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Top Events USA news blog where we hope to keep you up to date with the news about top events across the USA

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WINTER EVENTS ONLY IN WISCONSIN

They know how to enjoy winter in Wisconsin. In fact, that's why they say Old Man Winter is hotter here than anywhere else. His influence is certainly unmistakable when you look at the line-up of winter events, world-class sporting options and just plain unconventional activities that can be categorized as "only-in-Wisconsin."

The Fish Creek Winter Festival is anything but typical and is the perfect antidote to winter time cabin fever. Nestled in the heart of picturesque Door County, the town of Fish Creek, Wisconsin, sets its sight on the "weird and hysterical" in the annual event scheduled for February 2-14, 2010. The event is highlighted by one of the funniest collections of winter "sports" found anywhere in the country.

Perhaps the main attraction is the Costumed Bed Racing Competition in which teams race down the street in their luxury sleepers. Or, watch as toilet seats and bikes take to the air for the toilet seat throw and bike toss. And few things bring more laughs than the hijinxs during the snowshoe dance contest. Children can get into the fun of the Winter Festival too, with the kid's obstacle course, treasure hunt, tube toss and more. Other events for the whole family include crazy golf, sleigh rides, the arctic basketball toss, raffles and the Sock Hop at the Parkway Supper Club.

Another uniquely popular winter event is Winter Festival in Bayfield, Wisconsin, scheduled for March 5-7. Activities are scheduled all weekend long, including "Run on Water," a family race across the frozen "ice road" to Madeline Island, the "Polar Bear Plunge," where brave volunteers don festive costumes and jump into the icy waters of Lake Superior, and the Egg Toss "Pajama" Breakfast Buffet. These are just a couple of the happenings rounding out this fun-filled family adventure.

With winter temperatures at or well below freezing and an average of 45 inches of annual snowfall in Wisconsin, it comes as no surprise that the art of snow sculpting is so popular. The 25th annual Waukesha JanBoree in Waukesha, Wisconsin, will be held January 22-24, 2010, and features, among other things, professionally-carved ice sculptures on display throughout downtown Waukesha.

Winterfest on Broadway in Green Bay, Wisconsin, January 30, 2010, welcomes internationally-renowned sculptors to the historic Broadway District. At night, each masterpiece is lit and event-goers are encouraged to take a walking and hayride tour. After looking at all of the magnificent snow sculptures, enjoy cookie decorating, Eskimo games, beer barrel racing, a celebrity dunk tank, and hot chili from the Chili Cook-Off.

Among the world-class sporting events in Wisconsin are the 47th annual World Championship Snowmobile Derby on January 8-17 in Eagle River (the "Snowmobile Capital of the World") and the World Ice Fishing Championship in Rhinelander on March 12-14.

For more information about top events in Wisconsin, take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Wisconsin at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-wisconsin.html

Or, take a look at the official web site for Wisconsin at http://www.travelwisconsin.com/

Monday, December 21, 2009

MEET SANTA’S EIGHT LEGENDARY REINDEER FRIENDS IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS

Celebrate the season in Illinois and discover a wonderland of holiday events and wintertime festivals across the state. Here are some of them.

Get close to Santa Claus with a visit to Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul in Central Illinois to see the famous herd of Alaskan reindeer. The ranch plays host every year to visitors from across the nation who come to see the beautiful relatives of Santa’s eight legendary friends. The 100-year-old barns, which have been recently restored, house the animals and five acres of fertile farm grounds produce more than five thousand Christmas trees. Take your family for a day in the country to see the reindeer and pick out a magnificent tree to cut down and bring home to decorate.

The Northern Illinois sky will light up in festive colors throughout the 21st Annual Holiday Festival of Lights display in Rockford through to December 31. More than 50 lighted displays are featured throughout Sinnissippi Park. Drive through the scenic park to view breathtaking seasonal exhibits and see why this festive drive hosts more than 120,000 spectators each year.

Peoria in Western Illinois welcomes the spirit of the holidays with the East Peoria Festival of Lights holiday light show through to December 31. Some 30 floats are showcased throughout the city at various holiday festivals including Filipe’s Wonderland, where cars can drive through to marvel at the floats from their cars.

Celebrate 20 years of holiday magic and whimsical lights in Kewanee at the 21st Annual Windmont Park Lighting/Drive of Lights through to January 1.

Get up close and personal to beautiful eagles in Southwest Illinois as they take flight at the Locks & Dam Eagle Meet and Greet, Jan. 17, 24, 31 and Feb. 7. Visitors will have an opportunity to see, learn and ask questions about the eagles and their habitats at the National Great Rivers Museum. Afterwards, enjoy eagle viewing in the area by taking a 75-minute trolley tour where you can watch eagles in their natural habitat.

The city of Belleville in Southwest Illinois honors everyone’s favorite holiday cookie with the annual Gingerbread Walk through to January 4. Take a leisurely stroll along East Main Street where dozens of edible gingerbread creations are displayed in shop windows.

For more information about top events in Illinois, take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Illinois at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-illinois.html

Or, take a look at the official web site for Illinois at http://www.enjoyillinois.com

Friday, December 18, 2009

MAUI WHALE FESTIVAL CELEBRATES ITS 30th ANNIVERSARY

Join the Pacific Whale Foundation in Maui for a monthlong celebration honoring Hawai‘i’s beloved visitors, the humpback whales. The Maui Whale Festival celebrates its 30th Anniversary this coming February with lots of classes, activities, and guided whale watching tours for the entire family. Some of the notable events include the Whale Photo Safari on the 13th, A Laugh At the Park, a dinner and comedy show fundraiser featuring Augie T. on the 19th, and Maui’s Whale Day Celebration, the signature event on the 20th.

Here are a few other events to attract you to the lovely Hawaiian islands in the first few months of 2010.

The popular Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival (February 6) showcases the blooming of Waimea’s historic cherry trees and hanami, the Japanese tradition of viewing them. A host of activities sprawl from Church Row Park to the Parker Ranch Historic Homes. Visiting performers and artisans from Japan demonstrate the arts of bonsai, origami, sumie, calligraphy, and tea ceremonies. The giant craft fair and mochi pounding demonstrations take place at Parker Ranch Center.

Check out rodeo Hawaiian-style at 2010 Panaewa Stampede Rodeo (February 13-14) which features an amateur competition between cowboys, cowgirls, keiki and kupuna. Enjoy local entertainment, food and craft booths. Panaewa Equestrian Center (next to Panewa Zoo - off the Hilo Keaau Hwy) in Hilo, noon – 5 p.m. both days. Admission: Adults $6.

There will be two days of continuous entertainment, food-craft-game booths, lots of sporting events and more at the 32nd Waimea Town Celebration at Waimea, Kauai (February 19 and 20).

The 16th Annual Honolulu Festival (March 12-14) is a three-day celebration, highlighting the people and diversity of the Pacific and Asia through an impressive showcase of the arts and culture. More than 5,000 participants and visitors from Japan and other Pacific Rim countries will come to Honolulu specifically to take part in the Festival.

The Festival will be open to the public on March 13 and 14 at various locations including the Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Center and Waikiki Beach Walk. It will conclude with a spectacular Grand Parade through Waikiki along Kalakaua Avenue on Sunday, March 14. The Honolulu Festival is Hawaii's premier cultural event, promoting understanding, economic cooperation and ethnic harmony between the people of Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region.

The three-day Celebration of the Arts (April 2-4) at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua celebrates the rich heritage and culture of native Hawaiians from the past, through present and into the future. It's a unique opportunity to experience the authenticity of "Hawaiian heart and soul" through seminars, art, music and special shows.

For more information about top events in Hawaii take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Hawaii at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-hawaii.html

Or, take a look at the official web site for Hawaii at http://www.gohawaii.com/

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DAZZLING ‘DROPS’, FIREWORKS AND FRIVOLITY TO HIGHLIGHT NEW YEAR'S EVE IN FLORIDA KEYS

New Year's Eve partiers unwilling to endure cold-weather festivities, such as the traditional "ball drop" in New York's Times Square, can find exuberant celebrations and far warmer temperatures in the Florida Keys.

In Key West, revelers can choose from three very different – though equally lighthearted – takeoffs on the Times Square gala as midnight approaches Thursday, Dec. 31.

On the island city's renowned Duval Street, thousands of people are expected to ring in the New Year by watching a gigantic conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys, descend from its supports to the flat roof of Sloppy Joe's Bar, 201 Duval St. Festivities are emceed by a rooftop host and, as a huge clock counts down the seconds to midnight, the manmade shell begins to descend. Sloppy Joe's live music rounds out the revelry.

