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The Prime 15 Well-known Festivals within the USA

Should you actually need to perceive the tradition of a spot, festivals are a terrific place to begin.

Whether or not you’re fascinated about music festivals, cultural festivals, meals and wine festivals, or holiday-related celebrations,  occasions like these supply a terrific probability to mingle with the locals and get a style of the area’s tradition within the course of.

The Delta surge might make attending even American festivals a dangerous proposition over the subsequent few months. However the next checklist of festivals are all annual, that means they need to be again for a few years to return. 

So try our information to 15 Well-known Festivals within the USA, from vacation celebrations like Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah to Bonnaroo, Burning Man, and different high festivals.

READ MORE: 20 Finest Festivals within the World For Your World Journey Bucket Checklist

Bonaroo Music Festival
Bonnaroo Music Pageant, photograph by Laura Findley through Flickr CC BY 2.0

Well-known Festivals within the USA Information

  1. Albuquerque Worldwide Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
  2. Bonnaroo Music & Arts Pageant (Manchester, Tennessee)
  3. Burning Man  (Black Rock Desert, Nevada)
  4. Christmas at Biltmore Property (Asheville, North Carolina)
  5. Fantasy Fest (Key West, Florida)
  6. Gasparilla Pirate Pageant (Tampa, Florida)
  7. Merrie Monarch Pageant (Hilo, Hawaii)
  8. Lilac Pageant (Mackinac Island, Michigan)
  9. Mardi Gras (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  10. Nationwide Cherry Blossom Pageant (Washington, DC)
  11. Oktoberfest (Helen, Georgia)
  12. Plano Balloon Pageant (Plano, Texas)
  13. St. Patrick’s Day (Savannah, Georgia)
  14. Scandinavian Pageant (Junction Metropolis, Oregon)
  15. South By Southwest/SXSW (Austin, Texas)


Mass Assentation at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque Worldwide Balloon Fiesta, photograph through Canva

1. Albuquerque Worldwide Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Every October, the Albuquerque Worldwide Balloon Fiesta transforms the skies of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Valley into an explosion of coloration, with practically 600 sizzling air balloons from everywhere in the world.

Began with simply 13 balloons in 1972, this well-known competition has grown right into a 9-day occasion protecting 365 acres, making it the most important ballooning occasion on the earth. It’s additionally one of the {photograph} festivals within the USA.

There’s an amazing quantity of music and leisure throughout three phases, with actions together with balloon races,  chainsaw carving competitions, skydiving exhibits, fireworks, and extra.

Should you go, you’ll want to begin your competition go to early, as a result of the magic begins at 6:30 am with the Morning Glow. 

Think about pre-dawn darkness and, as the sunshine slowly begins to illuminates the mountains to the east, you see what appears to be like like giant fireflies. First one, then two, then 5, till the daybreak sky is stuffed with lighted balloon silhouettes.

At 7:00 am, get your cameras prepared for the primary occasion, the Mass Ascension of Scorching Air Balloons. The 2021 competition runs October 2 via 1o.  -Mary Gabbett of Blue Ridge Mountains Journey Information

READ MORE: The Prime 5 Eco-Pleasant Vacationer Points of interest in New Mexico

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
2021 Bonnaroo Pageant, photograph courtesy Bonnaroo

2. Bonnaroo Music & Arts Pageant (Manchester, Tennessee)

Held yearly since 2002 within the tiny city of Manchester TN (south of Nashville), Bonnaroo will not be as giant a competition as Coachella, or as iconic a model as Lollapalooza. But it surely nonetheless ranks among the many greatest music festivals within the US.

Why? To cite its tagline, Bonnaroo options, “1000’s of blissful campers. Tons of of acres of Tennessee nature. 150 epic performances. 10+ Phases of music. 4 of the most effective days ever.”

We additionally  love Bonnaroo’s many sustainability initiatives, which embody annual sustainability studies, the Clear Vibes Buying and selling Submit, and Planet Roo (a haven for environmental consciousness and training). Plus $1 from each ticket goes to eco-friendly efforts!

