Best American Festivals and Events

pyrocussion, Burning Man, Black Rock City, Nevada, USA

Burning Man Festival, Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA at the end of August.

USA Festivals and Events

January events

January 1: Los Angeles, California Rose Parade – Tournament of Roses Parade – in Pasadena, an immense, floaty, flowery spectacle of floats and bands celebrating top American football teams.
January 1: Philadelphia Mummers Parade, Pennsylvania – the biggest, wildest event of the year, incredible outfits and lots of comedy. If the weather’s bad the event moves to the following Saturday. From 9am.
Mid-January: Miami, Florida Art Deco Weekend – in the Miami Beach Historic Art Deco District with 1920’s-30’s style music and parades. A colourful blast from the past.

February events

Mid February: Galveston, Texas, Mardi Gras Galveston – live bands, parades, balls and costumes.
February: New York City, Chinese New Year – Chinatown Parade and Festival, with floats, bands, dragon dancers, musicians, acrobats etc etc. Parade 1-3pm.
February or March: New Orleans, Louisiana, Mardi Gras – locals start celebrating up to 2 weeks before, dressed bizarrely, intent on mayhem and well oiled good times. An outrageous must-see.
Late February-March: Daytona Beach, Florida Bike Week – the world’s biggest motorbike feast of all with events of all kinds. 2 wheels god, four wheels baaad.

2014: This outrageous Daytona Bike Week video is a fast paced 13 minute collection of the sights and sounds of the bike week experience.

March events

Early March: Anchorage, Alaska, Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race – 1131 miles from Anchorage to Nome in doggy style. . . it’s the white stuff. The start is the best bit.
Mid March: USA, St Patrick’s Day Parade – especially good in Chicago, Boston, New York and San Francisco. Aaargh, everything is green!
Mid March: Houston, Texas, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the world’s biggest animal and cowboy event, but also includes laser shows and music.

April events

April: San Antonio, Texas, Fiesta San Antonio. Over 150 different events ranging from masked balls to the Pooch Parade; the biggest party in Texas!
mid-late April: New Orleans, Louisiana New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – forget Mardi Gras if you just want to relax and enjoy some of the best live music in the country.

June events

Mid/early June: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival. Over 100 tribes pow-wow and celebrate their heritage with song and dance.
Mid June: Chicago, Illinois Chicago Blues Festival – the world’s largest free blues concert. Six stages and admission free!
Late June-Early July: Washington DC, Smithsonian Folklife Festival – Smithsonian Institute, National Mall. Music, song, dance, crafts, cooking, storytelling, discussions.

July events

July 4: USA Independence Day, a major celebration of the stars and stripes, especially good in Washington DC, New York and Boston (Harborfest).
mid/late July: Cheyenne, Wyoming Cheyenne Frontier Days – wild west festivities of every kind at the world’s largest rodeo.

August events

Early August: Sturgis, Black Hills, South Dakota Sturgis Rally, also known as Sturgis Bike Week – Hog Heaven as tens of thousands of big bikers make a terrible, colourfully obese noise.
Early August : Newport, Rhode Island, Newport Folk Festival and Jazz Festival (the world’s longest-running jazz festival)
End of August: Nevada, Burning Man Festival – one week of raving mad, liberal, artistic utopia in the desert.

September events

Early September: Seattle, Washington State, Bumbershoot at Seattle Center – over 2, 000 artists, many world famous, perform art of every kind from top flight rock to comedy, drama and poetry to bizarre sculptures.
most of September: California, Los Angeles, L. A. County Fair. The largest fair in the USA features everything from pig racing to rodeos and big name bands.
Early September: Chicago, Illinois, Chicago Jazz Festival – a free event on the picturesque shore of Lake Michigan.
Mid September: Monterey Jazz Festival in California. This, the oldest and longest running jazz festival in the world, always hosts some big names but also has workshops, exhibitions and other appropriate entertainment.
Late September: Hawaii, Aloha Festival Floral Parade – a hugely colourful and scented occasion in Oahu starts a series of events all over the islands.

Alburqurque balloon festival, USA

Alburqurque balloon festival photo by a4gpa

October events

October: Albuquerque, New Mexico, International Balloon Fiesta – a lot of hot air about.
October: Florida, Miami Carnival, a city-wide rave, with much Latin influence, especially dancing. The last Sunday in Calle Ocho culminating in a parade to the Orange Bowl is the highlight of the week.
October or November: Las Vegas Professional Bull Riders Finals – the 45 toughest hombres in the west ride the baddest bulls in one of the world’s most colourful cities.
31 October: New York City, New York’s Village Halloween Parade – a colourful and spooky occasion with over 20, 000 scary monsters on the prowl among the bands, puppets and assorted weirdos. From 7pm.

November events

Late November: New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – specialising in monster helium balloon figures. 9am-noon.

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