A few blocks away at the Bourbon Street Pub/New Orleans House complex, 724 Duval St., renowned female impersonator Sushi is slated to take the celebration's center stage for the 13th consecutive year. Seconds before midnight, a lavishly gowned and coiffed Sushi – riding in a super-sized red high heel that glitters as glowingly as the ball in Times Square – is to be lowered from the balcony of the complex to the accompaniment of cheers and applause from the crowd below. Performances by renowned female impersonators kick off the merrymaking.

In Key West's Historic Seaport, New Year's Eve revelry combines with a salute to the island city's colorful seafaring heritage. Just before midnight, a pirate wench is to begin her descent from the top of the mast of a tall ship, to the accompaniment of cannon blasts and the liftoff of biodegradable balloons. She will complete her earthward journey as the clock strikes and 2010 officially begins. Live music, dancing and festivities at the Schooner Wharf Bar are to round out the seaport gala.

Blackwater Sound in Key Largo is to be the setting for the Upper Keys' leading New Year's Eve fireworks extravaganza. The sparkling sky display is hosted by bayside restaurants Sundowners, Señor Frijoles, Cactus Jack's, Gus' Grille at the Marriott Key Largo Beach Resort and the Caribbean Club, all located around mile markers (MM) 103-104. Tables fill up fast, so partiers are advised to arrive early.

Visitors and residents who want to start the New Year with a focus on fitness can do so beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1, when the annual 5k Run, Walk and Crawl is to depart from Islamorada's Founders Park, MM 87 bayside.

A day of festivities is to follow, highlighted by a blessing of the fleet at Whale Harbor Bridge, MM 84 oceanside.

For more information about top events in Florida, take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Florida at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-florida.html

Or, take a look at the official web site for Florida Keys at http://www.fla-keys.com/

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NORDIC SKIING & SNOWSHOEING HOT SPOT IN THE GUNNISON-CRESTED BUTTE VALLEY

The Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley, located in southwest Colorado, has emerged as a Nordic skiing and snowshoeing hot spot with routes and events that sizzle. Groomed Nordic trails now number more than 95K, backcountry routes are plentiful, and a jam-packed calendar of events, tours and races offer opportunities to have fun and stay in shape. The Crested Butte Nordic Center and Crested Butte Mountain Resort are open for the season and are kicking off Nordic skiing and snowshoeing activities.

The Crested Butte Nordic Center is a full-service cross-country ski center providing lessons and complete rental packages for skate and classical skiing, as well as ice skating, snowshoeing and sledding. The Nordic Center maintains more than 50 kilometers of groomed trails that meander around the outskirts of Crested Butte and offers tours, races, events and ski programs.

In addition to premiere alpine skiing and snowboarding, Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers daily snowshoe tours on ski area trails with a guide at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Snowshoes, poles, water, a light snack and a lift ride are included in the cost for the two-mile outing. New this year is a daily snowshoe tour of Snodgrass Mountain from 1- 4 p.m. that includes transportation.

GUNNISON NORDIC TRAILS & EVENTS

There also is outstanding Nordic skiing and snowshoeing along backcountry routes and groomed trails at Hartman Rocks Multi-Use Recreation Area west of Gunnison, which offers a desert-like setting that is very unique for Nordic skiing. This combined with VanTuyl Ranch, the Western State College practice field on campus and Jorgensen Park encompasses approximately 45K of trails groomed by the Gunnison Nordic Club.


ABOUT GUNNISON-CRESTED BUTTE, COLORADO

Gunnison-Crested Butte is nestled among almost two million acres of pristine wilderness in southwest Colorado. Winter sports enthusiasts know the area for its world-class alpine skiing and snowboarding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing. Gunnison-Crested Butte is also a haven for outdoor summer activities. In the warmer months, visitors can choose from recreational activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping and horseback riding. Year-round visitors enjoy distinctive restaurants, unique shops and stimulating cultural opportunities, and have a wide range of lodging options — from rustic inns to guest cabins and bed-and-breakfasts to full-service resort hotels.

Recognized as the “Official Wildflower Capital of Colorado” , Crested Butte is the site of rich mining, ranching and skiing heritage and home to the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Only three miles up the road is the resort village of Mt. Crested Butte, home to the ski area, an active base area, the area’s conference center, and outstanding hiking and biking trails.

Gunnison, a real western town located 28 miles from Crested Butte, is home to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, Gunnison Whitewater Park, Gunnison Valley Observatory, Pioneer Museum and Western State College, a four-year institution offering majors in the liberal arts and sciences and professional fields. Both Crested Butte and Gunnison have thriving historic central business districts packed with shopping and dining opportunities.

In Gunnison County, visitors will find the Curecanti National Recreation Area, where dinosaur fossils were recently discovered; the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest body of water and home to the largest Kokanee salmon fishery in the United States; and The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, one of our country’s newest national parks. Gunnison County includes the quaint and historic towns of Pitkin, Gothic, Tin Cup, Marble, Powderhorn, Almont and Crystal, plus the better-known communities of Gunnison, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte. Gunnison County is part of the West Elk Loop and Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byways.


For more information about top events in Colorado, take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Coloreado at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-colorado.html

Or, take a look at the official web site for Gunnison-Crested Butte at http://www.gunnisoncrestedbutte.com/

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR CHEERFUL EVENTS IN ILLINOIS

Illinois offers a flurry of festive happenings as popular attractions showcase the spirit of the season – with Chicago leading the way.

One of the most anticipated and visited markets in the city, Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza, through to Dec. 24, has already kicked off. Visit this seasonally delightful German heritage festival and bazaar and witness the plaza transformed into a holiday wonderland where you can procure German trinkets and taste delicious holiday fare such as savory sausages and sweet waffles. Be sure to grab a glass of Gluhwein, a traditional German holiday hot spiced wine to please your palate and warm your heart, in a take-home souvenir mug.

Visit the Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier, through to January 3. Navy Pier turns into a magnificent winter spectacle of attractions, food and more. The Winter Wonderfest transports patrons to a land of beautiful, ornate winter scenes and brings the magic of the holidays to life. It’s a great family destination.

Lace up your skates and glide through an ice rink in the heart of the city at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park, open for the winter season until March 14. The scenic rink has been a staple of winter festivities in Chicago for nine years. Afterwards, warm up with some hot chocolate, browse the surrounding shops or stroll through Millennium Park to see how it transforms in the winter months.

Visit the Chicago Botanic Garden as the Wonderland Express returns to the Garden, until January 3. Take a trip through a wonderland of twinkling lights and holiday beauty where 750,000 lights sparkle outside, while inside, a 10,000 square-foot exhibition of miniature trains winds over bridges, past waterfalls and through more than 80 mini-replicas of Chicago?s favorite landmarks. A brand new ice skating rink will be on the Esplanade, or you can snowshoe on the paths of the McDonald Woods.

Nearly 1 million twinkling lights illuminate the zoo’s walkways during Brookfield Zoo’s 28th Annual Holiday Magic, every weekend in December. After visiting Santa at the Candy Cane Corner, enjoy ice-carving demonstrations, magicians and live musical performances, sample holiday treats and browse the gift shops with hundreds of unique items. New this year is the Wild Lights Spectacular light show at Roosevelt Fountain.

Enter a world of exquisite Christmas extravagance at “A Glimpse of Christmas Past” at the Cuneo Museum until December 31. The stunning mansion will be decorated in holiday finery; lights, garland, decorated trees and poinsettias add festive beauty to an already breathtaking backdrop. And the Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show at the museum, until January 2, is a Lake County tradition.

For more information about top events in Illinois, take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Illinois at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-illinois.html

Or, take a look at the official web site for Illinois at http://www.enjoyillinois.com

Monday, December 14, 2009

BETHEL, MAINE, CELEBRATES WINTERFEST

Bethel claims with some justification that it is Maine’s most beautiful mountain village – a four season recreational destination in the Androscoggin River valley and the Mahoosuc Mountains.

It has celebrated its annual WinterFest in January in some unusual ways ..... in 1999 it created the World’s Tallest Snowman (113’7” tall) and in 2008 the community set another world record: the World's Tallest SnowWoman at 122'1".

Alas, Bethel won't have a tall snowwoman overlooking its WinterFest in 2010, but there will still be plenty to see and do. New at WinterFest, happening January 23-31, will be a large outdoor ice skating rink and a 200-foot square snow maze.

