And you thought your neighbor's Christmas lights were impressive. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is home to one of the world's most spectacular displays of wintertime outdoor illumination. Located in the Heilongjiang province — not all that far from Siberia — the temps at this month-long event are typically well under 0º C, but make possible the massive snow sculptures at Sun Island, and the main attraction, Zhaolin Park's Ice and Snow World, with huge ice and snow buildings that are lit up using everything from ice lanterns to lasers.
Times Square might be more famous, but Rio puts on one helluva New Years show too. Enjoy it from the best vantage possible with tickets to Réveillon Do Morro on Sugarloaf Mountain. This insane party begins around 9:30 — with cocktails, of course — and ends when the sun's coming up, with breakfast served until 4:30 am. But beyond the terrific food, drinks, samba, and soul music, the party also offers the best possible view of a fireworks display that heralds the New Year. In other words, it's like watching the Times Square party from the top of the Empire State.
The holiday season just isn't the same without music, and this holiday you can join in and be a part of the festive atmosphere by experiencing The Gaits - a High Line Soundwalk. Put on by Make Music New York, this unique event is scheduled for 5pm on December 21, and will see you and a group of like-minded folks gathering at the Southern end of the High Line, before trekking north on a unique musical walk. Using your smartphone, an event-specific, and a small portable speaker, you'll become an instrument yourself, creating a symphony of twinkling sounds, guitar chords, dulcimer strikes, splashes, horns, and applause, simply by walking — and so will everyone else walking with you, creating a one-of-a-kind communal holiday musical experience.
We'll admit: there's probably more than one Festival of Lights held around the world — and maybe even held December 6-9. But the one in central France is the only one that counts. With attendance measured in the millions, it's one of the largest celebrations in the world, as the entire city joins together and places candles along the outside of all the windows, paying homage to the Virgin Mary. While the candle ritual dates back to the 1600s, in modern days this old tradition is joined by a number of performances, light shows, and buildings — most notably the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière and Cathédrale Saint Jean-Baptiste — awash in color.
Odds are you might have trouble if you're looking for boat shoes or wing tips, but if all you want are sneakers, Sneaker Con is the place to go. This occasional event is the premiere gathering for buying, selling, or trading hard-to-find footwear. The latest installment is scheduled for Saturday, November 23 at Basketball City, and will no doubt play host to thousands of sneaker connoisseurs and an even higher number of actual shoes. And don't worry if you can't make it to this one — there are already Cons scheduled for Houston and New Orleans in the coming months.
Given its name, you might assume that the Music to Your Mouth festival involves some combination of food and live musical entertainment. And you'd be right. Scheduled for November 19-24 at Palmetto Bluff, this Lowcountry celebration will include pork & Pappy cruises of the May River, wine tastings, a dinner cooked up by Five James Beard Award Winning Chefs — Sean Brock, Chris Hastings, Linton Hopkins, Mike Lata, and Anne Quatrano — a "Potlikker" block party, a 5K, a culinary festival, a tailgate hosted by Audi, and a "Kiss the Pig" oyster roast. Food, festivities, and fun.
If you're a lover of meat, there's no better place to be this weekend than San Antonio. That's because Meatopia Texas is happening November 2 & 3 at The Historic Pearl Brewery. On hand will be over 30 chefs from around the country (but mainly from Texas), including the likes of Tim Byres, Paul Qui, and John Fink, all creating fantastic dishes using meat from the best producers in the US, and all cooked over a live fire. Add in music and drinks and you've got an ideal way to spend the weekend.
We're far from 100% sure that Vegas is the right city to host such a gathering — after all, things can look pretty ugly out on the Strip after a long night out on the town — but no matter, as it's for sure the site for the Life is Beautiful Festival. Scheduled for October 26 & 27 in downtown, this event incorporates music, food, art, and learning, with a Culinary Village of gourmet dishes and appearances by chefs like Todd English, Michael Mina, and Michael Symon, an art schedule that includes some of the city's best-known shows as well as a street art program, and a music lineup featuring performances by the likes of Beck, Vampire Weekend, Childish Gambino, Portugal. The Man, The Joy Formidable, Cayucas, hometown favorites The Killers, and many more.
We're used to seeing beer-related events run a single afternoon, or maybe — if we're lucky — a couple of days. But a whole week? Yup, and that's just part of what makes Cleveland Beer Week so special. This yearly event runs from October 18-26 in 2013 and will feature over 350 craft beer tastings, dinners, demonstations, activities, and programs. Some highlights include the Collaboration Kickoff event — going on tonight — with seven beers created specifically for the event, a Lebowski Bowling with Lagunitas event tomorrow night with both bowling and a screening of the film, beer and cheese pairings at Great Lakes Brewing's tasting room on Sunday, a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad next Friday appropriately dubbed Ales on Rails, and BREWzilla: a monster of a beer tasting, the concluding event with over 70 breweries. Whether you make it out for one event or all of them, it's well worth checking into.
If you like beer and are going to be in the area, you need to be at Snallygaster. This self-described "gargantuan beer jamboree" is a one-day event featuring food, music, and over 150 carefully curated craft beers on tap. Tickets range from $10 to $50, with the latter including early access to the taps and 30 food + drink tickets. It's scheduled for 1-6 pm on October 19 at Union Market, and promises to be "an epic day of inimitable imbibery and monstrous merriment", but perhaps the best thing about it is the fact that your admission fee goes to help support the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture.
It might have already started, but there's still time to catch the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Held once a year on the north side of town, this nine-day event — it runs Oct. 5-13 this year — is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world, with as many as 600 balloons of all shapes and sizes taking flight and crowds of up to 100,000 on the ground to watch the spectacle. Interestingly, the cool morning temperatures and a unique box-like wind pattern help to make the event a success — that, and the incredible photo opportunities provided by hundreds of colorful subjects set against a clear blue sky.
Of all the things to celebrate with a fall festival — apples, pumpkins, and corn come to mind — bacon might be the easiest to get on board with. The Festival of Bacon is a new one-day event focused on bringing the best bacon-inspired treats in Central Florida together in Festival Park for an 8-hour eating extravaganza. Scheduled for Saturday, October 5th from 11am to 7pm, the event promises over 30,000 samples of bacon, multiple competitions, free parking, live music, a liquor sampling area, skateboarding demonstrations, a kids zone, TVs showing the day's collegiate football games, bacon cocktails, and the irresistible call of bacon beer.