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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

Monday, December 23, 2013

Vermont’s Final Top 10 Winter Events

Winter carnivals, a magical Mardi Gras weekend, hot chilis and the non-stop 24 Hours of Stratton bring to an exciting head the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s Top Ten Winter Events.

Celebrate in Stowe with the 40th annual Winter Carnival from January 18 to February 2, 2014. Chill out with ice carving demonstrations and competitions, or jump into to ski races, snow golf and snow volleyball, as a spectator or a challenger. Young smiles abound at the zany Kids Carnival Kaos; the evening brings Carnival “meltdown” parties for adults. More than 15 competitive sporting events dominate the snowscape. Free to the public; participant entry fee for sporting events. 

The town of Chester opens its heart in mid February. True community spirit in classic Vermont plays out with sled races, dog sled rides, outdoor skating, broom hockey, and more at the Chester Winter Carnival on February 15 and 16, 2014. A biathlon sled race and laser shooting match is followed by a bonfire to light up Saturday, and Sunday’s highlight is the snowmobile club poker run and a broom hockey tournament. Free.

The 18TH annual Magic Hat Mardi Gras Weekend in Burlington on Friday February 28 and Saturday March 1, 2014 thaws the icy spirits of the Northeast with a unique celebration that could be dubbed New Orleans North. Friday night, kick up your feet and boogie down at Higher Ground. On Saturday, downtown Burlington turns up the heat with pre-parade musical performances, a costume contest, and family-friendly activities. Join the inspired audience; grab your share of beads, MoonPies, and Lake Champlain Chocolates as the parade kicks off with dozens of floats in grand style. Enjoy live and local music on the Church Street Stage after the parade.

Warm up with the 6th annual Vermont Chili Festival in Middlebury on March 8 from 1.30-8pm. Taste the best of the best from over 50 restaurants and caterers around the state, flocking to historic downtown Middlebury. Check out this beautiful downtown, home of Middlebury College, and cast your vote for the award-winning chilis! The event includes entertainment for all ages, face painting, street performers, live music and a beverage tent with local cider and brews. Admission $5.

The chair lifts run through the night on Stratton Mountain’s 24 Hours of Stratton on March 15-16, 2014 noon to noon with hundreds of skiers and riders passing the bib to teammates as they rack up runs in an event with a heart for the Stratton Foundation, helping families and supporting programs providing food, housing, and heat. Live music, games, a midnight NASTAR race and more keep the party going, building to a noon finish line frenzy on Sunday. 

For more information about top events in Vermont take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Vermont

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gunfighters Gather in Yuma, Arizona

More than a dozen Old West re-enactment groups from across the region will ride into town for a old-fashioned showdown at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park on January 11-12, 2014.

But what will fly at the 16th annual Gathering of the Gunfighters isn't really hot lead - it's fightin' words and old-school acting from folks portraying outlaws, lawmen, cowboys, saloon gals, townfolk and a veritable cornucopia of disreputable characters.

For spectators, the fun is seeing Western lore unfold in live-action skits with lots of shoutin' and shootin' – and no doubt, some prolonged and dramatic "deaths".

And while there weren't regular gun battles at the fearsome Territorial Prison, the authentic setting overlooking the Colorado River, the still-active rail line and the Ocean-to-Ocean bridge just adds to the atmosphere.

"What better place to have a 'Gathering of the Gunfighters' than at the notorious lockup that struck fear in their hearts?" said Charles Flynn, executive director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, which now operates the park. "There's a reason Ben Wade didn't want to get on board the '3:10 to Yuma'."

The special admission price – $8 for those 14 and older, $3 for kids age 7-13, free for ages 6 and younger – includes the re-enactment competition and full access to the prison and its exhibits, along with vendors of vittles, libations and Western wares and wear. Tickets are only available at the gate the days of the event. Hours are 9am to 5pm both days, with groups taking turns presenting 20-minute skits.

Yuma Visitors Bureau markets the Yuma area within the travel and tourism industry and to the general public. Yuma's population nearly doubles in the winter months, thanks to more than 23,000 spots in RV parks and resorts. The community also offers nearly 4,300 hotel rooms, conference and meeting facilities, and three casinos. Recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's sunniest spot, Yuma offered free meals to hotel guests "every day the sun doesn't shine" from August 1, 2011 until July 31, 2012 as part of Arizona's Centennial celebration. Yuma's final score? Sunshine 365, Gloom 0. Visit www.visityuma.com for more information.

