As you are planning your vacations for 2014 and beyond, make sure you check out some of the world’s best and most memorable festivals. From food, to music, art, and over the top parades, many festivals can span an entire month. Whether you stay a few days or a few weeks, you are certain to have the time of your life. These festivals should definitely be at the top of your list.
This street food festival is entering its sixth year. Running over a weekend from August 15 to August 17, the festival will take place on the city's east side of town. Make sure you come ready to eat as this roving event boasts over 80 street food vendors. The Friday night market kicks off the weekend with food, beer, craft cocktails, and live music. On Saturday the street food frenzy begins, and Sunday closes out the weekend with a conference hosted by La Cocina, a local nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurship and urban development.
Many cities have tried to create their own version of this beer-focused fest, but only Munich, Germany (the original location) can pull off the biggest beer festival in the world. In 2013, more than $96 million worth of beer was served every day during the festival. If beer is your drink of choice and you enjoy carnival rides, then this is the festival for you. On Saturday, September 20, the first day of the festival, the official opening ceremonies begin as the Mayor of Munich taps the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Once the first barrel has been tapped, the drinking begins. The festival lasts through October 5.
Spelled Carnaval in Portuguese, Carnival starts on February 28 and doesn't end until Match 4. It is a nonstop party filled with amazing costumes, samba music, and larger than life parades. Although Carnival is celebrated all over the country, more than 500,000 people visit Rio de Janeiro to take part in this 5 day celebration. For some, Carnival serves as a time to say farewell to the "pleasures of the flesh". So the extravagant and provocative clothing worn by the performers, led by samba schools and street carnival bands, is just par for the course.
This is the largest arts festival in the world and with over 40,000 performances and more than 2,500 shows packed into 250 venues across the city, you can see why. Taking place in Scotland’s capital city, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is three weeks long (August 1 - August 25). Organized by the Festival Fringe Society, anyone can participate, from students to superstars. Although performances include dance, music, musicals, operas, and exhibitions, theatre and comedy have by far surpassed the other genres. As stated by the Festival Fringe Society, this festival is "an inspiring celebration of the best performance and entertainment coming out of every continent of our planet."
If you needed another reason to travel to Las Vegas, then add the Electric Daisy Carnival to your list. Held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, this dusk til dawn festival fits the bill for any die hard electronica fan. Dance the night away as you jam to the tunes of some the nation's best D.J.’s. The carnival lies at the center of it all and the clowns, stilt walkers, light shows and pyrotechnics bring it all together. This festival has bragging rights as the world's largest electronic music festival. Gaining tremendous amounts of popularity, the festival has added editions in both Mexico and New York this year.
Located in Harbin, China, the Snow & Ice Festival is the largest snow and ice festival in the world. Lasting for about a month, from January 5 - February 5, this festival draws both Chinese and foreign visitors. The exhibits are known to extend beyond this timeframe, but it all depends on how fast (or slow) the ice melts. The sculptures are created from giant blocks of ice and require the assistance from almost 10,000 people to create the fascinating carvings. Mimicking everything from enormous 20-foot buildings, creatures, and snow maidens, some are even lit at night to take the creation to the next level.