The superior American music competition, which was modeled after iconic festivals like Monterey Pop and Woodstock, is held each June on a 700-acre farm. The 2021 version’s massive identify acts included Foo Fighters, Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, Tame Impala, Tyler the Creator, Primus, Mastodon, and numerous others. 

Along with music and tenting, you may also discover arts and crafts, meals and drinks, a comedy tent, cinema tent, Ferris wheel, silent disco, parades, and yoga. Their distinctive “Campground Plazas” additionally supply karaoke, late night time events, superstar appearances, and extra!  –by Bret Love of Inexperienced International Journey

READ MORE: The Finest Presents for Campers, Hikers & Nature Lovers

Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert, NV USA
Burning Man Pageant, photograph by Wandering Wheatleys

3. Burning Man (Black Rock Desert, Nevada)

For one week every year, the large dry lake mattress of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada is remodeled into “Black Rock Metropolis.” This “metropolis” is stuffed with camps and unbelievable artwork installations, that are constructed and deconstructed yearly for arguably probably the most distinctive competition within the US– Burning Man.

Burning Man started as a fairly small affair on Baker Seaside in San Francisco again in 1986. A bunch of buddies had an enormous bonfire to burn a 9-foot picket statue that they named “the person.”

It might have represented Company America, societal norms, or a previous love… nobody actually is aware of for certain. However in the present day that group of buddies has grown to 80,000 individuals, and “the person” has grown to some 40 toes tall!

There are solely two issues accessible for buy at Burning Man– ice and espresso. So that you’ll must pack every little thing else that you simply’ll must survive for the week, together with tenting tents and water. Nonetheless, the competition has a “gifting atmosphere,” so for those who neglect one thing, likelihood is you’ll don’t have any drawback getting it from another person.

Throughout your week at Burning Man, you’ll take by yourself “Burner” persona, which is basically something you need it to be. Burners are inspired to decorate and specific themselves nonetheless they want, with out concern of judgement.

The ten ideas of Burning Man embody issues like radical inclusion, radical self-reliance, and radical self-expression. And also you’ll expertise all of those and extra throughout your “burn.”

Getting tickets to Burning Man isn’t any simple feat, as there are much more individuals vying for tickets than the precise variety of tickets offered. But it surely’s completely definitely worth the effort, as Burning Man is undoubtedly one of the distinctive and wonderful festivals on the earth and an expertise of a lifetime!  –by Val & Nick Wheatley of Wandering Wheatleys

READ MORE: The 20 Finest Cultural Festivals Across the World

Biltmore Estates
Biltmore Estates, photograph through 123RF

4. Christmas at Biltmore Property (Asheville, North Carolina)

One among our favourite North Carolina Christmas occasions, Christmas at Biltmore provides Asheville NC guests a possibility to see the most important non-public dwelling in America whereas its halls are decked with stunning Christmas decorations.

Christmas Eve of 2021 will mark the 126th anniversary of the 12 months George Vanderbilt first invited household and buddies to the Biltmore Home. The attraction will honor the event with its annual Christmas Daytime Celebration excursions.

Tour packages might embody entry to the Antler Hill Village and vineyard, an professional information with particular information about Vanderbilt household historical past, and VIP entry to components of the Biltmore Home that aren’t explored throughout the primary tour.

Additionally they supply Candlelight Christmas Evenings that present the property in a totally completely different gentle. The Property is lit up by winkling Christmas lights, candles, and fireplaces, casting a heat glow that’s wealthy with vacation spirit. 

Company can discover the large mansion through self-guided or expert-led excursions, and luxuriate in positive vacation eating (with complimentary wine tastings).

