The United States is a massive, diverse country with a rich history and culture. It’s no surprise that there are tons of amazing festivals to celebrate everything from food to music, from arts and crafts to sports—but what makes these festivals truly special is the way they bring Americans together.
State Fairs are an American tradition. Held all across the country, they provide an opportunity for people to gather together and celebrate their state’s culture and heritage.
State fairs usually take place during summer months, but some states hold them in other seasons as well. They may be held at different times of year depending on climate or weather conditions in that region of the country–it wouldn’t make sense for an outdoor event like a fair to take place when it’s too hot outside!
The main purpose of state fairs is entertainment; there are often rides and games available for visitors as well as food stands selling everything from funnel cakes to BBQ ribs!
The Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a two-part event: the first leg is on May 4, which determines who will run in the second leg on May 5.
The race has been held every year since 1875 and is considered one of the most prestigious events in American horse racing culture. The winner receives a trophy called “The Waterford Crystal Cup” that weighs over 40 pounds!
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival
If you’re a bourbon fan, then the Kentucky Bourbon Festival is a must-attend event. Held annually in Bardstown, Kentucky at the end of September, this festival celebrates all things bourbon and attracts over 100,000 people each year.
While there are many events during this 3-day celebration (including seminars on how to make your own moonshine), one of the most popular parts of it is an open tasting competition where hundreds of distillers compete for awards based on their best whiskey samples. If you’re lucky enough to attend this event as well as sample some amazing bourbons from around the world (and even get some free swag), then consider yourself lucky!
Apple Blossom Festival
The Apple Blossom Festival is a springtime tradition, taking place in Winchester, Virginia every year on the first weekend in May. The festival celebrates the history of apple orchards and features food vendors selling local produce, arts and crafts exhibitions by local artists, live music performances and more!
If you’re planning to attend this event:
Great Pumpkin Festival
The Great Pumpkin Festival is a festival that celebrates all things pumpkin. It’s held in Chincoteague, Virginia and runs from September 24 to 26 this year. The event includes pumpkin carving contests, pie eating contests and a parade with pumpkins as floats!
Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Mardi Gras is a celebration of excess, and New Orleans is one of the few places where it’s still legal to be as wild as you want. While other cities have parades and festivals, Mardi Gras in New Orleans has floats that are so big they take up entire streets (and even highways), making for a truly spectacular sight when viewed from above. Mardi Gras dates back to medieval times when revelers would wear masks on Shrove Tuesday–the last day before Lent begins–and make fun of their neighbors while they were at it. Today, people still use masks but not in such an aggressive way; instead they’re used as part of elaborate costumes or beautiful works of art themselves!
New Orleans has been celebrating its own version of Carnival since 1703 when French settlers first arrived there under Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville who founded what would later become known as “Old Town.” The tradition started out small but grew over time until it became what we know today: parades filled with floats decorated with flowers (which represent fertility); musical performances along route; dressing up like your favorite character from history…or even just wearing anything fun!
The World Championship Steak Cook-Off in Nevada, Missouri
The World Championship Steak Cook-Off is a competition to see who can cook the best steak. The event is held in September, and it’s been going on for over 30 years. It takes place in a large tent in Nevada, Missouri (which is about an hour outside of Kansas City).
In order to participate in this annual event you have to register with the city beforehand and pay a fee of $100 per person or $200 per team (up to four members). There are also fees associated with food preparation, which range from $300-$600 depending on what kind of meat you want to use: beef only; pork only; seafood only; chicken only (you get the picture).
The winner gets bragging rights as well as a trophy made out of an old wagon wheel!
Pecan Festival at John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina
The Pecan Festival at John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina is a celebration of the state’s most famous crop, with an emphasis on the nuts themselves and their many uses. The event features live music, arts and crafts vendors, food stands selling everything from pecan pie to barbecued ribs slathered in a tangy sauce made from ground pecans, cornbread contests–even a pageant where contestants compete for titles like Miss Pecan Queen. And while you’re there? Eat as many pecans as possible!
Mountain Man Rendezvous in Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Mountain Man Rendezvous is a celebration of the American frontier, and it takes place in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The event is held in August and features mountain men and women who dress up like they did during the era, complete with buckskin clothing and beards!
This festival has been going on for over 30 years now–and it’s not just about dressing up; there are plenty of activities for all ages to enjoy as well. You can watch demonstrations on how to make things like arrows and tomahawks (the weapon used by Native Americans), ride horses through town or learn how to shoot a bow & arrow at targets–it really feels like you’ve traveled back in time when you attend this festival!
National Shrimp Festival in Gulfport, Mississippi
The National Shrimp Festival is a celebration of all things shrimp-related, and it’s held every year in Gulfport, Mississippi. The festival runs from June 13 to 15 this year (2019), so you still have time to get there if you want to grab some delicious shellfish before heading back home.
The main attraction of the festival is its food vendors: there will be an abundance of seafood dishes ready for your consumption! If you like shrimp–and who doesn’t?–then this event is right up your alley. Be sure not only to eat as much as possible while at it but also try one or two new things; maybe even something spicy! But don’t forget about other types of food on offer either; chances are good that whatever dish appeals most strongly will come from somewhere besides Louisiana or Alabama…or both…which means that those who go hungry might miss out on something worthwhile due simply because they weren’t willing take risks with their palates!
Burning Man in Black Rock City, Nevada
Burning Man is a festival in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. It’s also known as “The Burning Man Festival”, “Burningman” or “Burning Man”. It’s a temporary community that is built from scratch each year and exists for only one week.
The festival attracts thousands of participants from all over the world, who must bring their own food, water and supplies while helping to build this temporary city which has no currency; instead all goods are given away freely from day one until the end of its existence on Sunday night when it’s burned down at sunset (which is amazing).
The event provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to express themselves through art, music and performance; whether it be dancing around fire dressed up like an elephant or playing drums with your feet on top of someone else’s shoulders as they lie down on their back – you’ll find it there!
Celebrate America with these amazing festivals.
- The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC
- The National Mall Fourth of July Celebration in Washington, DC
- Taste Of Chicago in Chicago, IL (July 11-14)
- World’s Fair in Seattle, WA (May 20-August 4)
The United States is a great place to live, and these festivals are just one way we celebrate our country. I hope you have enjoyed learning about them as much as I did!