For details about top events in Arizona take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Arizona.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Foodie Fun on Florida's Historic Coast

St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & the Beaches is fast becoming known as a place to visit not just for its history, luxurious resorts, beautiful beaches and world-class golf, but for its flavorful events, outstanding restaurants and talented chefs.

The local heritage on Florida’s Historic Coast has inspired many of its local restaurants to incorporate the culinary culture into their menus.  Spanish, Greek, Minorcan, British, French and traditional southern cuisine are all flavors that diners here can expect to find in the restaurants.  

Throughout the year epicurean events celebrate the culinary influences, making Florida’s Historic Coast a tasty destination. Highlighted events include:

Learn about the Menorcan heritage and the 17th century settlers through singing, dancing, displays and storytelling on March 8 at the St. Augustine Menorcan Heritage Celebration at the Llambias House, 31 St. Francis St. in St. Augustine.

The 33rd St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival on March 21 to 23 in downtown St. Augustine features tons of delicious seafood, affordable arts & crafts, outstanding live bluegrass, country and folk music. All net proceeds go to benefit Lions Club charities.

There is non-stop music and award-winning scrumptious barbecue all weekend long from April 4 to 6 at the annual Rhythm  & Ribs Festival at St. Augustine’s Francis Field.  

The signature A Taste of St. Augustine food festival on April 26 serves up exciting “tastes” from over 20 of St. Augustine’s famous restaurants. Restaurants will compete for the prestigious TOStA (Taste of St. Augustine) awards, with categories including Best Family Dining, Best Ethnic, Best Upscale and Best Dessert, as well as the ever popular “People’s Choice”. The event features live music all day, special children's area and a culinary marketplace. 

The northeast Florida region is surrounded by rich agricultural resources. The availability of farm-fresh produce is available year-round for residents and visitors at several weekly open markets.

For details of the epicurean events and the markets click on www.floridashistoriccoast.com

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Highlights in San Francisco

San Francisco embraces the holiday season in its own vibrant way with events and activities that embody the city’s spirit of tradition, surprise and innovation.

On the traditional side, there’s the San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol at American Conservatory Theater, the vocal virtuosity of Chanticleer plus outdoor ice skating, holiday teas and shopping galore.

For the offbeat, catch Beach Blanket Babylon, Kung Pao Kosher Comedy and Dance-Along Nutcracker® Goes Hollywood! Or see the city’s holiday finery on a guided bicycle tour.

San Francisco is also celebrating light as art with truly brilliant, eco-friendly light art exhibits. This convergence is being called Illuminate SF and consists of six temporary and/or permanent installations.

From skyscrapers lined with lights to glimmering trees to sparkling decorations throughout the city’s neighborhoods, San Francisco becomes a city aglow during these shortest days of the year.

Among San Francisco’s many, many holiday events and festivals is the world-renowned Great Dickens Christmas Fair, the only event of its kind – anywhere.  The winding lanes of Victorian London come to life at the Cow Palace in 120,000-plus square feet of theatrically lit music halls, pubs, dance parties and charming shops overflowing with handmade holiday treasures.

It's a lamp-lit city brimming with lively and colorful characters from the pages of history and the imagination of Charles Dickens, Jules Verne and Lewis Carroll. New entertainment this year includes Richardson's Empire of Wonders, a Victorian sideshow filled with whimsical wonders and curious conundrums; a sprightly production of the perennial favorite Pinocchio; and a new “Christmas Carol” environmental theater. The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is open weekends only through December 22 from 10am to 7pm at the Cow Palace.

For details of San Francisco’s holiday events, itineraries & hotel deals and much else visit www.sanfrancisco.travel

For more information about top events in California take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in California.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter Events in Wyoming’s Good Times Valley

Those who live in Southeastern Wyoming's Upper North Platte River Valley – Saratoga, Encampment, Riverside, Ryan Park and Snowy Range – and enjoy the good times there know how lucky they are .... they also know it is a magnificent place to visit for the many great events and festivals.

Three mid-winter events to enjoy:

The annual Ice Fishing Derby on January 18 and 19 attracts ice anglers from several states to Saratoga Lake hoping to make “the catch of the day”.  Cash prizes are awarded, including $2,000 cash for the largest game fish caught during the derby and $100 cash for the largest fish caught each hour.  The weekend (always the third in January) includes a special Small Fry Derby for children under age 14. (The Derby is sponsored by the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce.)