This is only one of many the reason why we take into account Asheville one of many greatest locations to spend Christmas within the USA!  –by Bret Love of Inexperienced International Journey 

READ MORE:  75 Cool Christmas Traditions Across the World

Fantasy Fest, Key West Florida USA
Animal Costume Contest, photograph through Canva

5. Fantasy Fest (Key West, Florida)

Extensively thought to be one of the enjoyable festivals within the USA, the 10-day Fantasy Pageant in Key West, Florida dates again to 1979.

Fantasy Fest was created by locals who observed that Key West was not very busy in October (their shoulder season for tourism), and needed to entice extra individuals to go to. In the present day, Fantasy Fest has grow to be a Halloween occasion that’s held within the final week of October.

So what makes it so good? The social gathering environment of Fantasy Fest has been in comparison with Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnival within the Caribbean Islands. There are parades, masquerade balls, costume contests, and 60+ official events!

Every year there’s a distinctive theme, equivalent to Area, Broadway, Home of Horror, Circus, Villains, and so forth. It’s estimated that over 75,000 individuals come out to expertise this adult-themed Halloween extravaganza.

The climate remains to be heat sufficient right now of 12 months that you simply gained’t be chilly in your costume. However you’ll even be cool sufficient to loosen up and have a superb time whereas experiencing all of the enjoyable that Key West has to supply. 

Lengthy story brief, that is the right competition in Florida to let your inside free spirit fly!  –by Victoria Yore of FloridaTrippers

READ MORE: The 15 Finest UNESCO World Heritage Websites within the USA (for Nature/Historical past Lovers)

Gasparilla Pirate Festival, Tampa FL USA
Gasparilla Pirate Pageant by Lori Sorrentino

6. Gasparilla Pirate Pageant (Tampa, Florida)

Since 1904, revelers in Tampa, Florida have been celebrating the plundering of their metropolis by the Spanish pirate Jose Gaspar and his marauding band of buccaneers on the Gasparilla Pirate Pageant.

Held yearly in January, the occasion begins when an enormous Spanish galleon arrives in Tampa Bay, escorted by a whole bunch of small ships. The pirates ransack town, solely to share the spoils with locals alongside a 5-mile-long parade route.

Firing 1000’s of clean photographs within the air, the pirates (together with a 100+ floats and some marching bands) throw handfuls of gold cash, plastic beads, and different treats to the group. It’s one of many liveliest festivals in southwest Florida!

Apparently, whereas the legend of Jose Gaspar has been on the coronary heart of this occasion for greater than a century, Gaspar is definitely only a fictional character made for tourism. Nonetheless, it’s extra enjoyable to consider the mythology is actual!

In 2022, the Gasparilla Pirate Pageant might be held on Saturday, January 29. –by Lori Sorrentino of Travlinmad

READ MORE: The 15 Most Haunted Accommodations in America

Lilac Festival Mackinac Island, Michigan, USA
Lilac Pageant, photograph by Nicole Sunderland

7. Lilac Pageant (Mackinac Island, Michigan)

Yearly, individuals from world wide flock to Mackinac Island, Michigan for the Lilac Pageant. The primary competition was held in 1949 by year-round residents of the island, and the annual custom continues in the present day.

The timing of the competition relies on the blooming of the lilacs, however it’s usually held in the course of the first two weeks of June. The Michigan climate is ideal right now of 12 months, with low humidity and an island breeze.

The island turns into extremely aromatic, with numerous actions happening and souvenirs equivalent to lilac fudge accessible for buy.

Among the enjoyable occasions you’ll discover on the competition embody the Coronation of the Lilac Queen, lilac planting, musical performances, hikes, excursions, cannon firing, the “Historical past of Mackinac Island” Grand Parade, and the award ceremony.

Be aware that you’ll want to guide your resort prematurely, as it is a busy vacationer season with restricted resort choices.  –by Nicole Sunderland of EatLiveTravelDrink

READ MORE: 20 Largest Lakes within the World by Continent (For Your World Journey Bucket Checklist)

Mardi_Gras_Indians on Super Sunday in New_Orleans
Mardi Gras Indians, photograph by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

8. Mardi Gras (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Mardi Gras in New Orleans (a.okay.a. Fats Tuesday) is kinda like america’ model of Carnival. However some historians insist that it was truly town of Cell, Alabama that began the annual custom within the 1700s.

