Festivals And Events Coming Up This Month

Summer weather brings festivals and events that range from open-air concerts and outdoor car shows to group hikes and more. In June, there are a number of notable summer festivals and events. Some are held annually, others are starting up for the first time this year. Count on good food, warm summer fun and great memories to be made at any of these must-see events.

Gettysburg Festival
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – June 8
It’s blues, beer and barbecue at the Gettysburg Festival this weekend featuring legendary bluesman Big Jack Johnson’s backing band, the Cornlickers, PA’s First Lady of Blues, Octavia and the U.S. Army Field Band Volunteers. Since 1981, the soldier-musicians of The Field Band Volunteers have performed for millions of listeners around the planet, representing their fellow soldiers through music.

Richmond Bacon Festival
Richmond, Virginia – June 9
A first for the 17th street farmers market, 20 restaurants will compete with bacon-centric dishes and Devils Backbone Brewery and Bold Rock Hard Cider will be pouring more than 20 craft beers. Held by a local brewer and beer distributor, the idea is to design bacon-oriented culinary creations then wash them down with a craft beer.Emmett Cherry Festival
Emmett, Idaho – June 12-15, 2013
Held since the 1930s and always during the second full week of June, the Emmett Cherry Festival serves up a taste of tradition. Cherry Festival events, concerts and carnival all happen in the Emmett City Park starting Wednesday through Saturday. Looking for some down-home goodness? This may be it. Featured are a cherry pit-spitting contest, a pie eating contest and entertainment. Nearly 40,000 people are expected to attend this family-oriented event that celebrates the arrival of the cherries.

Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters
Little Rock, Arkansas – June 27
Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters are the greatest living link to what can best be described as a gumbo of Cajun/Acadian music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms and melodies, and the blues. Held at
Wildwood Park for the Arts in western Little Rock’s Chenal Valley, the event’s gates open at 6 p.m. for outdoor
picnicking, and the concert begins at 8 p.m.

Orion Music and More Festival
Detroit, Michigan – June 6-8
Over 20,000 fans are expected to attend each of the three days of the festival, headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers on Saturday and Metallica on Sunday with a total of 39 acts scheduled to perform. In addition to five stages, all set up on the Belle Isle baseball fields, there will be a car show, film screenings, horror movie memorabilia, food vendors from around Detroit and more. Featured at Orion Music and More is a 30-foot skate ramp where pro riders will tear up the Vans Vert Ramp while bands perform live.

Summer County Fairs Showcase Local Community Spirit

County fair season is coming up quickly, showcasing the work of local farmers and ranchers around the United States. Prize livestock and winning agriculture entries will be on display, but many visitors to county fairs have little interest in that sort of thing. People come from miles around for the local food, carnival rides, performers or just to get out of their normal routine and do something different on the weekend. Here are some of the more notable county fairs this year.

Chautauqua County Fair
Listed as one of ten Blue-Ribbon County Fairs by USAToday, the Chautaugua County Fair features the expected agriculturally focused events like a Goat Milking Competition, Livestock Judging Contest and more. Those events showcase the efforts of 4-H and FFA youth club members. Like the nature of county fairs themselves, those two organizations, the FFA (Future Farmers Of America) and 4-H (pledges Head, Hands, Heart and Health to their club, community, country and world) have evolved too, now focusing on citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering and technology programs.

That’s not to say they won’t enjoy features like the demolition derby, the county fair beauty pageant, New York State Police K-9 demonstrations, the baby parade or the jugglers, unicyclists and acrobats of the Dazzling Mills Family, a traveling act not to be missed.

July 22-28, 2013
Dunkirk, NY
Admission $10 Parking: $102013 San Mateo County Fair
This year marks the 79th San Mateo County Fair that features contests, opportunities to win ribbons, educational exhibits, carnival rides, commercial vendors, food concessionaires, local performers and main stage artists. Nearly 150,000 visitors are expected this year.

Held at the San Mateo County Event Center, the fair will host traditional events focused on pie baking, home brewing, livestock and agriculture, as well as free summer concerts all nine days of the fair. This year features bands including: Tower of Power, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Three Dog Night, The Whispers and Morris Day & The Time, as well as award-winning tribute bands Aerorocks and Queen Nation.

Themed “Where Tradition Meets Innovation,” the San Mateo Fair also hosts contests in technology and industrial arts, as well as exhibits and demonstrations in those areas.

Saturday, June 8-16, 2013

2495 South Delaware Street– San Mateo, CA 94403

Admission $10 Parking: $10

San Mateo kicked off the 2013 County Fair season with a flash mob at a local mall earlier this month, as we see in this video:

Impact Of Sequester Cuts On Travel: Festivals Not So Festive

Recent sequester cuts have had a big impact on travel in a number of ways. Cutbacks have resulted in everything from grounding the Navy’s Blue Angels at dozens of air shows around the country to turning Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental into a third world-like airport. Cuts to the budgets of national parks have popular attractions opening on a delayed schedule, closing visitor centers and operating without campgrounds.

But those who (still) work and operate facilities, festivals and events that would normally draw travelers from around the world are pressing on, promising to make the best of a bad situation.

A highlight, if not the main attraction, to Fleet Week at a number of major U.S. cities is a showcase of active duty military ships, recently deployed in overseas operations and brought to town for the event.A tradition of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard since 1935, Fleet Week began in San Diego with 114 warships and 400 military planes. Since then, annual Fleet Week events began in San Francisco, New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Seattle, Washington, includes fleet week during the annual Seafair. In Portland, Oregon, fleet week is part of the annual Portland Rose Festival.