There will be guided snowshoe tours and free snowshoe demos, a free Nordic ski clinic at the Bethel Inn Resort, a giant snow sculpture and ice carving on the Bethel Common, horse drawn sleigh rides, and a winter triathlon with 2.5 kilometer uphill and down hill skiing legs and a 7 kilometer run. Children can build their own snow sculptures, hot air balloon rides will be offered, along with live music and a rail jam competition for skiers and snowboarders ... and not forgetting the Old Timers 10K Ski Tour at Carter's XC Ski Center.

For more information about top events in Maine take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Maine at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-maine.html

Or, take a look at the official web site for Maine at http://www.visitmaine.com/

Photo courtesy Maine Office of Tourism

Friday, December 11, 2009

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS IN MERRY MARYLAND

Enjoy the splendor of this holiday season with a spectacular array of festive celebrations throughout Maryland. Here is just a sampling of Maryland events and festivities.

The Gaithersburg Winter Lights Festival has returned to Seneca Creek State Park for its 14th annual winter wonderland display through to January 2, 2010 (Closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1). This is a great outing for all ages, particularly if you’ve got children to entertain! Drive through the 3.5-mile light display, or take the open-air trolley.

The Garden in Lights on December 11-14, 17-21, 26-28 and 31 (closed during inclement weather) at Annmarie Garden Sculpture Park and Arts Center, Solomons, Calvert County, is a delightful holiday light show full of imaginative creations and holiday “I Spy” games for children. Holiday art exhibits, refreshments and activities inside.

The Carroll County Farmers’ Market has all of your holiday needs at the Christmas Market and Handmade Craft Show to December 19 (8am-2pm) at the Agriculture Center, 700 Smith Ave, Westminster, Carroll County. More than 50 vendors with juried crafts, Christmas decorations, fresh-baked goods, gourmet food items, fresh greens and wreaths for sale.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, 901 West Pratt Street, Baltimore City hosts Holiday Festival of Trains at the B&O through to January 3, 2010. One of the mid-Atlantic’s best holiday celebrations of toy trains and model railroading layouts. Santa will be present for visits with children on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the festival.

Enjoy lively Celtic harp music, shop for unique holiday gifts and enjoy hot wassail at the Celtic Christmas December 12-13, 19-20, 1-5pm at Boordy Vineyards, Hydes, Baltimore County. Wine tastings from Maryland’s oldest winery are also available.

Take a leisurely evening Candlelight Stroll on December 11-12, 18-19 through historic Annapolis, Maryland’s state capital since 1695. Guided tours begin at the City Dock information booth.

Historic Berlin, Worcester County, celebrates Victorian Christmas on Saturdays and Sunday, through to December 25. Berlin celebrates the season with life-size animated storybook displays, horse and carriage rides, visits with Santa, concerts, Victorian fashion show and teas.

Main Street, Quantico, Wicomico County hosts the 20th Annual Candlelight Tour of Historic Homes and Churches December 12-13, 5-8pm.

On various dates in November (now past of course) and December, St. Michaels, Oxford and Easton celebrate the holiday season in Talbot County’s picturesque hamlets with Talbot Twinkles – caroling, storytelling, festival of trees, “olde tyme” holiday parade, “midnight madness,” “moonlight madness” and other special events.

For more information about top events in Maryland take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Maryland at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-maryland.html

Or, take a look at the official web site for Maryland at http://visitmaryland.org

Friday, December 4, 2009

ANNUAL ZO'S HOLIDAY PARTY - More Than 400 Kids in South Florida to Receive Gifts at Annual Holiday Party with Support from Community

Not all events are about self-indulgent fun. Not that there's anything wrong with self-indulgent fun - but sometimes we need to take a break and look at what might be fun for those less fortunate than us. And here is a way to do just that.

On December 7th, Alonzo Mourning Charities are hoping to make the 2009 Holidays especially memorable for children across South Florida with their annual Zo’s Holiday Party.

It’s all about the kids and this year the community has a chance to get involved in something special and meaningful this holiday season. With more than 400 children invited to attend this year’s event, a toy drive is being held to ensure that each child will receive a present.

The more than 400 kids invited to Zo’s Holiday Party range in ages from 8-18 years old and are selected from partner organizations. The Holiday Party festivities will include a talent show, holiday cookie decorating, face painting, seasonal music, dancing, and a traditional holiday dinner. A goal of Alonzo Mourning Charities’ is that each child will receive their own special gift at the party with the help of local supporters.

The public is encouraged and invited to get involved and spread some holiday cheer this year in a number of ways:

Donate a new, unwrapped toy and deliver or mail it to the Alonzo Mourning Charities office at 2901 Florida Avenue, Suite 806, Coconut Grove, FL 33133;

Purchase a gift online from the Alonzo Mourning Charities wish list registry in-store or online at Toys ‘R’ Us or Target Stores.

Submit a monetary donation via Paypal; or mail check/drop off cash to the Alonzo Mourning Charities office above.

To get involved or for more information, please contact Nile Patrick, Community Relations Coordinator, at (305) 476-0095 x111 or npatrick@amcharities.org.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

CABS, CHARDS, AND CHEFS TO CONGREGATE IN THE CRESCENT CITY

Plans are underway for the 2010 New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE), in the city that ranks number one in ten categories in Travel + Leisure’s “America’s Favorite Cities” survey.

NOWFE, which also garners its own high rankings as a “perennial ‘Top Ten' Wine and Food festival,” as noted in Wine Enthusiast, features over 175 wineries and more than 75 celebrated restaurants.

The 5-day event, which has raised nearly $1,000,000 for local charities, will take place May 25–29, 2010 in various locations throughout historic New Orleans.

“No other city can offer the rich history, beautiful landscape and architecture, eclectic art, and diverse music scene – not to mention some of the best cuisine in the country – along side one-thousand different vintages,” says Octavio Mantilla, NOWFE President. “Our events take place right in the heart of the city, where guests can enjoy the wine and food, while partaking in shopping, live entertainment, French Quarter revelry or just one-of-a-kind people-watching.”

Some of New Orleans most famous landmarks will serve as backdrop to the 2010 event. More than 30 of New Orleans most talked about restaurants will host Wine Dinners on Wednesday, May 26; the popular Royal Street Stroll will take place on Thursday, May 27, while the Louisiana Superdome will serve as the home of the Grand Tastings on Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29.

“Each year NOWFE adds new programs, seminars and events to the schedule,” states Joyce Godbold, NOWFE Executive Director. “We try to keep the seminars fresh, relevant and exciting.”

This year’s seminars will include: “The Craft of Curing”, a lesson on the intricacies of curing meats; a look at the bounty of Gulf seafood at “Gone Gulfing”, “Let them Eat Cake” will showcase dessert wines and their accompaniments, “Romancing the Rhone”, will explore Rhone varietals, and a special champagne & sushi seminar.

“New Orleans just gives you a good feeling, and NOWFE really uncorks that sentiment,” adds Mantilla. “We invite everyone to come and be immersed in the feeling that is New Orleans.”

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is a non-profit organization. The Board of the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience donates 100% of the events' profit to support their programs and foundations. Proceeds from the 2009 event benefited University of New Orleans School of Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism, the Louisiana Restaurant Association's ProStart Program, The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Delgado Community College Culinary Arts Program, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, Girls First, Cancer Crusaders, Animal Rescue of New Orleans, Coach Sean Payton's Play It Forward Foundation and Fore! Kids Foundation.

For more top events in Louisiana take a look at the Top Events USA pages on Louisiana top events and festivals at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-louisiana.html

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

SOUTH BEACH WINE AND CULINARY EXTRAVAGANZA

The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival is a one-of-a-kind extravaganza – a national, star-studded, four-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned winemakers, spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities.

The Festival will take place in and around the sun and sand of Miami’s South Beach this February 25-28, 2010, debuting some new events and returning classics.

True to fashion, the ninth annual wine and culinary extravaganza returns with events highlighting the latest trends in the industry. The 2010 Tribute Dinner honoree is world-renowned culinary master Daniel Boulud, a winner of multiple awards from the James Beard Foundation and recipient of the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur from the French government for his contribution to the advancement of French culinary culture, among several other accolades.

The celebration will feature dishes from some of the finest chefs: Eric Ripert, Paul Bartolotta, Claude Troigros, Nobu Matsuhisa, and Festival host hotel Loews Miami Beach executive chef Gordon Maybury.

Exciting new additions to the 2010 Festival include:
The Festival highlights the talents of the hottest new dining destination in Miami, the Miami Design District, with a one-of-a-kind dining opportunity to taste the culinary expertise of chefs from Senora Martinez, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Pacific Time, and Fratelli Lyon – all in one evening!

