Events Worth Planning A Trip Around In 2013

Have you ever landed in a place to find out you arrived just after the town’s can’t-miss event of the year? Well, hopefully that won’t happen again this year. Gadling bloggers racked their brains to make sure our readers don’t overlook the best parties to be had throughout the world in 2013. Below are more than 60 music festivals, cultural events, pilgrimages and celebrations you should consider adding to your travel calendar this year – trust us, we’ve been there.

Above image: Throughout Asia, Lunar New Year is celebrated with lantern festivals, the most spectacular of which is possibly Pingxi. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

Kumbh Mela, a 55-day festival in India, is expected to draw more than 100 million people in 2013. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

January
January 7–27: Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah)
January 10–February 26: Kumbh Mela (Allahabad, India)
January 21: Presidential Inauguration (Washington, DC)
January 26–February 12: Carnival of Venice (Venice, Italy)
January 26–February 13: Battle of the Oranges (Ivrea, Italy)
During Busójárás in Hungary, visitors can expect folk music, masquerading, parades and dancing. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
February
February 3: Super Bowl XLVII (New Orleans, Louisiana)
February 5–11: Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo, Japan)
February 7–12: Busójárás (Mohács, Hungary)
February 10: Chinese New Year/Tet (Worldwide)
February 9–12: Rio Carnival (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
February 12: Mardi Gras (Worldwide)
February 14: Pingxi Lantern Festival (Taipei, Taiwan)
February 24: Lunar New Year (Worldwide)


Several cities in India and Nepal increase tourist volume during Holi, when people enjoy spring’s vibrant colors. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
March
March 1-14: Omizutori (Nara, Japan)
March 8–17: South by Southwest (Austin, Texas)
March 20–April 14: Cherry Blossom Festival (Washington, DC)
March 27: Holi (Worldwide, especially India & Nepal)


Many Dutch people wear orange – the national color – and sell their secondhand items in a “free market” during Koninginnendag, a national holiday in the Netherlands. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
April
April 12–14 & April 19–21: Coachella (Indio, California)
April 11-14: Masters Golf Tournament (Augusta, Georgia)
April 13–15: Songkran Water Festival (Thailand)
April 17–28: TriBeCa Film Festival (New York, New York)
April 25–28: 5Point Film Festival (Carbondale, Colorado)
April 30: Koninginnendag or Queen’s Day (Netherlands)


Up to 50 men work together to carry their church’s patron saint around the main square in Cusco, Peru during Corpus Christi. [Photo credit: Blogger Libby Zay]
May
May 4: Kentucky Derby (Louisville, Kentucky)
May 15–16: Festival de Cannes (Cannes, France)
May 20: Corpus Christi (Worldwide)
May 23–26: Art Basel (Hong Kong)
May 24–27: Mountainfilm Film Festival (Telluride, Colorado)
May 25-28: Sasquatch Festival (Quincy, Washington)
May 26: Indianapolis 500 (Speedway, Indiana)

2013 marks the 100th anniversary for the Tour de France. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

June
June 13–16: Bonnaroo (Manchester, Tennessee)
June 13–16: Art Basel (Basel, Switzerland)
June 14–16: Food & Wine Classic (Aspen, Colorado)
June 21: St. John’s Night (Poznan, Poland)
June 24: Inti Raymi (Cusco, Peru)
June 28–30: Comfest (Columbus, Ohio)
June 29–July 21: Tour de France (France)

The annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Visit Istanbul, Turkey, at this time and see a festival-like atmosphere when pious Muslims break their fasts with lively iftar feasts at night. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
July
July 6–14: San Fermin Festival (Pamplona, Spain)
July 9–August 2: Ramadan (Worldwide)
July 12–14: Pitchfork (Chicago, Illinois)
July 17: Gion Festival Parade (Kyoto, Japan)
July 18–21: International Comic Con (San Diego, California)
July 19–22: Artscape (Baltimore, Maryland)
July 24–28: Fete de Bayonne (Bayonne, France)

Festival-goers get their picture taken at a photo booth during Foo Fest, an arts and culture festival held annually in Providence, Rhode Island. [Photo credit: Flickr user AS220]
August
August 2–4: Lollapalooza (Chicago, Illinois)
August 10: Foo Fest (Providence, Rhode Island)
August 26–September 2: Burning Man (Black Rock Desert, Nevada)
August 31–September 2: Bumbershoot (Seattle, Washington)