The shows brought ships full of military personnel to town, as well as travelers who looked forward to tours of ships, military demonstrations and air shows, adding to local tourism revenue. But on the heels of the secretary of defense announcing that ships will not be visiting, show organizers are turning to a different focus.

“We’re all about bringing a little more recognition to our local units,” said Jean-Sebastien Gros of Broward Navy Days Inc., the non-profit organization that spearheads Florida’s Fleet Week Port Everglades, in this NBC Miami report.

The Fort Lauderdale Fleet Week event, still scheduled for April 29 through May 6, normally has hotels booked full and Florida highways clogged for a week. Organizers hope to keep the lion’s share of that activity by hosting a variety of other events.

Golf tournaments, a 5K race, major league baseball games, culinary competitions and deep-sea fishing will attempt to replace active-duty warships and the Blue Angels. Canceled ship tours will give way to honoring the active duty military of the United States Southern Command and Coast Guard District 7, both based in South Florida.

It’s a sign of the times to be sure and event organizers are to be commended for pressing on. Still, this travel-affecting result of sequester budget cuts can’t help but make one wonder if there was not some other way to address this problem with the nation’s economy.

“No one can deny that we have passed through troubled years. No one can fail to feel the inspiration of your high purpose. I wish you great success,” said President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935 at the beginning of the first fleet week.

[Photo credit – Flickr user St0rmz]

Strange Festivals From Around The World

Fall festival season is in full swing now, getting people out and about on the crisp autumn weekends. Some festivals are annual events across town, others take a road trip or weekend getaway to see. In the United States, many have a common theme that includes pumpkins, hay and cider somewhere along the way. In other parts of the world, annual festivals at different times of the year offer a measure of tradition and have been held for decades. Others are just plain odd but they bring some of the most fun that distant lands have to offer.

Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival
Coming up in October, Thailand has the Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival, marking the end of Buddhist Lent. During the festival, the people of Sakhon Nakhon gather in a celebration, which includes a Wax Castle procession, longboat races and cultural performances. Originally using beeswax to make different kinds of flowers, attached to banana tree trunks, today’s festival features castles, temples and shrines paraded around the city showcasing local skill and wisdom.

[Flickr photo by e-dredon]

The Battle of Oranges
Basically a huge food fight, the Battle of Oranges is a festival in the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, which includes a tradition of throwing of oranges between organized groups. During the three-day Orange hurling brawl, the city will go through 50,000 cases of oranges (about 400 tons) as townspeople will get dressed up to re-enact a Middle Age battle. Those dressed as Middle Age kings’ guards, throw oranges at others dressed as foot soldiers as thousands of people gather to watch.

[Flickr photo by Giò-S.p.o.t.s.]

The Night of the Radishes
Mexico has their Day of the Dead festival held in November, a centuries-old tradition that honors those who have died with a walking procession through town in a Mardi Gras sort of way. The Night of the Radishes comes in December and is an exhibition of sculptures made from large red radishes especially grown for this event. It is held only in Oaxaca, Mexico, which is the name of both a state in Mexico and that state’s capital city. Winners get their photo published in the local paper and win a prize, but the festival has more than a century been a focal point of Christmas celebrations in Oaxaca.

Flickr photo by drewleavy

World Bodypainting Festival
The World Bodypainting Festival is an annual festival happens in Austria. The week-long painting fest is the biggest annual event of the body painting culture and community, drawing the best body painting artist teams and models as well as thousands of visitors, from all over the world. The artists compete in many categories from brush and sponge to airbrush and special effects. There is a World Facepainting Award and a special award for special effects face make up. Artists use mostly volunteer male or female models as they wish and female models can go topless if they want.

[Flickr photo by r3dst0rm]

International Bognor Birdman
The International Birdman is a series of two competitions held in West Sussex, England, that have human ‘birdmen’ attempting to fly off the end of a pier into the sea for prize money. The competition brings serious aviators mainly flying hang-gliders and people in costume with little or no actual flying ability, raising money for charity. Initially, there was a prize of £1,000 for anyone who could travel beyond 50 yards but over time that increased to £30,000 for reaching 330 feet.

[Flickr photo by DavidQuick]

But one of the strangest festivals around has to be Thailand’s Face Piercing Festival that we see in this video.

[Flickr photo (top) by roberthuffstutter]

Celebration To Promote Mexico In Familiar Neighborhood Setting

De Pueblo a Pueblo is an eight-week celebration that begins later this month in Philadelphia. The first-ever festival will honor Philadelphia’s local Mexican community by promoting greater understanding of traditional arts, language and history of Mexico.

The citywide festival hopes to connect a growing Mexican population and their customs with a broader Philadelphia audience. In addition to providing a variety of opportunities to learn more about Mexican culture, of special significance is where the event will be happening – Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.

Showcasing the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a folk art environment made entirely of found objects and contributions from the community.

In 1968, Zagar and his wife came to Philadelphia after spending three years with the Peace Corps in Peru. Creating folk art all around his new city, he took an entire row house on South Street and covered it with mosaics, over 3000 square feet of them, that include pieces of mirror and original poetry.Hands-on activities, performances, traditional foods, crafts and folk art, along with discussions about immigration, are set to provide opportunities to learn about Mexico and should fit right in at the Magic Gardens.

The event will kick off on April 27 with the opening reception for “Echeleganas: Do Your Best,” a photographic exhibition featuring the people of La Sierra del Norte, a small village in Puebla, Mexico.

Flickr photo via Guerry