Though the bacchanalian celebration is held yearly on the day earlier than Ash Wednesday, the festivities in NOLA often final for months.

It begins with social occasions in November, non-public balls held on Thanksgiving and New Yr’s Eve, and parades and extra non-public balls all through January and early February.

Getting invited to those non-public occasions isn’t simple. But when you already know somebody (or have plenty of cash), MOM’s Ball and  Orpheuscapade Ball are often ranked among the many greatest. Should you love music, try the annual Galactic live performance at Tipitina’s on Lundi Gras (the day earlier than Mardi Gras). 

When the massive day arrives, it’s greatest to plan what you need to see and do prematurely, earlier than the parade of beads, boobs, and booze begins. Longtime locals love the Krewe of Muses Parade, the Rex & Zulu Parade, and the Krewe of St. Anne and Krewe of Julu Parades.

However, for our cash, it doesn’t get any higher than watching the Mardi Gras Indians parade in Treme, New Orleans!

READ MORE: The Finest Mardi Gras Balls, Parades & Events (An Insider’s Information)

Ho'ike night at the Merrie Monarch Festivals Hilo, HI USA
Ho’ike night time on the Merrie Monarch Festivals 2016

9. Merrie Monarch Pageant (Hilo, Hawaii)

Probably the most cherished cultural festivals in Hawaii, the Merrie Monarch Pageant is a week-long celebration held yearly in Hilo, Hawaii.

Pageant occasions embody Hula demonstrations, artwork festivals, cultural exhibits, a serious worldwide hula competitors, and an elaborate hula parade via downtown Hilo.

Not solely has the Merrie Monarch Pageant helped to revitalize the city, nevertheless it’s additionally fostering a Hawaiian cultural renaissance on the islands. After a devastating tsunami on Hawaii’s Huge Island in 1961 fully ruined the native economic system, the native authorities created its first main hula occasion in 1963. 

The deal with Hawaiian dance, music, storytelling, arts and crafts, and meals made the occasion an instantaneous hit with each locals and guests alike.

Held the week after Easter, the Merrie Monarch Pageant capitalizes on the fantastic thing about springtime in Hilo, when every little thing is blooming and contemporary. Followers of Polynesian tradition from all world wide come to Hilo to participate in all the pageantry supplied by the week-long celebration.

Should you plan on visiting Hilo in the course of the competition, you’ll need to guide your journey, resorts, and even restaurant reservations a 12 months prematurely!  –by Noel of This Hawaii Life

READ MORE: Hawaiian Mythology (Intro to Hawaiian Gods, Goddesses and Legends)

National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington DC USA
Nationwide Cherry Blossom Pageant by Terri Markle

10. Nationwide Cherry Blossom Pageant (Washington, DC)

“Paint town pink” is one of the best ways to explain the opening of the three-week Nationwide Cherry Blossom Pageant in Washington DC. In 2021, the hashtag was #StepIntoSpring.

The primary avenues on the Nationwide Mall in DC refill with the pink street indicators saying the competition. DC neighborhoods equivalent to Georgetown additionally supply competition actions and signage.

Tight buds on the Yoshino cherry bushes lining the Tidal Basin start to open into pink-tinged white blossoms. When 70% of the realm’s cherry bushes absolutely blossom, town reaches peak bloom.

Actions abound in the course of the competition in typical, non-pandemic years. Sadly, the general public competition occasions have been cancelled in 2020 resulting from COVID considerations.

In 2021, the competition launched two new actions. “Artwork In Bloom” despatched individuals attempting to find cherry blossom sculptures hidden across the metropolis, whereas “Petal Porch Parades” inspired guests to discover the numerous cherry blossom decorations in numerous DC neighborhoods .