More than six million people head to Munich, Germany, for beer-related festivities during the 16-day Oktoberfest. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
September
September 5–15: Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)
September 13–15: Telluride Blues & Brews Festival (Telluride, Colorado)
September 21–October 6: Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany)

Around 750 hot air balloons are launched during the nine-day Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. [Photo credit: Flickr user Randy Pertiet]

October
October 4–6 & 11–13: Austin City Limits (Austin, Texas)
October 5–13: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
October 10–14: United States Sailboat Show (Annapolis, Maryland)


During Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), family and friends get together to remember loved ones they have lost. Although practiced throughout Mexico, many festivals take place in the United States, such as this festival at La Villita in San Antonio, Texas. [Photo credit: Blogger Libby Zay]
November
November 1–2: Dia de los Muertos (Worldwide, especially Mexico)
November 3: Diwali (Worldwide)
November 8–10: Fun Fun Fun Fest (Austin, Texas)
November 11: Cologne Carnival (Cologne, Germany)
November 28: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (New York, New York)
TBA: Punkin Chunkin (Long Neck, Delaware)

The colorful holiday of Junkanoo is the most elaborate festivals of the Bahamian islands. [Photo credit: Flickr user MissChatter]
December
December 2–3: Chichibu Yomatsuri (Chichibu City, Japan)
December 5–8: Art Basel (Miami, Florida)
December 26–January 1: Junkanoo (Bahamas)

So, what did we miss? Let us know what travel-worthy events you’re thinking about journeying to in the coming year in the comments below.

Photo Of The Day: Day Of The Dead

photo of the day - Paris skulls
Hope you all had a happy Halloween, and came up with some creative travel costumes (my family and I went as Matryoshkas, or Russian nesting dolls). Now that the calendar has flipped over into November, it’s a time to honor our beloved who have passed on All Saints’ Day, or as it is known in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos. Skeletons and skulls are a pretty common theme in Day of the Dead decor and art, as demonstrated by our own Pam Mandel’s Halloween costume, continuing on the scary feel of Halloween. The skulls in today’s Photo of the Day aren’t Mexican, they’re French, from the Paris catacombs, which contain the bones of millions of Parisians. The remains are made extra spooky with the company of a devil, of the stuffed toy Tasmanian sort, though I suspect he was an addition by Australian photographer BaboMike.

If you can’t make it to Mexico this year, Denver has some Day of the Dead events too.

We like being scared year-round, so add your spookiest shots to the Gadling Flickr pool for an upcoming Photo of the Day.

[Photo credit: Flickr user BaboMike]

Visit Denver For Dia De Los Muertos

dia de los muertosIf a ticket to Mexico isn’t in the cards for Dia de los Muertos this year, you might want to consider Denver. It may seem strange that a non-border state throws down so hard, but Denver is, after all, in the Southwest, and as such, has a thriving Hispanic community, as well as arts and culture scene. This colorful, oddly joyous holiday dates back to pre-Columbian times, and has its roots in pagan rituals celebrated by indigenous peoples, including the Aztecs.

If you want to skip the Halloween hangover (sugar or otherwise) and instead spend the Day of the Dead (which is technically November 1) honoring dead ancestors (it’s okay if they’re not yours) with dancing, eating and looking at traditional holiday arts and crafts, here’s the lowdown on what’s going on in Denver.

Today (Oct. 27), from 5 to 8 p.m., the Denver Botanic Gardens is hosting a flower-rific celebration that will include live music, art, dancing and traditional face painting. Flowers, and marigolds in particular, are a big part of Dia de los Muertos imagery.

On October 30, the Dia de los Muertos Celebration and Tattoo Artist Skull Show and Charity Auction will be held at El Diablo restaurant, starting at 8 p.m. Expect lots of “art skulls,” food, special cocktails, face painting and a silent auction.

The Chicano Humanities and Arts Council Gallery is displaying Dia de los Muertos artworks in various mediums, now through November 3.

On November 2, the Museo de las Americas will commemorate with altars and classes on making Dia de los Muertos crafts, such as elaborately decorated sugar skulls.