The Barilla Interactive Lunch series at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables receives a makeover as the Festival debuts a Barilla Interactive Dinner hosted by Lidia Bastianich and her son, wine specialist Joe Bastianich.

Ming Tsai will host a late night Dim Sum & Disco party under the alluring atmosphere of the Setai.

Food Network stars including Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives), Paula Deen (Paula’s Best Dishes), Pat and Gina Neely (Down Home with The Neelys), and Sandra Lee (Sandra’s Money Saving Meals) will be on-hand for culinary demonstrations and book signings at the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village, late night parties, and more!

Enjoy the Wine Spectator wine seminars with executive editor Thomas Matthews and senior editor Bruce Sanderson. Also, wine aficionados Gary Vaynerchuk, Kevin Zraly and Mark Oldman will be on-hand to help navigate both novices and experts thru the finest selections in the Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida portfolio at the Bank of America lifestyle seminars.

Festival favorites return, re-invented with fresh new faces:
The Amstel Light Burger Bash hosted by Rachael Ray presented by Allen Brothers will feature top burger-making gurus, like the Shake Shack, Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, and Laurent Tourondel, along with People’s Choice Award Winner from the 2009 Festival, Spike Mendelsohn.

The Festival’s perfect pairing of barbeque and champagne on the beach will return with a BAM, as the Perrier-Jouët BubbleQ hosted by Emeril Lagasse. Last year’s tribute dinner honoree will play host to some of the finest names on the grill, including John Besh, Dean Fearing, Chris Lilly, Adam Perry Lang, Todd English, Aarón Sánchez, and many more.

Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best sponsored by Bank of America will return at the illustrious Fontainebleau Miami Beach, the picture perfect setting to find some of the world’s best winemakers personally pouring their selections alongside premier chefs serving their delicacies. Among the list of participating wineries for this year is Au Bon Climat, Caymus Vineyards, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Opus One Winery, Rubicon Estate, and several more additions to come. Culinary participants for Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best in 2010 include David Burke, Scott Conant, Paul Liebrandt, Michael White, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, and others.

The Festival’s family favorite, South Beach Diet presents Fun and Fit as a Family is going into its third year, and will take place again at the tropical grounds of Jungle Island in Miami. Fun and Fit as a Family will again feature the Kellogg’s Kidz Kitchen, plus the wildly popular Food Labs hosted by Food Network and Share Our Strength®, where kids can cook healthy recipes alongside top chefs; plus fitness activities, healthy food tastings and more! Jungle Island is also home all year long to the Children’s Sustainable Food Garden, which features different herbs and vegetables of a completely organic nature and provides an opportunity for children to interact with these items in a way that engages all of the senses. Check out the fun at www.funandfitasafamily.com.

All proceeds of the Festival benefit the students of the Florida International University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management who also assist Festival organizers with sponsorship fulfilment, restaurant and exhibitor recruitment, logistics, and inventory as well as working alongside some of the world’s greatest celebrity chefs and winemakers. In addition to receiving a first-rate education in one of the country’s most diversified hospitality and tourism markets, these students are provided the opportunity to work hands-on with some of the industry’s most experienced leaders.

The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine is produced by Florida International University and Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida with the support of the Miami Beach Visitors & Convention Authority and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information about the Festival, visit www.sobewineandfoodfest.com .

For more information about other top events in Florida, take a look at The Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Florida at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-florida.html

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Mexico’s 2010 Tournament of Roses® Parade Features Balloons, Chuck Jones’ Pepé Le Pew

Academy-Award®-winning Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat, entertainers of the young and the young at heart for more than 60 years, will take to the southern California skies aboard one of the Land of Enchantment’s most iconic images when New Mexico’s float – “Enchantment is in the Air” - travels Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California January 1 in the 2010 Tournament of Roses® Parade.

The float design was unveiled this evening (October 29, 2009) at a reception at the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum – a fitting location considering New Mexico is America’s premier ballooning capital; and Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat were created by the late cartoonist Chuck Jones. Even with his passing, Chuck’s ties to New Mexico remain strong - one of the three Chuck Jones Galleries is located near the Santa Fe Plaza.

The parade begins at 9 a.m. Mountain Time on New Year’s Day.

This is the fourth time in the past five years that New Mexico will be represented by a float in the Tournament of Roses® Parade, and it follows on the heels of last year’s float, “Hats Off To New Mexico – Beep Beep,” starring Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner, which won the Bob Hope Humor (“most comical and amusing”). The 2008 float, featuring Roswell aliens and Spaceport America, was also honored, as winner of the as Grand Marshal’s Trophy “for excellence in creative concept and design.” It is one of the top three awards given each year.

Nearly 40 million Americans in 16.5 million households tuned in to watch the parade on nine national and international television networks each year. The Parade is also broadcast live in 150 countries and territories worldwide. Other media-oriented events promoting New Mexico in Southern California are also being planned.

Once again, the New Mexico float is designed by award-winning float designer Raul Rodriguez and built by Fiesta Parade Floats of Pasadena, Calif. under contract with the Tourism Department.

Nothing says “A Cut Above the Rest” (the theme of the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade) like New Mexico’s hot air balloons. “It can be a huge undertaking or something quite simple,” Secretary Cerletti said of the challenge to create a float that can represent New Mexico’s diverse entertainment offering in a colorful, eye-catching design.

The love-struck French skunk Pepé Le Pew is seeking “l’amour” as he yet again is in romantic pursuit to seduce Penelope Pussycat with amorous gifts of red roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates. In her attempt to escape the ever-persistent Pepé, Penelope dangles precariously from the gondola of a swaying hot-air balloon. Pepé turns from side-to-side as he offers tokens of his affections.

The picturesque landscapes of New Mexico are comically depicted in animation art form from the snow-capped trees of the majestic mountains, through the teetering rock formations on down to the colorful desert floor bursting alive with blooming yuccas.

Pepé and Penelope will be artistically crafted in layers of velvety black onion seed and crisp white coconut flakes. The colorful hot air balloons are created in a rainbow of materials including yellow and gold strawflower petals, green split peas, blue, hot pink and purple sinuata statice, dehydrated carrot and red bell peppers, safflower spice, sweet rice and coconut flakes. The gondola baskets are woven in cornhusk and kiwi vines. Fiesta Parade Floats worked closely with Warner Bros. to insure the figures of Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat were reproduced to their exact specifications.

The colorful landscape of New Mexico comes vividly alive in over 50,000 roses. The unique rock formations are created in butterscotch and bronze chrysanthemums with striations of roses including brown Leonodis, Café Ole, Coffee Break and tan Caramel and Sahara roses. The desert floor comes vibrantly alive in orange rose shades of Saturno, Star 2000, Mercedes, Tropical Amazon and Verano. Fluffy clouds of white coconut flakes float above the landscape floor. Yucca blossoms have been created in over 10,000 white dendrobium orchid florets individually glued onto small welded rods.

For more information on other top events in California visit www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-california.html and for top events in New Mexico visit www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-new-mexico.html

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DETAILS OF NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION IN NEW YORK CITY

Add ImageWhen the second-by-second countdown to midnight on December 31 starts, the eyes of the world are on New York’s Times Square, gathering place for hundreds of thousands of revelers and focal point for a billion worldwide television viewers.

The event is a global tradition, a collective farewell to the departing year as the world-famous New Year’s Eve Ball descend from the flagpole atop One Times Square at midnight.

Here is the schedule for the New Year’s Eve festivities:

4pm: The Revelers
Revelers start arriving late in the afternoon on New Year's Eve. By approximately 4pm, the “bow tie” of Times Square (42nd–47th Streets, between Broadway and Seventh Avenue) becomes a focal point for the festivities. The NYPD will direct revelers to gather in separate viewing sections. As one section fills up, police will direct new arrivals to the next section. As the evening progresses, revelers continue to fill the Times Square neighborhood along Broadway and Seventh Avenue, and as far north as Central Park.

6–6:03 pm - Lighting and Raising the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball
The celebration begins with the lighting and raising of the New Year’s Eve Ball atop One Times Square.

11:59pm - The 60-Second Countdown
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Times Square 2010 special guest (to be announced) will push the Waterford crystal button that signals the descent of the New Year’s Eve Ball, and lead the 60-second countdown to the New Year atop the Countdown Stage at Duffy Square (the center island from Broadway to Seventh Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets).

Midnight - 2010 Sign
At the stroke of midnight, the lights on the New Year’s Eve Ball are turned off as the numerals “2010” are illuminated high above Times Square.