Hopefully, the massive Nationwide Cherry Blossom Parade, Blossom Kite Pageant, Petalpalooza, and Pink Tie Social gathering will all return in spring 2022. The ANA Stage usually presents performances that display cross-cultural change via a dynamic mixture of American, Japanese, and different cultural performing arts.

If you wish to attend subsequent 12 months, the competition might be held March 20 via April 17, 2022. The parade might be held on Saturday, April 9. You may as well take part remotely by watching the blossoms stay at #BloomCam. This can be a 24/7 stay, real-time view of the cherry bushes on the Tidal Basin.  –by Terri of FemaleSoloTrek

READ MORE: The ten Finest Nationwide Parks within the USA for Wildlife Watching

Oktoberfest Parade in Helen Georgia
Oktoberfest Parade in Helen GA, photograph courtesy Discover Georgia

11. Oktoberfest (Helen, Georgia)

Situated simply 90 minutes north of Atlanta, Helen, Georgia is an enthralling little mountain city with an uncommon attraction. The entire buildings (and most of the native eating places) have been designed with inspiration from the Bavarian Alps! 

With that in thoughts, it is smart that Helen is dwelling to longest-running Oktoberfest competition within the US. The 2021 marks the occasion’s fiftieth 12 months, after it was cancelled in 2020 resulting from COVID considerations. 

Hosted by the Helen Chamber of Commerce, this 12 months’s Oktoberfest on the Helen Festhalle will start on September 9 and run via November 7. 

That is the last word annual celebration of Helen’s Alpine inspiration, with oodles of oom-pah bands, bratwurst, boot-sized beers, Lederhosen, and wonderful lasses in Dirndls.

The Festhalle provides rows of family-style tables the place guests can eat, drink, and be merry as they take heed to German polka bands from all throughout the nation. If the music strikes you, you possibly can at all times seize a associate and hit the dance flooring!  –by Bret Love of Blue Ridge Mountains Journey Information

READ MORE: Atlanta Christmas Occasions: 50+ Issues To Do For Christmas in Georgia

Plano Balloon Festival in Plano, TX USA
Plano Balloon Pageant by Neha Kulshrestha

12. Plano Balloon Pageant (Plano, Texas)

The Plano Balloon Pageant is likely one of the oldest sizzling air balloon festivals in America, operating for over 40 years. This family-friendly occasion in Plano, Texas runs for 3 days over a weekend each September.

The competition kicks off on Friday night, with round 30 balloons flying up within the air for a 1-hour experience. It’s a tremendous sight to see these large balloons protecting the sky, including a splash of coloration to the golden hour earlier than sundown.

The fascinating half is that there are balloons of assorted sizes and shapes, together with monsters, Mickey Mouse, a tortoise, and lots of extra. Balloons fly from the park on Friday at 6:00PM, Saturday at 7:00AM and 6:00PM, and Sunday at 7:00AM (climate allowing, in fact).

On the finish of each night, guests are allowed to see the balloons up shut, take photographs, work together with the balloon homeowners, and witness the must-see glow-in-the-dark balloons. There’s additionally a positive show of fireworks on Saturday night time.

Moreover the balloons, there are various extra actions for households and youngsters, together with stay musical performances, a youngsters’ play nook, craft-making zone, and meals distributors. Guests may even guide sizzling air balloon rides for a further cost. –by Neha Kulshrestha of TravelMelodies

READ MORE: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Balloon Picture Gallery)

Budweiser Horses Savannah, GA St Patrick's Day
Budweiser Horses on the  Savannah, GA St Patrick’s Day, photograph by Ruby Escalona

13. St Patrick’s Day Parade (Savannah, Georgia)

St Patrick’s Day in Savannah GA attracts individuals from far and large simply to partake within the festivities. Yearly on March 17, an enormous parade goes across the coastal metropolis’s downtown space.

The town will get so busy that, for those who plan to only do a day journey, you’ll must allot 2 hours simply to search out parking and get into town earlier than the parade begins.