[Photo credit: Flickr user moonchild studio]

Mazatlan is safe, just ask the dead people

MazatlanCrime in Mexico has had a big impact on tourism, causing everything from a US Department of State travel warning to major cruise lines canceling calls at Mexican ports. Gadling has been covering the story all along and readers have been quick to respond both for and against travel to Mexico. To make sense of it all, we went to Mazatlan, once a bustling Mexican cruise port, to see for ourselves.

The occasion was last week’s Fiesta Amigos, an annual four-day event that invites people in the travel business to experience all Mazatlan has to offer.

“What better way for visitors to experience the vibrant spirit of our beautiful city than during this lively fiesta,” says Carlos Berdegué, vice president, Mazatlán Hotel Association and Tourism Board. “Mazatlán presents a truly unique travel destination, with a charming, historic core alongside premier resorts, international sporting events, gourmet cuisine, year-round events and much more – all at great value. We invite Fiesta Amigos guests to immerse themselves in all that Mazatlán has to offer.”

OK, sure, but is it safe?

That was the big question so we jumped right in, sampling a number of local restaurants, walking the streets both day and night and engaging in activities common to tourists.

Everyone lived to tell about it.What we found was a safe, friendly community, steeped with tradition and geared to handle massive crowds of tourists. Yes, drug trade and gang-related crime problems are still very present in Mexico but happen in the northern part of the country, far away from Mazatlan.

In a test of safety, we walked the streets of Mazatlan on November 2nd during the Day of the Dead stroll and festivities. Held in Mazatlan’s old historic district, the centuries-old tradition, also called All Souls Day, honors those who have died with a walking procession through town in a Mardi Gras sort of way, celebrating life.

During the day, a visit to Mazatlan’s cruise port revealed a modern facility prepped and ready to go when cruise lines return.

“We highly value our long-standing relationships within the cruise industry, and are dedicated to ensuring that Mazatlan remains among the top cruise destinations on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Mazatlan has hosted nearly 1.5 million cruise passengers since 2008 and is widely regarded as one of the safest destinations in Mexico.” said Julio Birrueta, spokesperson for the Mazatlan Tourism Trust last February.

Mazatlan is in it for the long-run and has taken steps to insure the safety of cruise passengers too. A 20-foot security wall supplemented by a guard tower overlooking operations insures passenger safety but a new 1300 foot pier that can accommodate up to four ships sits empty. When we visited the port, a lone cargo ship occupied the facility while workers continued an ongoing remodeling and construction project nearby.

The port boasted over 200 ship visits last year which quickly went down to about 30 this year after highly-publicized crime events chased cruise lines away. The port authority anticipates about a dozen calls next year.

But things are looking up for Mazatlan with Princess Cruises recently announcing a return in 2012 and other lines expected to follow. That’s good news to local merchants and service providers who rely heavily on tourism income and look forward to sharing a year-round calendar of events that includes international sporting tournaments, culinary fairs, eclectic cultural festivals and holiday celebrations.

The Quiksilver Surf Clásico Mazatlán is an international surf, music and fashion festival that happens in June. Mazatlán’s International Bike Week 2011 is an annual spring event when more than 15,000 Motorcycle fans gear up for five days of high-octane fun and adventure. Since Mazatlan is recognized worldwide as a first-class fishing destination, the Marina Mazatlán Fishing Tournament draws top anglers from around the world.

  Mazatlan has a lot to offer visitors coming by land, sea or air. Surely, travelers looking for trouble can find it anyplace on the planet. But in Mazatlan, they’re going to have to look pretty hard.

Photos/video: Chris Owen

Photo of the Day (10.31.10)

Happy Halloween! Er, should I make that Happy Day of the Dead? Believe it or not, America isn’t the only country that likes to celebrate spooky holidays. In Mexico and some parts of Latin America, November 2nd is the chosen day to remember and celebrate the lives of deceased ancestors. Though one might think a holiday about death would be a somber affair, it’s usually not. Much like Halloween, family and friends get together to laugh, eat some good food and pay tribute to those who have passed. The jolly skeletons captured here by Flickr user borderfilms (Doug) in Chiapas, Mexico are a common Day of the Dead decorating theme.

Taken any great photos during your travels? Why not add them to the Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.