Several events will take place leading up to the ball drop, including:

Confetti Wishing Wall–The Confetti Wishing Wall will be at the Times Square Information Center, located at Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets). New Year’s Eve is a time when people of every background come together to express a collective hope for renewal; a yearning for a better personal or global future can sometimes take the form of resolutions or wishes. With that in mind, visitors to the Information Center are invited to write their wishes and resolutions for 2010 on pieces of paper, which will be displayed on the wall. For those who cannot make it to Times Square to add their wishes, a virtual wall has been created at timessquarenyc.org. At midnight on December 31, the wish papers will become part of the confetti that rains down on the City. (Note: specific dates of Confetti Wishing Wall to be posted at timessquarenyc.org)

Good Riddance Day—The co-organizers of New Year’s Eve in Times Square (Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment) are inviting the public to say good-bye, once and for all, to those bad memories at the third annual Good Riddance Day. Shredders will be available for use in Duffy Square so everyone can discard their distasteful, embarrassing and downright depressing memories from 2009. (Note: specific date of Good Riddance Day to be posted at timessquarenyc.org)

Other New Year’s Eve Events in NYC:

For those seeking other New Year’s Eve entertainment options beyond Times Square, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises is offering a New Year’s Eve party cruise, which includes a full open bar, hors d’oeuvres, a nonstop DJ, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets for the three-hour cruise are $120 (must be 18 for the cruise, and 21 to drink alcohol). For more information, click on the ”special events” section of circleline42.com.

If a New Year’s Eve run around Central Park appeals to you, check out the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, hosted by New York Road Runners. There will be a DJ and dancing at 10pm, a costume parade and contest at 11pm, and fireworks and a four-mile race at midnight. More information can be found at nyrr.org.

Brooklyn residents and visitors can take part in the borough’s largest New Year’s Eve party at Grand Army Plaza, which will include fireworks and live music. The best viewing locations for the fireworks are within Grand Army Plaza, along West Drive in Prospect Park, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and Ninth Street. For more information, go to prospectpark.org.

For more information about visiting New York City, take a look at the Top Events USA selection of top events and festivals in New York, or check out the City’s official tourism website at nycgo.com.

Photo courtesy Countdown Entertainment

Monday, October 19, 2009

Whether we want to think of Christmas before Halloween is done or not - prepare yourself for lots of blogs here about top events and festivals about the Christmas season - this will be the best place to find out about the best in Christmas events coming your way. For the top Christmas events in the USA visit http://www.topeventsusa.com/christmas-events.html

DECK THE HALLS IN CALIFORNIA

There is no typical way to spend the winter holidays in California. Chalk it up to a variety of natural terrain, but you’re just as likely to find yourself building a “snowman” on the beach as creating one in a snowy wonderland.

The authentic Danish city’s village streets of Solvang , for example, are decked out for the entire months of November and December with seasonal adornments and more than 150 boutiques and specialty shops hosting open houses as part of the town’s Annual Julefest Celebration. Highlights include the tree lighting ceremony December 4 with dance performances and musical entertainment in Solvang Park, the Julefest Parade December 5 and the Nativity Pageant December 12.

You would expect twinkling lights during the holidays – but on a boat? That’s just how they celebrate in Oxnard with the annual Parade of Lights, when vessels, illuminated with thousands of lights, sail and motor throughout Channel Islands Harbor. Visitors can catch all the action this year December 12 from the harbor, as well as restaurants and the water. Huge displays with creative themes will also be displayed along Christmas Tree Lane on F and G Streets in Oxnard’s historic district, where travelers can drive or leisurely walk through the neighborhoods to take in the creative shows.

They may have boats in Oxnard, but they’ve got tractors in Calistoga. The 14th Annual Lighted Tractor Parade is the ultimate in small-town Christmas experiences. On December 5, vintage and modern tractors, antique trucks, human-powered vehicles and construction equipment bedecked with dazzling lights will roll down Calistoga’s main street to celebrate the season and the town’s agricultural heritage.

In Santa Cruz, Old Saint Nick ditches the sled and opts to hang ten November 28, when the jolly old fellow and his reindeer ride the waves to shore on surfboards at Capitola Beach, then pitch a lawn chair on the sand to take wish list requests from kids while Donner and Blitzen break out the candy and holiday cheer.

San Francisco’s Union Square may be one of the most celebrated shopping districts in the country. In addition to its variety of shops offering unique gifts and wares, visitors can don a pair of skates at the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square for 90-minute sessions from November 11 to January 18, 2010.

Celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas at the Rancho Guajome Adobe in Vista, a hacienda and National Historic Landmark that depicts Anglo-Hispanic architecture. Guests can wander through the 28 decorated rooms, designed to replicate the holiday décor in the 1800s using natural materials to make wreaths, garlands and centerpieces November 25-26.

In San Diego, travelers can share the holidays with creatures of the ocean at SeaWorld’s Holiday Celebration with special shows and distinctive joyful experiences, such as “Shamu’s Holiday Night” and “Clyde and Seamore’s Night Before Christmas,” along with The Polar Bear Express 4-D Experience that features snow, fog and wind effects at the park’s Mission Bay Theater.

It’s not often – if ever – that you see a 30-foot LEGO Christmas tree. But the annual Holiday Block Party December 19-31 at Legoland in Carlsbad is back, with tree, a life-sized Santa and reindeer built entirely from LEGO blocks.

It’s a miner’s Christmas – literally – at Columbia State Park in the Gold Country Region, when costume interpreters recreate the mining camp of the 1850s as homesick miners roast chestnuts, drink cider and perform live music for park visitors. This year, the festivities take place the weekends of December 12-13 and 19-20.

Get your holiday shopping done early this year while enjoying the spirit of a small-town Christmas at the 35th Anniversary of the Sonora Christmas Festival November 27-29, when more than 200 artisans present their crafts, along with performances by carolers and costumed elves.

They are going Swedish in Kingsbury with the Santa Lucia Festival and Parade. It’s all part of this Swedish village’s annual Christmas tradition. The day starts early on December 5 with a traditional Swedish breakfast, an arts and crafts festival and later a gingerbread house contest. In the evening is the Festival of Lights Parade.

Also in the Central Valley Region is Christmas Tree Lane on Fresno’s Van Ness Boulevard, where the street is transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland with light displays adorning trees, lawns and homes making up a mile-long Yuletide homage December 5-26.

Tis the season to leave the sweater, scarf and gloves at home when you’re escaping to Palm Springs. With temperatures hovering in the 70s, visitors are in for a balmy visit that might include the Festival of Lights Parade December 5 on Palm Canyon Drive with its lighted floats, equestrians and celebrities.

The magic and the sparkle of the holidays shine bright at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. The resort transforms November 13 through January 3, 2010, with the return of popular holiday versions of It’s a Small World and the Haunted Mansion, along with colorful décor and a nightly snowfall on Main Street. The Disneyland Christmas Tree is also specially designed to present a nightly merry light show like no other with more than 62,000 energy-efficient LED lights.

The shopping mecca Fashion Island in Newport Beach hosts a massive 115-foot Christmas tree, which becomes illuminated with more than 17,000 lights and ornaments during the Fashion Island Tree Lighting Ceremony November 21-22.

Ferndale, possibly the best preserved Victorian town in the country, turns on the lights of its 160-foot high Siska spruce December 6 in a holiday tradition that dates back to 1934. For three evenings (December 9-11), historic inns, rustic retreats and modern motels on the coast are alit and abuzz with holiday cheer for the Annual Mendocino Coast Candlelight Tour. Innkeepers and strolling carolers welcome guests, along with those bearing spiced apple cider and sweet treats, as visitors stroll through the decorated properties.

They deck the “hills” in Beverly Hills, home to star-studded events and glamorous abodes. This year, festivities kick off November 21 with a UNICEF holiday lighting ceremony featuring a fireworks show behind the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The West Coast home to the UNICEF Snowflake is lit by top celebrities every year. A total of four blocks of Rodeo Drive is closed off to this family-friendly celebration with its variety of festivities, including face painters, stilt walkers, musicians and caricature artists. Who hasn’t watched the televised Tournament of Roses Parade the first of the year? But being there in person is so much more powerful, as you and more than one million of your new friends soak up the magnificent floats, marching bands and equestrian units. This year’s theme is “A Cut Above the Rest,” and promises to be as exceptional as ever as the event cruises the 5.5-mile parade route.

