoor music festival in North America, is also known as one of the “50 Moments That Changed Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Rolling Stone and features jam bands, a festive campsite, and even a Splash-Roo slip ‘n’ slide area in Manchester, Tennessee.
June 9-12—Combine hundreds of artists for live concerts, meet and greets, autograph signings, and celebrity sporting events, and you’ll get the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. And you don’t need a ticket! Most events are free around the city, though you will need a ticket for the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium and the Fan Fair X.
June 10-12—Triathlon at Pacific Cove, part of the Tri-California Events, will drench athletes in the Protected Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary at Lovers Point for a .9-mile or .25-mile swim (depending on your course), a 24.8-mile or 12.4-mile bike ride with an ocean view, and a 6.2-mile or two-mile run along Monterey Peninsula. There’s also 10k and 5k runs to benefit veterans.
June 10-12—For more than 30 years, the Chicago Blue Festival has celebrated the city’s heritage and its native sons and daughters who play the iconic musical genre; don’t forget to check local blues bars for more of your favorite music as the festival expands beyond the stages.
June 11-14—To celebrate African American cinema, the San Francisco Black Film Festival features a diverse collection of films from emerging and established filmmakers, forums for education and networking, Q&A’s, and more. The festival accepts submissions from around the world to show “Black film-making” from a global perspective.
June 16-19—More than 80,000 are expected to converge on Dover, Delaware for Firefly Music Festival for four days of celebrity talent and emerging artists in “newgrass” and “country punk” genres, farmers’ market, food trucks, and more.
June 16-26—The largest-running, largest, and most recognized LBGTQ film event in the world, The San Francisco International LBGTQ Film Festival brings more than 63,000 attendees for the Bay Area for FRAMELINE40, a competitive film festival that features audience awards in Best Feature, Best Documentary, and Best Short, plus juried awards for Outstanding First Feature and Outstanding Documentary Feature.
June 17-19—Savor three days of wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, and tasting events at The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Don’t miss the late night parties, where you might be able to meet your favorite celebrity chef.
June 18-19—See more than 30 hot-air balloons and take a tethered ride in one at the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic, celebrating its 26th year.
June 24-26—Head to the New Garden Flying Field (Toughkenamon, Penn.) for the Chester Counter Balloon Festival, boasting more than 20 hot-air balloons flying twice a day, a walk-through balloon, live bands, balloon glows, kids activities, and fireworks, plus more than 100 vendors.
June 25-26—San Francisco Pride has more than a million attendees with 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and 20 stages and party venues for the largest LGBT gathering in the nation. This year’s theme is “for racial and economic justice,” and though the event is free, the organization request a donation of $5-10 in order give back to the community. Since 1997, San Francisco Pride has given more than $2.5 million in grants.
June 26—Discover Hudson Valley Ride offers five routes and 100 miles of beautiful scenery through Ulster and Dutchess counties (New York), plus the Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest footbridge.
June 30-July 3—Ashland Balloonfest features a Backyard BBQ, live entertainment, a morning fun flight, a fun kids’ zone, a cornhole competition, and a balloon glow, all with free admission at Freer Field. (Ohio)
June 29-July 3—What does $18 get you in Milwaukee, Wis.? A day at Summerfest! The two-weekend festival offers 800 acts, 1,000 performances, plus the opening night fireworks over Lake Michigan, a Tiki Hut for local acts, a Kohl’s Captivation Station, plus countless entertainment options like a rock climbing wall, ziplines, paddle boats, a splash pool, numerous food venues—even a fried food festival!
June 30-July 9—After 35 years, Festival International de Jazz de Montreal is the world’s biggest jazz festival with more 3,000 artists from 30 countries, more than 1,000 concerts (more than 2/3 with free, outdoor performances), and almost 2 million festivalgoers.
July 2016 Events
July 1-4—Celebrate the Fourth of July at the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo (Texas), featuring more than 20 hot-air balloons, the Hare and Hound competition, a grand parade, a fine art show, and a run.
July 5-10—Summerfest is back for its second weekend with spectacular entertainment, local and world-class musicians, and even a fried food festival! (Milwaukee, Wis.)