Enjoy the annual winter fun in Encampment at the Sierra Madre Winter Carnival on January 24 to 26. Lots of family-friendly activities are planned, including a treasure hunt, "Build Your Own" sled race, a snow sculpture contest, chili and bread cook-offs, a "Sixth Street Sprint" snowmobile race, and a brand new event - Human Saucer Bowling. Saturday night is "Casino Night" at the Grand Encampment Opera House with door prizes, silent auction, Chicken Bingo, cash bar, and more. (The Winter Carnival is sponsored by the Town of Encampment.)

Held every Presidents Day weekend (February 15 and 16 in 2014), the Don E. Erickson Memorial Chariot Races are among the most exciting events in Saratoga (sponsored by the Saratoga Lions Club). The races feature two-horse teams pulling chariots at top speed down a quarter-mile track. The weekend's activities include Calcutta betting and a banquet.  Races are held on Saturday and Sunday at Buck Springs Rodeo Arena.  

Click on Upper North Platte River Valley or call the Chamber of Commerce 307-326-8855 for more details.

For more information about top events in Wyoming take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual festivals and events in Wyoming.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ring in the New Year in Classic Coastal Setting

Why fight big city crowds when you can ring in the new year in a classic coastal setting – complete with waterfront celebrations? This year, welcome 2014 with a fun, laid-back getaway to Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach

From the river to the sea, there are many ways to celebrate. On New Year’s Eve there is a countdown at the Children’s Museum of Wilmington. Celebration begins at 11am with crafts (streamers, noisemakers), singing and dancing. Kids and their families count down the New Year at 12pm (noon) with streamers, noise makers, a confetti toss and juice toast. Museum admission is required. Then at 9pm join the street dance/countdown party at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk featuring a deejay and a giant lighted beach ball drop, followed by midnight fireworks. 

Or sail into 2014 with a champagne toast aboard a riverboat cruise or party boat. There are also theatrical galas, cabaret-style dinner theatre productions, and a wide array of restaurant and nightlife options. Spend the weekend exploring the area’s island beaches and a 230-plus block National Register Historic District. Shop after-Christmas sales at beach boutiques and downtown specialty shops, and dine at outstanding restaurants. 

Visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com for more information.

For more information about top events in North Carolina take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in North Carolina.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Top Stars for Grand Rapids, Michigan LaughFest

If it has to do with funny, you will find it at Gilda’s LaughFest – a 10-day festival of stand-up comedy, improv, live shows, films, authors, community showcases and a variety of other seriously funny stuff in Grand Rapids, Michigan from March 6 to 16, 2014.

Now in its fourth year, the headliners for the nation's first-ever community-wide festival of laughter include Lily Tomlin, making a special appearance in partnership with Broadway Grand Rapids; Chris Tucker; and LaughFest veterans, Jim Gaffigan and Sinbad. This year's Signature Event will feature Emmy award winning comedian, longtime TV personality and late-night talk show host Jay Leno.

LaughFest 2014 will also feature  Tenderloins, Jen Kirkman, Judah Fiedlander, Maria Bamford, Todd Barry, Rory Scovel, Nick Thune and many more. Check LaughFestgr.org to see the complete schedule and to purchase tickets.

All proceeds will benefit the cancer, grief and support programs offered through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids.

LaughFest is more than just a barrel of laughs. It also provides a way to raise awareness and funds for a very important cause. Gilda's Club Grand Rapids provides free emotional healthcare to children, adults, families and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving the death of someone in their life due to any cause. The comprehensive program, delivered by licensed healthcare professionals includes education, structured sharing times, networking, lectures, workshops and social activities.

Gilda's Club Grand Rapids is one of the largest and busiest of the 52 affiliates in North America. The organization runs entirely on charitable donations and currently serves more than 10,000 individuals each year at its clubhouses in Grand Rapids and Lowell, Mich., in various schools and in five community centers. For more information, visit www.gildasclubgr.org.

Grand Rapids is an award-winning city with many grand events as ArtPrize, Restaurant Week, the Grand Rapids LipDub, Beer City USA and of course LaughFest.

Visiting Grand Rapids and want to know what shows you can see? Check out all the great line-ups and other LaughFest events.

For more information about top events in Michigan take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Michigan.