Old Town Temecula in the Inland Empire Region welcomes Santa Claus November 27. Dressed in his Christmas red velvet, Santa traditionally arrives on a horse-drawn sleigh. Old Town is also adorned in the holiday spirit with lights and festive displays. You can also head to Snow Summit Ski Resort in Big Bear Lake for a New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade as skiers and snowboarders glide down the mountain in a steady stream of torchlights.

For more information about California go to www.VisitCalifornia.com.

For the top Christmas events in the USA visit http://www.topeventsusa.com/christmas-events.html

Friday, October 16, 2009

HOLIDAYS BEGIN WITH LIGHT UP NIGHT IN THE NATION’S OLDEST CITY!

The City of St. Augustine will begin its annual Nights of Lights celebration during the Nights of Lights Light-up Night on November 21, 2009.

At 6:30 p.m., St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles, along with several past St. Augustine mayors, will “Flip the Switch” that will turn on more than two million tiny white lights lining the historic buildings, plaza and narrow, brick-paved streets transforming the Nation’s Oldest City into an enchanting destination that has become one of the South’s most popular holiday getaway destinations.

In a manner befitting the Nation’s Oldest City, this inspiring display of light is based on the tradition of the town’s original Spanish colonists who placed a white candle in their windows to brighten the nights during the Christmas holidays. Continuing through January 31, 2010, St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights provides a fantastic backdrop for more than 50 festivals, special tours and events throughout St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches. For a complete list of Nights of Lights events, visit http://www.NightsofLights.com.

This year, visitors to St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches can save money during their holiday-time visit with the destination’s recently launched discount program, The Getaway Card. This exciting new discount program provides an array of discounts to some of the area's most popular attractions, restaurants, hotels, resorts, golf courses and shopping venues.

Visit http://www.MyGetawayCard.com to print your free Getaway Card and preview a list of participating outlets and offers. In addition, participating businesses in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and the Beaches visibly display the Getaway Card logo so that visitors can easily identify where they can save.

For more details on other annual top events in Florida, visit the Top Events Florida page at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-florida.html

Thursday, October 15, 2009

NYC & COMPANY INVITES GHOULS AND GOBLINS, VISITORS AND LOCALS TO
CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN IN NYC

This Halloween, hike a haunted hill, discover the creepy critters of the deep blue sea and become a character from your wildest dream.

New York City welcomes kids, teenagers, adults and families to celebrate this year’s fun-filled Halloween weekend. As visitors continue to seek value on their trips to the five boroughs, NYC & Company, the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York, announced today a variety of free and low-cost Halloween events and activities for all ages. As always, the Annual New York’s Village Halloween Parade is expected to draw thousands to Greenwich Village the evening of Halloween, but there are many other events leading up to October 31 that will get visitors and residents excited for this month’s spooky festivities.

“New York City is a great place to celebrate all occasions,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. “Halloween happens to be one of the most exciting times because everyone participates. Whether you’re trick-or-treating, pumpkin picking or getting into costume, Halloween allows all to celebrate the fall with kid-friendly and family-oriented indoor and outdoor activities.”

Enjoy the brisk days of autumn with eerily fun Halloween-inspired happenings across the five boroughs.

The Bronx:
Take a haunted safari, go on a hayride, watch magic shows and learn how to carve animal jack-o’-lanterns and make masks at the Bronx Zoo’sBoo at the Zoo. Weekends until November 1; general admission $15 for adults and $11 for children ages 3–12 (children ages 3–12 wearing a wildlife costume will receive free admission when accompanied by an adult purchasing full-price admission; limit one child per paying adult). www.bronxzoo.org

Get ready for a full day of fun and learning at the New York Botanical Garden’s Halloween Hoorah! Play with leaves, decorate pumpkins and learn about the vampire bat. Sunday, October 25, 11am–5:45pm; all-garden admission $20 for adults and $8 for children ages 2–12. www.nybg.org

Brooklyn:
Visit the Gravesend Inn Haunted Hotel, a high-tech haunted house designed by faculty and students at the New York City College of Technology. October 16, 17, 22–24, and 29–31; admission $6 for adults and $4 for students with a valid ID and children under 12. entertainmenttechnology.org/gravesendinn

Learn about monsters of the deep at the New York Aquarium’s Halloween at the A-Scarium on Coney Island. Hear scary sea yarns, watch an expert pumpkin carver, make a sea-creature mask and trick-or-treat at holiday treat stations. October 24, 25, 31 and November 1; general admission $13 for adults and $9 for children ages 3–12 (children ages 3–12 wearing a wildlife costume will receive free admission when accompanied by an adult purchasing full-price admission; limit one child per paying adult). www.nyaquarium.org

Manhattan:
Flock to Central Park to view scarecrows at the Pumpkin Festival’s Scarecrow Contest. Register online by Friday, October 16, to secure scarecrow entry. Scarecrow viewing Saturday, October 24, noon–5pm, Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. The top three scarecrow entries from each age category will be displayed afterward at the Arsenal Gallery, which houses the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation’s headquarters. www.nycgovparks.org/email_forms/scarecrow/index.html

Prepare for goose bumps at the Nightmare: Vampires haunted house. The interactive exhibition is designed to terrify the senses while exploring the history—and horror—of vampires. October 14–18, 20–31, Nov. 1, Nov. 4–7; advance tickets $30, at the door $35. Bring children ages 10 and under on October 24 for Kids Day; tickets $15. Otherwise no children under 12 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. www.hauntedhousenyc.com

Queens:
Pick Your Own Pumpkin at the Queens County Farm Museum—the perfect activity for all ages. October 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31, 11am–4pm, weather permitting; free admission except October 25, when admission is $5 per person for the Children’s Fall Festival. Price of pumpkin based on its size. www.queensfarm.org/events.html

Venture into the woods for a Haunted Hike in Forest Park. The forest is the ultimate dwelling of creatures that go bump in the night—beware spooky surprises. Saturday, October 31, 6pm; free. www.nycparks.org

Staten Island:
Enjoy the day outside with family and friends partaking in crafts, games and costumes at the Halloween Harvest Fair at the Conference HousePark. Saturday, October 17, 11am–4pm; free admission but $10 for children’s unlimited access to inflatable slide and bounce houses. www.nycparks.org

Join the ghosts of St. George Theatre at its Halloween Extravaganza, an award-winning show that features spine-shivering special effects and illusions. Friday, October 30, 7:30pm; tickets $10, $18, $20 and $28. www.stgeorgetheatre.com/events.htm

For more information on visiting New York City at Halloween, go to www.nycgo.com.

For more information about other annual top events in New York, visit the Top Events USA page on New York at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-new-york.html

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TOP EVENTS ALL YEAR ROUND IN PENSACOLA

Pensacola could be named the Festival City, since every month of the year residents and visitors find something to celebrate. There are refined events such as the wine and jazz festival and wacky events such as the mullet toss. There are food festivals for seafood, sausage, bushwackers and crawfish, and there are fitness events such as the Double Bridge Run and the St. Patty’s prediction race. There are lively parades, whether it’s Mardi Gras floats or a decked-out boats. Whatever your style, there’s a special event for you in the Pensacola Bay Area.

Polar Bear Dip. Jan. 1. The Flora-Bama Lounge at the Florida-Alabama line hosts this popular, annual splash-around in the Gulf of Mexico. (850) 492-0611.

Mardi Gras. Feb. 12-14. One of the country’s original celebration sites, Pensacola hosts family-oriented Mardi Gras fun at numerous parades with lots of beads and moonpies. (850) 436-7638, www.pensacolamardigras.com.

McGuire’s 5K Prediction Run. March 13. With more than 5,000 participants, it is Pensacola’s largest run and the nation’s largest prediction run. Awards go to the fastest as well as the most accurate in predicting the time it will take to complete the course. (850) 433-6789, www.mcguiresirishpub.com.

Beulah Sausage Festival. March 19-21. Enjoy some of Nashville’s hottest country music stars, arts and crafts, carnival-style rides and of course, great sausage. (850) 944-3167, www.beulahsausagefest.com.

Pensacola Wine Festival. April 2-4. Sample more than 100 wines from around the world while Pensacola’s top restaurants lead cooking demonstrations. (850) 434-5371, www.pensacolawinefestival.com.

Pensacola JazzFest. April 10-11. Pensacola’s historic Seville Square hosts an event filled with great jazz performed by local and national talents. (850) 433-8382, www.jazzpensacola.com.

26th Annual Interstate Mullet Toss. April 23-25. Perdido Key’s Flora-Bama Lounge on the Florida-Alabama state line hosts this wacky annual tournament that has participants compete in tossing an actual mullet. Live music, food and drinks. (850) 492-0611.