July 7-17—The Festival D’éte de Québec draws more than a million festivalgoers a year with 300 shows at 10 venues over 11 days with some of the biggest acts in the biz, like Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, and more. (Quebec City, Quebec)
July 8-17—A-list music talent, chuckwagon races, a spectacular midway, a pyrotechnic evening show, a parade—you guessed it! The Calgary Stampede is back at Stampede Park for 10 days of world-class entertainment.
July 14-17—Western PA Balloon Quest combines the best things about summer—carnival rides, food, fireworks, and entertainment with balloons to create one awesome weekend at the Scotland Meadows Park in New Castle, Penn.
July 15-16—More than 20 balloons will take to the sky at the Paris Balloon & Musical Festival (Texas), and stick around for the evening glows at dusk, live music from 6 p.m. and delicious food trucks.
July 15-16—Balloons Over Vermilion returns after 15 years with more than 30 hot-air balloons (I honestly did not know there were this many hot-air balloons in the world) at the Vermilion Regional Airport in Danville, Ill.
July 15-17—This particular weekend is popular for balloon festivals as the 41th Annual Great Wellsville Balloon Rally also takes flight with 35 hot air balloons, plus enjoy night glows, a parade through Wellsville, and a photo contest. Plus, admission is free! (New York State)
July 15-17—Northern Lights is a different kind of EDM festival with a swimming hole, vegan and eco-conscious foods, and small-scale breweries and wineries supplying the drinks. (Mendocino, Cali.)
July 17-23—Jamaica’s quintessential music event, Raggae Sumfest, has brought world-class acts to Montego Bay since 1993, and this festival is all-out with bands taking stage at 5 a.m. and a beach party with rum, mechanical bulls, and more.
July 18-21—The Miami Beach Convention Center hosts the annual Swim and Lingerie Show, exhibiting more than 400 designers and 2,500 lines of swimwear and lingerie because where else would this show hold its runway other than South Beach?
July 20-24—More than 160,000 comic, geek, and pop culture fans gather in San Diego for Comic-Con International 2016, and this year, the show will become the country’s longest continuously-fun comics and popular arts convention (47th year).
July 22-24—Since 2009, the J-Pop Summit at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center has celebrated the Japanese culture in terms of music, fashion, film, arts, games, food, and more. The 2014 saw more than 120,000 visitors while the 2015 event expanded to Union Square, NEW PEOPLE Cinema, and the Castro Theatre.
July 22-24—Newport Folk Festival is known for its pioneer roots with such talents as Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Alison Krauss, and now offers four stages and a variety of music genres, like alt country, indie folk, bluegrass, and more. (Rhode Island)
July 22-31—The world’s largest outdoor rodeo is Cheyenne Frontier Days, where festivalgoers appreciate more than just rodeos—parades, free pancake breakfasts, horse-drawn carriage rides, carnivals, and more.
July 23—If you are a fan of mangos, then we have the festival for you! The International Mango Festivalbrings the world’s largest display of locally grown mangos to Coral Gables (Fl.) for mango tree sales, tastings, activities, and island music. Don’t miss the smoothies and snacks at The Veranda Restaurant!
July 28-31—Lollapalooza originally began as a farewell tour for Jane’s Addiction before growing to multiple acts for years, and now is a festival in Chicago with indie rock bands, a Kidzapalooza, and a food festival. Celebrating its 25 years, this festival has more than 170 musical performances over four days.
July 29-31—See balloons shaped as Darth Vader, Yoda, animals, and even the American flag at the 34th Annual QuickChek Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNCBank at Solberg Airport in Readington, N.J.
Fall 2016 Events
August 3-7—First held in 1947, the Maine Lobster Festival serves more than 20,000 pounds of lobster with more than 1,700 pounds of butter, plus The Great Lobster Crate Race, The Big Parade, a cooking contest, concerts by Tower of Power and Don McLean, and the Marine Experience Tent, which offers educational exhibits about lobsters and other marine animals from the Gulf of Maine. (Rockland, Maine)