The largest tons can be found in Hutchinson Island, simply throughout the river, which is accessible by taking the Savannah Belles ferry. Be aware that the traces to take the ferry are extraordinarily lengthy, and also needs to be an element when planning your journey.

Savannah locals stake their declare to the most effective parade spots early on and make a complete time out of it. They usually place tarps and chairs earlier than the dawn, and blast their music whereas having a superb time.

Native eating places are extraordinarily busy throughout this time, so reservations are a should. You’ll must plot the place you need to watch the parade prematurely so that you simply don’t find yourself strolling round aimlessly, questioning the place the parade goes to go. For reference, there’s a map accessible on-line.

After the parade, stroll over to Forsyth Park, the place the water fountain is dyed inexperienced. With vigorous Irish folks music artists and artwork, it’s a enjoyable approach to expertise Irish tradition within the southeastern US. 

Be aware that resorts are booked a 12 months prematurely, and costs are ridiculously costly. But it surely’s nonetheless a type of US festivals it’s best to do as soon as in your lifetime, and the festivities are comparable to people who are performed in Eire.

Should you want additional info, try our  Survival Information to Savannah’s St Patrick’s Day, which provides extra particulars on the occasion!  –by Ruby Escalona of A Journey We Love 

READ MORE: The 20 Finest Locations to Dwell within the Georgia Mountains

Scandinavian Festival in Junction City, OR
Scandinavian Pageant, photograph by Carole Terwilliger Meyers

14. Scandinavian Pageant (Junction Metropolis, Oregon)

The Scandinavian Pageant happens yearly in August in Junction Metropolis, Oregon, a largely Danish-heritage farming city situated about 15 miles north of Eugene.

Junction Metropolis is a cultural hub of Scandinavian heritage within the U.S., and this annual four-day competition has celebrated Scandinavian tradition and crafts since 1961.

The honest stresses authenticity and provides free admission. Guests get an opportunity to see stay trolls, dance performances, and cultural craft demonstrations, and lots of attendees don their very own Scandinavian gown and costumes.

Conventional meals on supply embody aebleskivers and Norwegian meatballs. Should you’re fortunate, kringle, Swedish customer cake, and Norwegian apple cake may additionally be on the menu.

Benefiting from the realm’s usually good climate, there’s additionally a beer backyard with stay oompah bands that gives refreshment and leisure.

Particular shows embody a life-sized Swedish picket Dala Horse, a Viking ship, a reproduction of the “Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen, and an genuine 1904 Finnish locomotive. Moreover, there are often a number of historic home museums open.  –by Carole Terwilliger Meyers of TravelsWithCarole

READ MORE: Prime 10 Residing Historical past Museums in America

SXSW Festival Austin Texas USA
Individuals attending the SXSW Pageant in Austin, Texas through Canva

15. South By Southwest/SXSW (Austin, Texas)

South By Southwest (or SXSW, as it’s extra generally recognized) is a conglomeration of well-known festivals held yearly in Austin, Texas since 1987.

It was initially only a music competition, however in the present day there are literally three most important components. Along with the music competition, SXSW additionally provides a movie competition and an interactive tech competition.

These influential Austin festivals final 10 days and are usually held in March, when the climate in Texas remains to be comparatively cool and cozy.

You should buy tickets to particular person SXSW occasions, or you should purchase a 10-day badge that often begins at $500 and goes as much as $1000+. The badges are themed by which of the completely different festivals you need to expertise.

The badges assist you skip the traces and include bonus perks, however will not be obligatory. If you wish to attend an occasion with no badge, you have to RSVP prematurely. If there are too many individuals, the occasion might be closed to attendees.

The purpose of SXSW is to assist inventive individuals obtain their purpose and rejoice the convergence of tech, movie, music, training, and tradition. In our opinion, attending this cultural competition is likely one of the most memorable issues to do in Texas!  –by Victoria Yore of SouthernTrippers; lead photograph of Burning Man by Val & Nick Wheatley of Wandering Wheatleys



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