26th Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival. May 7-9. Held along the bay in Bartram Park, indulge at one of the largest crawfish boils in Florida. (850) 433-6512, www.fiestaoffiveflags.org.

7th Annual Outside Art Fair. May 15-16. Celebrate warm spring weather with nearly 100 local artists, live entertainment, good food and children’s activities on the bay at Bartram Park. (850) 432-9906, www.artsnwfl.org.

Evenings in Olde Seville Square. Thursdays, May-Aug. This well-attended summer concert series in Seville Square features a variety of musical styles from big band and jazz to rock-n-roll. (850) 438-6505.

Bands on the Beach. Tuesdays, May-Sept. Celebrate summer at the Gulfside Pavilion on Pensacola Beach with local musical favorites. (850) 932-2257.

Fiesta Days Celebration and Boat Parade. June 3-12. This annual event celebrates the founding of Pensacola, the first European settlement in the U.S., in 1559 by Spanish Conquistador Don Tristan de Luna. (850) 433-6512, www.fiestaoffiveflags.org.

Sounds of Summer. June-Aug. The beat goes on in Pensacola Beach with this free concert series most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Quietwater Shell on the Boardwalk. (850) 932-1500

Pensacola Beach Air Show. July. This must-see event features a show by the world-famous Blue Angels. (850) 932-2257.

Pensacola Seafood Festival. Sept. 24-26. Sample a variety of mouth-watering seafood dishes, enjoy continuous live entertainment, shop at the many arts and crafts vendors, and participate in a 5K. (850) 433-6512

Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show. Nov. With Pensacola as its home base, the Blue Angels perform the season’s final show at Naval Air Station Pensacola. (850) 452-2583, www.blueangels.navy.mil.

Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival. Nov. Talented artists bring new music to the Gulf Coast. (850) 492-7664, www.fbisf.com.

Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival. Nov. 5-7. Browse more than 200 fine art and hand-made craft exhibitors in Pensacola’s historic Seville Square. www.ggaf.org.

Holiday Evening in Olde Seville Square. Dec. Get in the holiday spirit with the Christmas concert outdoors under the oaks. (850) 438-6505.

Lighted Boat Parade. Dec. Decorated vessels parading against the dark December sky delight those watching from the shores along Portofino Boardwalk. The nautical parade officially delivers Santa Claus to the Island. (850) 932-1500.

For information on the top annual vents and festivals in Florida, visit http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-florida.html

For more information about Pensacola please visit http://www.visitpensacola.com/

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Missouri Introduces 1st Annual Fox Trotter Heritage Days

Top Events USA brings news today about a new event in Ava, Missouri.

The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association's 1st Annual Fox Trotter Heritage Days are due to take place October 16th and 17th, 2009 at the MFTHBA Show Grounds in Ava, Missouri.

The two day event will offer “A fun filled family weekend to include a bluegrass festival (plus all day jam session on the front porch), country western dancing (two-step, line dancing and square dancing), Sassafras Sprouts Hoedowners, Miss Heritage Days Contest for girls kindergarten through 12th grade, horse pull, petting zoo, farmer’s market, art show, games and old-time contests for children and adults, fishing pond, and 40+ vendors including an old-time photographer.

There will also be all day demonstrations and displays on Saturday, Oct 17th such as molasses making, basket making, rope making, Fox Trotting Horse demonstrations and Civil War re-enactors.

At 5:pm Saturday Oct. 17th there will be a Horse Training Demonstration by Cecil Huff of Ava, MO Winner of the 2009 Ultimate Equestrian Challenge™ sponsored by MFA Inc.

For more information visit http://www.mfthba.com and for more information about other events in Missouri visit the Top Events USA Missouri page at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-missouri.html

Thursday, October 8, 2009


150th Anniversary Commemoration of John Brown’s Raid at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park


Harpers Ferry is just one of the sites participating in a four-state commemoration for the 150th anniversary, or sesquicentennial, of legendary abolitionist John Brown’s raid Oct. 16-18, 2009.

The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Gov. Joe Manchin and the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission will begin the commemoration with an opening ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009, at 5:30 p.m., at John Brown’s Fort at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

“West Virginia’s Civil War heritage plays a vital role in our tourism industry, as well as provides an educational component valuable in understanding our state’s history,” said Gov. Joe Manchin. “John Brown is one of the key figures in our state’s and nation’s history and it’s a fascinating story to tell.”

A century and a half after his death, John Brown remains one of the most controversial figures in American history. On Oct. 15, 1859, Brown, along with 21 followers, came to Harpers Ferry, Va., to strike a blow against slavery. The raid failed and Brown was hanged Dec. 2, 1859. Sixteen months later, the country erupted in civil war.

“John Brown's raid drove the nation into the chasm of Civil War. After Brown, there was no more peace for this land of liberty,” adds Rebecca Harriett, superintendent at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Weekend attractions and events include music, theatrical productions, living history exhibits, family and youth activities, and programs conducted by park rangers.

In addition, the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission will host a panel discussion about the film “Madam, Martyr, and Myth: John Brown in Film,” on Friday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. at the John Brown Museum. Panelists include producer and director of the films “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals,” Ron Maxwell; Dr. Mark Snell; Dr. Charles Neimeyer; Dr. Walter Powell; and Beth White.

For more information about the John Brown Sesquicentennial, visit www.johnbrownraid.org or call 304-535-6298.

For more information on other top events taking place in the area, visit Tope Events USA at http://www.topeventsusa.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


World Class Jazz Returns to Roswell this Weekend


Still waiting until the last minute to make some weekend travel plans? Then you are in luck, as 18 world class tradition, mainstream and Latin jazz artists will join musical forces at the fourth annual Pecos Valley/Roswell Jazz Festival Friday-Sunday (October 9-11, 2009) in Roswell.

Jazz musician and composer, Dr. Roger Dickerson, a Hurricane Katrina refugee, came to Roswell to stay with his Army Band mate, Frank Schlatter. From a series of local events, Dickerson developed the Pecos Valley Jazz & Arts Festival, now known as the Roswell Jazz Festival.

“Music is an integral part of New Mexico's culture,” said Michael Cerletti, Secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department, “and we have no better messenger than the Roswell Jazz Festival. New Mexicans and their visitors will experience a golden showcase of the kind of music that knows no bounds. The folks in Roswell are to be commended for their unlimited support of this incredible event.”

Festival returnees are Dickerson; Eddie Erickson, banjo (Los Angeles); Tom Fischer, clarinet (New Orleans); Nicki Parrot, bass, (New York City); Dan Barrett, trombone (Los Angeles); Randy Sandke, trumpet (New York City) Michael Francis, keyboards and the Music Director of the Festival (Lincoln); George Aiuvalasit, harmonica (Las Cruces); Ricky Malichi, drums (El Paso), Chris Beaty, saxophone (Portales), and Ken Tuttle, trumpet (Roswell). Festival newcomers are Harry Allen, tenor sax (New York City); Wilfred Hernandez, Latin percussion (El Paso); Chuck Redd, vibes (Washington D.C.); Ross Sportiello, piano (New York City); Eric Unsworth, bass (El Paso); Curt Warren, guitar (El Paso); and Aaron Weinstein, violin (New York City).

The free, opening concert is Friday, noon-1 p.m., on the steps of the Old County Courthouse on Main Street.

Club venues Friday (limit seating) include Peppers Lounge, 5-7 p.m. (tickets $10); Pecos Flavors Winery, 5-7 p.m. (ticket $25); and Sally Port Inn and Suites, 7:30-11:30 p.m. (adult tickets $25, student tickets $10).

Club venue Saturday is Sally Port Inn and Suites, 7:30-11:30 p.m.

Venues Sunday are Pueblo Auditorium, Third & Kentucky Streets, 10:30 a.m., (Worship in Jazz, featuring 12 festival artists and keyboard solo by Music Director Michael Francis.); and the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, 2-5 p.m., with Nicki Parrot, Ricki Malichi, Curt Warren, Aaron Weinstein and friends (tickets $25).

Festival spokesperson Paula Grieves says, “We have learned from previous Festivals that club settings are the most popular, and for 2009, we have chosen to continue partnerships with local businesses for the Friday night club dates at Peppers and the Pecos Flavors Winery. This year we’ve chosen to stay with two larger-setting club dates on Friday and Saturday at the Sally Port Inn and Suites. One central site with four different sets of music is a very exciting way to be up close and personal and to listen to various combinations of artists playing different types of jazz. We think this is a great approach.”

