World Events Calendar: Civic and Historical
The Traveler's Guide to the World's Greatest Events

Parades, celebrations and festivals of a civic or historical nature, listed alphabetically by city, with North American cities listed first.

Back to World Events Calendar Main Menu.

Civic and Historical Celebrations in North America

Abingdon, VA
Virginia Highland Festival ,July-August. Appalachian culture showcased in crafts, art and music. Call (703) 676-2282.

Albert Lea, Minnesota
Big Island Rendezvous and Festival
Annual event, always held the first weekend of October. Over 1,500 costumed reenactors and 250 tipis, tents and other shelters of the colonial period. We host over 5,000 grade school children who attend a choice of over 100 demonstrations and classes on colonial America and the fur trade. Food, drink, music, dance, theatre, blackpowder shooting, storytelling.

Annapolis, MD
Annapolis by Candlelight , November. Tours of private homes and buildings. Call (410) 267-7619.

Carnival , February. Call (201) 330-8757 for info.

Atlantic City, NJ
Miss America Pageant, September. Convention center. Pageant finale. Call (609) 348-7100.

Cape May, New Jersey
Victorian Week, October. Tours of Victorian homes, Victorian-style entertainment. Call (609) 884-5404 for dates.

Caraquet, New Brunswick, Canada
Festival Acadien, August. Tintamarre (raucous costumed processional marking the Acadian national day, August 15), blessing of the fishing fleet, theater, music. (506) 727-2787.

Charleston, S.C.
Candlelight Tours of Homes and Gardens , September - October 26. More than 175 houses and gardens, 8 - 10 per evening. Held annually early fall. Call (803) 722-4630.

Chichen Itza, Mexico
Autumnal Equinox , September 22. "Shadow serpent" descends steps of Pyramid of Kukulkan.

Columbus, Ohio
Ohio State Fair , August. Call (614) 644-3247.

Deer River, Minnesota
White Oak Rendezvous and Festival. First Friday, Saturday and Sunday in August. Over 1,000 fully costumed reenactors of the fur trade. Food such as wild rice soup, buffalo, beef brisket, Indian frybread music, dance, colonial crafts. Located on a 160 acre site with a Northwest Company Fur Post of 1798 constructed with blacksmith shop, company store, birch bark canoe, building shed, baking oven, root cellar, bourgeois quarters, gardens, and mile long nature trail. Participants from 11 states and Canada attend and compete in blackpowder shooting competitions and tomahawk and knife throwing competitions. RV and tent camping available for the public and a discount daily family pass available. Visit our 80 page web site: White Oak.
Call (218) 246-9393 or (218) 246-8530. Write Box 306, Deer River, Minnesota 56636.

Des Moines, Iowa
Iowa State Fair , August. Iowa State Fairgrounds. Call (515) 262-3111.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Klondike Days , July. Parades, gold panning, raft racing, entertainment. Call (403) 471-7210.

Eldon, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Highland Games, August. Athletic, dancing and piping competitions, lobster suppers, concerts. Lord Selkirk Provincial Park. Call (902) 659-2337.

Guadalajara, Mexico
October Festivals,Annual month-long celebration with a spectacular nighttime parade to the accompaniment of mariachi music. Call (212) 755-7261.

Hanover, Kan.
Pony Express Festival, August.

Hardin, MT.
Custer's Last Stand, June 21 - 23.
Annual re-enactment of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Call (406) 665-1672 for more info.

Key West, FL
Hemingway Days , July. Short story, arm wrestling and Hemingway lookalike competitions. Call (305) 294-4440.

Kingston, Jamaica
Bob Marley Birthday Bash , February 6. Call (809) 923-9382.

Lafayette, LA
Festivals Acadiennes , September. Cajun music, food, and arts and crafts. Call 1-800-346-1958 for dates.

Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
David Crockett Days , August. Crockett's birthday celebrated with an 1840's encampment of frontiersmen and traders. David Crockett State Park. Call (615) 762-9408.

Los Angeles, Calif.
Chinese New Year Golden Dragon Parade , Chinatown, February. Call (213) 617-0396 for info.

Marietta, Ohio
Ohio River Sternwheel Festival , September. Some 25 riverboats, plus entertainment, food, fireworks. Call (614) 373-5178.

Dia de Candelaria , February. Music, dancing and processsions throughout the country.

Mexico City, Mexico
Independence Day , September 15. At the Zocalo. The President recreates the grito (cry for independence) issued in 1810. Music, dancing and fireworks follow. Events in Mexico City are notable. Call (212) 755-7261.

Miami Beach, FL
King Orange Jamboree Parade , December 31.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Indian Summer Festival , September. American Indian culture celebrated with powwow, arts and crafts, traditional food. Call (414) 774-7119.

