Things to See and Do in 2011
Whether you’re into country or carnivals, flowers or folklore, there is a great festival waiting for you. And you know what’s great? Many of them are near a KOA. That means you can head out and play during the day, then come back at night for some kickin’ back on the campground.
Centennial Year, U.S. Immigration Station at Angel Island
San Francisco, California (USA)
Through Sept. 5th
Celebrate the 100th year of Angel Island through which people from over 80 countries immigrated to the U.S. Tram, Segway and bicycle tours are also available.
Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show & Rodeo
Fort Worth, Texas (USA)
Jan. 14th -Feb. 5th
Head to the Lone Star State for 23 days of livestock shows, fantastic rodeo events, live music, delicious food and more. It’s been 115 years in the making—don’t miss it!
Quebec Winter Carnival
Quebec, Quebec (Canada)
Jan. 28th -Feb. 13th
You’ll have an incomparable experience when you visit the Winter Carnival. More than 300 shoes and activities, a huge ice palace, parades, music and more.
Canada Blooms: The Toronto Flower & Garden Festival
Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
Mar. 15th – 20th
Six acres of gardens in full bloom will wow you at Canada’s largest flower and garden festival. The whole family will love workshops, seminars, shopping and an interactive family play area.
National Cherry Blossom Festival
Washington, D.C. (USA)
Mar. 26th-Apr. 10th
Almost a century ago, the people of Japan gifted the United States with beautiful cherry blossom trees. Today, the festival celebrates the relationship between the two countries as well as the beginning of spring.
Kentucky Derby Festival
Louisville, Kentucky (USA)
Apr. 16th-May 7th
A five-time winner of the International Festival & Events Association’s Best Overall Festival award, the Derby Festival starts off with Thunder Over Louisville, one of the largest fireworks displays in the U.S. Hot air balloon events, steamboat races, sports, and outdoor concerts are capped off with the fastest two minutes in horseracing.
Portland Rose Festival
Portland, Oregon (USA)
May 27th-June 12th
For more than 100 years, the City of Roses has welcomed visitors to its festival that spotlight the beauty and history of the Northwest. It boasts the second largest floral parade in North America and is the singe largest spectator event in Oregon. This year’s theme is Carnival of Roses.
Quilt Gardens Tour
Elkhart, Indiana (USA)
May 30th – Oct. 1st
See the beauty of classic quilt patterns brought to life in flowers. Deep in the heart of Amish Country, the Quilt Gardens Tour features 36 designs—18 gardens and 18 super-sized murals—made of beautiful blooms. And each is placed along the Heritage Trail Route.
Utah Shakespeare Festival
Cedar City, Utah (USA)
June 23rd – Oct. 29th
The Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival celebrates its fiftieth year of paying tribute to the Bard of Avon. The season kicks off with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and also include more modern—yet classic—fare, including The Glass Menagerie, The Music Man and Noises Off!
30th Boston Harborfest
Boston, Massachusetts (USA)
June 29th – July 4th
Celebrate America’s Independence Day with tours, concerts, Revolutionary War re-enactments, fireworks and kid-friendly activities in this historic city. One thing you can’t miss? Chowderfest—which gives you the chance to try some of Boston’s best chowders.
Calgary, Alberta (Canada)
July 8th – July 17th
Whether you’re looking for family-friendly events, thrill-a-minute adventures or just a chance to get to know more about beautiful Calgary, the Stampede is the event for you. Use the handy online itinerary planner to help you plan your stay and purchase your tickets. Be sure to include the Rodeo, Rangeland Derby and Parade in your list of things to do!
Civil War 150th Commemoration, First Battle of Manassas
Manassas, Virginia (USA)
July 21st – July 24th
Civil War buffs won’t want to miss the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War and the Battle of First Manassas—more commonly known as the Battle of Bull Run. It will feature captivating living history demonstrations, an exhibit featuring the Underground Railroad, a Civil War baseball tournament and many other activities.
W.C. Handy Music Festival
Florence, Alabama (USA)
July 22nd – July 30th
Tip your hat to the Father of Blues, William Christopher “W.C.” Handy. This week-long festival features some 300 musical performances and other events hosted throughout the city in which Handy was born and raised.
Cheyenne Frontier Days
Cheyenne, Wyoming (USA)
July 22nd – July 31st
Darius Rucker, Jason Aldean, Kid Rock and Toby Keith are all slated to appear during this music-filled, Wild West rodeo celebration. Also enjoy a great carnival, chuckwagon cook-off, historic home tours, Grand Parade, American Indian village, and pancake breakfasts.
Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada)
July 31st – Aug. 13th
Folklorama celebrates the diversity of the people who made Winnipeg their home, and has become an annual tradition for many travelers. Visit the more than 40 pavilions to enjoy cultural performances, sample ethnic cuisines and learn more about countries from around the globe. On average, 3,000 entertainers perform at some 1,500 shows throughout the festival.
It’s an absolute must-see.
Magic of Lanterns
Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
Sept. 9th – October 30th
The Chinese Garden in Montreal Botanical Garden shimmers when its annual Chinese lantern display returns. Designed in Montreal, handcrafted in Shanghai and shipped by boat from China to Canada, more than 700 lanterns are included in each year’s display. Spot mythical characters, animals and other shapes at the magnificent and peaceful Magic of Lanterns.
Big Island Rendezvous & Festival
Albert Lea, Minnesota (USA)
Sept. 29th – Oct. 2nd
Step back in time to see what life in the New World was like 200 years ago. See artisans practice trades such as blacksmithing, weaving, furniture building and candle making. Dine on fry bread, homemade root bear, funnel cakes and smoked turkey legs. Take in tomahawk and knife throwing competitions, blackpowder shooting and musical performances. Children five and under get in free.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA)
Oct. 1st – Oct. 9th
What began as a radio station promotion has grown into the world’s largest balloon festival. See it once, and you’ll agree that there’s nothing like seeing the sky filled with glowing hot air balloons, piloted by men and women from around the world. Events include “Glowdeos”, Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension, and Special Shapes launches.
Nights of Lights
St. Augustine, Florida (USA)
Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a lighted white candle during the Christmas holidays, the oldest city in the U.S. glows with millions of sparkling lights. Take an evening tour of historic buildings, a gallery stroll or a trolley ride. And whatever you do, don’t miss the regatta, featuring boats of all sizes light up St. Augustine’s Matanzas Bay.
So…did we miss some? Tell us what festivals and celebrations you’re hoping to see in 2011? We’d love to hear all about ‘em–tell us where you’ll head in 2011 by commenting below.