Tickets for the 2009 Roswell Jazz Festival may be purchased at the Roswell Convention Center (1-888-767-9355 or 575-624-7704. The Festival Office at the First Presbyterian Church may also be contacted, 575-622-4910, ext.13.

For more information visit http://www.pecosvalleyjazz.com/

For more information about other top events in New Mexico, please visit the New Mexico top events page at Top Events USA at http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-new-mexico.html

Friday, October 2, 2009

CHRISTMAS ALREADY?

It's not too early to start thinking of Christmas - or - chocolate. Combining the two, The town of Hershey will sparkle with more than 3 million lights during Christmas in Hershey, a town-wide celebration that begins on November 13.

The centerpiece of the holiday celebration is Hersheypark Christmas Candylane, through which Hersheypark is transformed into a delightful holiday village with more than 30 rides, Santa and his nine live reindeer, live entertainment, games, shops, and food. New for the 2009 season is a dazzling light show choreographed to high-energy holiday music. Aglow with more than 127,000 lights, the show will include the famous 50-foot tall Kissmas Tree and an array of illuminated displays, including snowmen and reindeer.

Just a short drive from Hersheypark Christmas Candylane is “Hershey Sweet Lights, A Holiday Drive-Thru Spectacular,” which also will open for the season on November 13. Guests can drive their cars along a 2.3-mile route through a wooded hillside and enjoy nearly 600 light displays, all while listening to the sounds of the season through a customized radio broadcast.

Both Hershey Lodge and The Hotel Hershey will offer overnight accommodations and packages to guests who wish to relax and enjoy all the town’s activities during a multi-day stay. Families may be interested in booking the “Breakfast With Santa” package at either property.

In addition, Hershey Lodge will offer guests a holiday dinner theatre. “Christmas in ChocolateTown, A Holiday Dinner Musical” includes regional holiday fare topped off with a decadent chocolate dessert and followed by a professional song-and-dance performance. This seasonal revue, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, will include pop holiday songs as well as traditional favorites.

The chefs of Hershey Lodge will present “Holidays Around the World,” offering diners festive cuisine from various regions around the globe. These menus will be available the entire month of December in both The Forebay and Hershey Grill restaurants.

Every member of the family will enjoy “Holiday with Dickens” at The Hotel Hershey December 6 and 7. Guests can celebrate the spirit of the season with an engaging performance of Charles Dickens’ cherished tale, A Christmas Carol, by Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great-grandson of the renowned author, at either an afternoon English tea or elegant dinner.

In addition, both Giant Center and Hershey Theatre will host an array of festive entertainment, including concerts and family shows. Among the scheduled performances are Chris Botti and Jim Brickman at Hershey Theatre and Trans Siberian Orchestra at Giant Center. Giant Center also is home ice for the Hershey Bears, the 2008-2009 American Hockey League’s Calder Cup champions and the oldest continuously operating franchise in the AHL. The team has several home games scheduled during the holiday season.

The festivities will continue at Hershey’s Chocolate World, home of Hershey’s Bake Shoppe, which will offer such freshly baked Christmas treats as cookies, brownies and cupcakes. Guests can sample limited-edition, holiday-flavored Hershey’s Kisses chocolates at the Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure or sip scrumptious Hershey’s Hot Cocoa. Other activities include visiting with Santa; shopping for stocking stuffers; or enjoying a holiday ride through town on the Hershey Trolley, which departs from Hershey’s Chocolate World.

Visitors can make new memories this holiday season at The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue, which opened this past January. Adorned in festive greenery and lights, the museum’s lobby provides a heartwarming Chocolate Avenue winter scene that will make the perfect backdrop for a special keepsake family photo. Kids can make a chocolate dough ornament in the “Little Elves Workshop,” and live holiday musical performances will be held on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season.

Hershey Gardens will present holly and viburnium berries, evergreens, and the Christmas rose in a striking blend of hues and textures. Beginning November 13 and running through December 27, visitors can see the Gardens’ National Christmas Tree Walk, featuring evergreen trees decorated with ornaments collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

For additional information, visit www.ChristmasInHershey.com

For more information on other major Christmas events across the USA take a look at the Christmas pages of Top Events USA at http://www.topeventsusa.com/christmas-events.html or for other top events in Pennsylvania see http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-pennsylvania.html

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MISSISSIPPI BLUES TRAIL SALUTES THE MUSICAL LEGACY OF HOLLANDALE

Governor Haley Barbour today announced the Mississippi Blues Trail will salute the musical legacy of Sam Chatmon and others of Hollandale, Mississippi on Friday, October 2, at 3 p.m. with the dedication of the trail's 86th historical marker on Simmons Street and West Washington Avenue.

"Towns like Hollandale, along with artists like Sam Chatmon, have truly earned a spot on the Mississippi Blues Trail," Governor Haley Barbour said. "The level of talent produced by this community is impressive, and I encourage blues enthusiasts to visit the Blue Front and see one of the important venues where our unique form of American music began."

The Mississippi Blues Trail is a museum without walls taking visitors on a musical history journey through Mississippi. The trail started with the first official marker in Holly Ridge, the resting place of the blues guitarist Charley Patton. The trail winds its way to sites honoring B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Son House and more.

The Mississippi Blues Trail markers are funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and by support from the Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Delta State University and the Mississippi Development Authority.

Sam Chatmon (c. 1899-1983), a member of one of Mississippi’s most prominent musical families, came out of musical retirement in the 1960s to become a celebrated elder statesman of the blues. Chatmon sometimes performed with his brothers in an influential string band known as the Mississippi Sheiks in his younger days. The Sheiks’ 1930 recording, “Sitting on Top of the World,” was one of the most popular blues recordings of the pre-World War II era, and their repertoire of blues, folk, country, pop, and minstrel songs kept them in demand among both white and black audiences. In 1928 several of the Chatmon siblings, including Sam and his brother Bo, who recorded under the name Bo Carter, moved from their native Bolton to the Hollandale area.

Sam recorded with his brother Lonnie as a duo for the Bluebird label in 1936 and also participated in other sessions during the 1930s, but, like most of the family, depended on farming to make a living. He later moved from his farm to the town Hollandale and took a job at a warehouse. After blues enthusiasts began to seek him out in the 1960s, he began traveling to play concerts and festivals around the country, most often in the San Diego area. He recorded several albums including Hollandale Blues and The Mississippi Sheik. In the 1970s he sported a long white beard, as his fiddle-playing father had done, and endeared himself to new audiences who were roundly entertained by the songs he performed.

The Chatmon’s house at 818 Sherman Street in Hollandale has been purchased by the city in order to move it to “Blue Front,” the area of Simmons Street once famed for its row of blues cafes. The Mississippi Blues Trail marker at the corner of Simmons and Washington streets honors both Chatmon and Blue Front, celebrating the rich history of blues performers who have been based in the Hollandale area, including Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones, Eugene Powell, Robert Nighthawk, Houston Stackhouse, and J.D. Short. Mississippi Blues Commission member Dr. Edgar E. Smith, who grew up in Hollandale, will speak at the ceremony.

For more information, visit the Mississippi Blues Trail on the internet at www.msbluestrail.org and more information on other top Mississippi events visit the Mississippi page at Top Events USA at www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-mississippi.html

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Springfield’s Great Freebies Trivia Contest Under Way


Springfield’s Great Freebies Trivia Contest is under way with a variety of prizes available.

For the next several weeks, the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau is posting trivia questions about Springfield on its blog at http://blog.SpringfieldAdventures.com.

Contestants will send answers to contest@springfieldmo.org, with winners randomly selected from those who correctly answer the questions. Those who need help answering the trivia questions can find the answers at www.SpringfieldAdventures.com.

The prize for the first SGF Trivia Contest question, posted today (Sept. 28), is a Taste of Springfield cookbook and 20 food sample tickets for the Taste of Springfield event Saturday, Oct. 3, in Downtown Springfield.

Prizes in coming weeks include free admission to area attractions, including Dickerson Park Zoo, Discovery Center, Fantastic Caverns, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and Wild Animal Safari.

“The SGF Trivia Contest promotes Springfield as a travel destination for visitors and encourages local residents to explore the city,” said Susan Wade, CVB public relations manager.

For more information, visit http://blog.SpringfieldAdventures.com or call the CVB at 800-678-8767 or 417-881-5300

For more information on the top events in Missouri visit http://www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-missouri.html at Top Events USA the popular new site that highlights the top events and festivals in each state.