Minneapolis, MN
Aquatennial, July. Water festival including sports, music, parades. Call (612) 331-8371.

Natchez, Miss.
Natchez Fall Pilgrimage October. Antebellum homes shown by hostesses in period dress, period music and theater.

New Orleans, LA
Mardi Gras, February. One of the world's great celebrations, marking the last day before Lent begins. The fun actually begins in early January and climaxes on "Fat Tuesday", so-called because people often eat their fill the day before Lent.
Check out their tourism website at: New Orleans

New York, NY
Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular, July 4. East River. For information, call (212) 494-4495.

Niagara Falls, NY
Festival of Lights, November - January. Falls are illuminated with a million lights; animated displays; nightly entertainment. For information, call (716) 285-8484.

Oaxaca, Mexico
Guelaguetza Dance Festival , July. Costumed dancers and singers from surrounding villages perform.

Oklahoma City, Okla.
Oklahoma State Fair , September. Call (405) 948-6700.

Pittsburgh, PA
Penn's Colony Festival , September. Folk artists in 18th Century marketplace. Call (412) 487-6922 for dates.

Plymouth, Mass.
Thanksgiving Celebration. November. Plimouth Plantation. Call (508) 746-1622.

Punxsutawney, Penn.
Groundhog Day , February 2. Featuring Punxsutawney Phil. Call 1-800-752-7445.

Quebec City, Canada
Carnaval de Quebec , February. Snow and ice sculptures, canoe races on the frozen St. Lawrence, Queen's Ball, parades. Call (418) 626-3716.

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sunset Retreat Ceremonies, July-August. R.C.M.P. Training Academy. Call (306) 780-5900.

Rutland, Vermont
Vermont State Fair , September. Call (802) 775-5200.

St. Louis, MO
Fair St. Louis, July 2 - 4. One of the largest fireworks displays in the world. On the Mississippi Riverfront, near the 630-foot tall Gateway Arch. Also: air shows, food, outdoor concerts. For more information: click here

St. Paul, Minn.
The Minnesota State Fair , Late August thru Labor Day. Giant pigs, carnival rides, giant foods, general weirdness, art, headlining music acts perform every night in the Grandstand. About 1.6 million expected attendance. Held annually, twelve days ending Labor Day. State Fairgrounds. Call (612) 642-2200.

St. Paul, Minn.
St. Paul Winter Carnival , Late January- Early February. Ice carving competitions, parades, fireworks, floats. Call 1-800-488-4023.

Salem, Massachsetts
Salem's Haunted Happenings, October. Citywide Halloween celebration, including candlelight tours and historic houses, psychic festival, costume parade. Call (508) 744-0004 for dates.

Santa Clara del Cobre
Copper Fair , August. Copper craftworks, dances, food. Call 1-800-446-3942.

South Carver, Massachusetts
King Richard's Faire, October. Troubadours, magicians, madrigal singers, poets, stilt walkers, knights, damsels, jousting. Renaissance food and drink, hawked in Elizabethan accents. Call (508) 866-5391.

Stowe, VT
Winter Carnival , January. Call (802) 253-7321 for dates.

Toronto, Canada
Caribana Festival, July-August. Caribbean-style carnival with parties, music and parade. (416) 925-1107.

Carnival , February. Call 1-800-232-0082 for info.

Washington, Texas
Texas Independence Day Celebration, March 5 - 6. Marking Texas independence from Mexico in 1836 with entertainment, re-creation of military camp, crafts sale. Call (409) 878-2214 for info.

West Springfield, Mass.
Eastern States Exposition , (The Big E), September. Midway, entertainment, circus, Wild West and high-dive shows, ostrich races, daily parade, copies of six state capitols with exhibitions, best Spam recipe contest, re-creation of 19th-century New England village. Call (413) 737-2443.

Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Yukon Whitehorse Rendezvous February. Gold rush era costumes, entertainment. Call (403) 667-2148 for info.

Winnepeg, Canada
Festival du Voyageur , February. Winter carnival. Call (204) 237-7692 for dates.

Winter Haven, Fla.
Florida Citrus Festival , January-February. Displays of fruit and livestock, fairway, country entertainers. Call (813) 967-3175.


Civic and Historical Celebrations in Europe

Aalborg, Denmark
Carnival in Denmark , May. Claims to be the largest carnival in northern Europe, with 40,000 participants. For more information, check out their website: Carnival in Aalborg.

Antwerp, Belgium
Rubens Market , August. Vendors wearing 16th-century costumes. Market Square. Call +(3) 232.01.03.

Ballycastle, Northern Ireland
Oul' Lammas Fair, Late August. One of the oldest traditional Irish fairs, dating from 1606, with music, dancing and donkey trading. Call +(0265) 762024 for more info.

