7 Can't-Miss Festivals and Food Celebrations This Spring, Summer


Add another level of entertainment to your getaway plans. Celebrate spring and summer by joining in a festival. From light shows to Native American dancers, rock bands, to barbecue and ethnic food, festivals and celebrations add fun to your vacation or getaway.

Admire 23 large-scale art installations at Light City Baltimore.

Energize your next getaway by basing it around a festival. Not only are the theme-focused activities fun, but they also enable you to experience a special aspect of a destination. Enjoy light displays in Baltimore, weekends of ethnic fare in Brooklyn, Native American dancers in Albuquerque, barbecue in Memphis, African American theater in Winston-Salem, bands in Chicago and food and wine in San Francisco.

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1. March 31 to April 8, Baltimore, Maryland: Light City Baltimore

Charm City shines bright during its free Light City festival. Stroll the BGE Light Art Walk along the Inner Harbor to admire the 23 large-scale installations, as well as videos projected on buildings’ walls, and to play with interactive exhibits. In the evening, DJs, bands, and concerts turn the city into a party.

2. Saturdays and Sundays, starting April 1 through October, Brooklyn, New York: Smorgasburg

You can’t beat street food when it’s done right. At Smorgasburg, labeled the largest open-air food market in the U.S., 100 vendors cook up creative eats. Sample finger fare such as Korean-style hot dogs vegan ice cream, Filipino comfort food, grilled cheese, and more. The food fest takes place Saturdays on the Williamsburg waterfront and Sundays in Prospect Park.

Click to the next page to see festivals three and four.

Above, Native American dancers in Albuquerque. More than 100 artists exhibit at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow there. Image source: C.H. Stapen

3. April 27 to 29, Albuquerque, New Mexico: 2017 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow

Watch Native Americans attired in colorful, traditional regalia drum, dance and sing at the largest gathering of Native American Nations in the U.S. More than 100 artists exhibit and sell Native American crafts that include jewelry, pottery, and blankets. The festival kicks off on April 27 with the Miss Indian World contest.

4. May 17 to 20, Memphis, Tennessee: World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

Chow down on a Memphis tradition: lip-smackin’ barbecue. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the cooking contest. You can purchase a ticket to taste and judge the competition held at Tom Lee Park on the Mississippi River Bank.

Click to the next page to see festivals five through seven.

With more than 100 events, the National Black Theatre Festival kicks off in July in Winston-Salem.

5. July 31 to August 5: Winston-Salem, North Carolina: National Black Theatre Festival

The National Black Theatre Festival is for anyone who enjoys theatre and live performances. Held every two years, the festival features more than 100 events that include dramatic works, one-person shows, musical performances and workshops. The festival gathers African American theater companies, stars and up-and-coming artists from across the U.S. as well as from other countries.

6. August 3 to 6: Chicago, Illinois: Lollapalooza

Chicago celebrates rock, hip hop, heavy metal, rap and more musical genres at Lollapalooza. The three-day festival electrifies the crowds at Grant Park with more than 170 bands on eight stages. It’s a chance to party like you’re still in college, but now you can afford a hotel and VIP tickets.

7. August 11 to 13: San Francisco, California: Outside Lands

There’s music at Outside Lands, but the 3-day festival in Golden Gate Park also showcases food, wine, beer, art and comedy too. Although this summer’s music lineup isn’t available, past performers have included Elton John, Lionel Richie, Radiohead and Lana Del Rey.

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Follow Candyce H. Stapen on Twitter: @FamilyiTrips

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