Bruges, Belgium
Pageant of the Golden Tree, August.
Re-creation of the 1468 wedding of Charles the Bold and Margaret of York. More than 2,000 actors, six choirs and 100 horsemen. Call (212) 758-8130.

Brussels, Belgium
Ommegang, July. One of Europe's best historical re-enactments. Festival originated in 1549, honoring Emperor Charles V and his son, Philip. Call +(32-2)513-8940.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Tivoli Gardens, November - December.
Open for the holidays. Call (212) 949-2333.

Deal, Kent, England
Music of the Cavaliers and Roundheads, October. Popular 17th Century music, performed on period instruments. Cannon for children to fire. Call +(1304) 372762.

Dunoon, Scotland
Cowal Highland Gathering, August.
The world's largest Highland games, with world champion Highland Dancing competition, 3000 massed pipes and drums on parade. Call (212) 986-2200.

Dyfed,(Llandeilo) Wales
The National Eisteddfod of Wales, August. Festival dating back to medieval times, celebrating literature and music. Druid ceremonies, choir competitions, poetry, drama. In Welsh with free simultaneous translation. Call (212) 986-2200.

Heritage Open Days , September. More than 1,600 properties of historic, architectural or cultural interest open free to the public. Including courts, private homes, factories, gardens, schools, churches, museums and historic homes. Call +(44-171) 930-0914.

The Hague, The Netherlands
Prinsjesdag , Mid-September. Opening of Dutch Parliament by Queen Beatrix, who arrives in a golden carriage. Call +(70) 3560000.

Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki Festival, Late August.
Scandinavia's oldest arts festival. Includes "Night of the Arts", with free events all night long in the streets, squares, galleries, libraries and theatres.

Lake Jels, near Rodding, Denmark
Jels Viking Festival, Late June 28 - July.
A re-creation of Beowulf's fight against the giants. Call (212) 949-2330.

London, England
The Royal Tournament, July.
Earl's Court. Annual military display, with members of the Royal Family in attendance. Call +(44-171) 244-0244.

London, England
Notting Hill Carnival Held on the last weekend of every August (which is a bank holiday).
Europe's largest street carnival, has a largely Caribbean flavor. Costume parades, music, hundreds of vendors sell food and crafts from all over the world.

London, England
Buckingham Palace, August - September.
Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham palace, including the Music Room, the Silk Tapestry Room, the State Dining Room and the Throne Room. Call (212) 986-2200.

London, England
Bonfire Night, Every November 5th.
Fireworks and bonfires throughout the country, including London, to commemorate the arrest of Guy Fawkes on November 5, 1605. He was one of the conspirators in the "Gunpowder Plot" to kill King James I and blow up Parliament. For more information call the London Tourist Board's Fireworks Service at +0893/123410.

Munich, Germany
Oktoberfest, Late September thru the first Sunday in October. The original Oktoberfest. One of the World's must-see events. For ticket and other information call: +(89) 2 60 81 34.
or check out their website at: Munich. For great, moderately-priced accommodations in a pleasant residential neighborhood, we recommend the: Hotel Uhland. It's great location in Theresienwiese (Theresa's Meadow) is within comfortable walking distance from the Oktoberfest grounds, the center city and the train station.

Munich, Germany
Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Fair) Late November - December 24. One of Germany's most famous Christmas Fairs (along with those of Nuremberg and Stuttgart. Expect plenty of Gluehwein (hot mulled wine) and tasty treats to warm your soul and raise your spirits.
For ticket and other information call: +(89) 2 60 81 34.
or check out their website at: Munich. For great, moderately-priced accommodations in a pleasant residential neighborhood, we recommend the: Hotel Uhland. It's great location in Theresienwiese (Theresa's Meadow) is within comfortable walking distance from the Marienplatz, where the Christkindlmarkt is held, and the train station.

The Netherlands
Open Monument Day, September. Thousands of monuments, many normally closed, open free of charge. Call +(020) 6277706 for info.

Nottingham, England
Nottingham Goose Fair. October. Since 1284. Call +(0115) 948-3500 for dates.

Nuremberg, Germany
Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Fair) Late November - December 24. Germany's most famous Christmas Fair (although Muncheners might disagree). Expect plenty of Gluehwein (hot mulled wine) and tasty treats to warm your soul and raise your spirits.

Odense, Denmark
Hans Christian Andersen's stories are enacted daily on the streets of his hometown. Call +(66) 12 75 20.

Paris, France
Bastille Day, July 14.
Fireworks, military parade down the Champs-Elysees.

Pamplona, Spain
The Running of the Bulls, July 7.
Held during the Festival of San Fermin.

Pevensey, England
Re-enactment of the Norman Invasion of 1066, Late September.
Pevensey Castle. Sponsored by English Heritage. Call +(44-171) 973-3434.

Siena, Italy
Paleo delle Contrade , Annual pageant and race of the horses, ridden bareback through the heart of the picturesque town, in the piazza del Campo. Held twice each year - on July 2 and August 16.
For tourist information in Siena, call +(577) 42209.

Santon Bridge, Cumbria, England
Biggest Liar in the World Contest, November.
Call +(44-19467) 67575.

Thun, Switzerland
Federal Yodeling Festival, July.
Beautiful location. Call (212) 757-5944.

Tromso, Norway
Northern Lights Festival , January.
Classical and contemporary music to celebrate the sun's return above the horizon. Call +(77) 620606 for dates.

Valletta, Malta
Re-enactment of the ceremonial entrance of the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John into the ancient town of Birgu in 1530. Octobe.
Demonstrations of sail-making and other maritime skills, "battle" of folk poets. Call (212) 695-9520.

Venice, Italy
Carnevale, February.
Centuries-old pre-lenten celebration. Parades and performances are held almost nightly, amd become more intense and theatrical in the days preceding Ash Wednesday. Masks and costumes are optional, but highly encouraged. For more information, call the Italian Tourist Office (U.S.) at (212) 245-4822.

York, England
Jorrik Viking Festival , February. Long boat races, torthlight processions.


Civic and Historical Celebrations
in Asia, Middle East, Australia & Oceania

Akan-Machi, Hokkaido, Japan
The Ainu, the aboriginal people of Japan, celebrate the marimo, a round green floating plant, with ancient dances and religious rites on the shores of Lake Akan. October 8. Call (212) 757-5640.

Australia Day , January 26. Australia's founding is celebrated throughout the country with parades and entertainment.

Bangkok, Thailand
Anniversay of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Rule , November 7. Royal Barge Procession of 52 longboats along the Chao Phraya to honor the world's longest-ruling living monarch on the annniversary of his ascending the throne. Call (212) 432-0433.

Cairo, Egypt
Nile Festival, August.
Celebration of the river's life-giving qualities. Parade, fireworks, a flotilla on the Nile, and a re-enactment of the sacrifice of the most beautiful girl to Hapi, god of the Nile. Call (212) 332-2570.

Hiroshima, Japan
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony , August 6.
Peace Memorial Park. Call (212) 757-5640.

Hong Kong
Dragon Boat Festival, June.
Races on the Mi Lo River to commemorate a poet, Qu Yuan, who drowned more than
2,000 years ago. Call (212) 869-5008.
Zigong Lantern Festival, December. Shatin Central Park. Hundreds of traditional lanterns from zigong, China. Call +601-8799 for dates.
Lion Dance Festival , January. Call +2807-6261 for dates.

Independence Day, August 17.
Celebrates the end of Dutch rule in 1945. In Palembang, South Sumatra, 40-passenger canoes shaped like dragonheads compete on the Musi River. Call 1-800-821-2206.

Respect For the Aged Day, September 15
National Holiday. Call (2120 757-5640.

Khon Kaen, Thailand
Silk Fair , November-December. Silk for sale, entertainment.

Kyoto, Japan
Daimonji Okuribi , August. Bonfires on five mountains in patterns of characters or objects. Call (212) 757-5640.

Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto Fire Festival, October. Kurama No Himatsuri, Yuki Shrine. Call (212) 757-5640 for date.

Osaka, Japan
Tenjin Matsuri, July. Festival with parades of floats on land by day and on 80 ships at night, with special music and fireworks. For information, call (212) 757-5640.

New Delhi, India
Independence Day , January 24. Troops, floats, camels and elephants.

Sapporo, Japan
Sapporo Snow Festival , February. Elaborate ice and snow sculptures. Call +(001) 232-7712.

National Day , August 9. Country's anniversary of independence marked with a parade, performances and fireworks. Call (212) 302-4861.
Lantern Festival, August-September. Chinese lanterns and traditional music of Yunan in Chinese Gardens. Call (212) 302-4861 for more info.

Surin, Thailand
Elephant Roundup, November. Elephant parades, log pulling, elephant soccer, a tug of war between an elephant and 100 men (the elephant usually wins). Call (212) 432-0433.

Tokyo, Japan
Fireworks, July. Grand summer fireworks display on the Sumida River. Call (212) 757-5640.


Civic and Historical Celebrations in South America

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Carnival, February. The South American equivalent to Mardi Gras and Venice's Carnevale.

Grenada Carnival, August.
Steel band and calypso, pageant, Dimanche Gras, parades and a "jump up" (dancing in the streets) on Tuesday. Call 1-800-927-9554.