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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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Southern California's Favorite Bluegrass, Old-Time and Folk Music Festival

Folk music and folk arts have a long and wide-ranging history in Southern California, nowhere better represented than at this year’s 54th annual Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival, on Sunday May 18 at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills.

Originally located in Topanga Canyon in 1961, the contests and festival have been going strong ever since. Even in those first years, Topanga was on its way to becoming popular as the premier Southern California folk, old-time and bluegrass musical and social event enjoyed each year on the third Sunday in May. 

Over 100 musical contests will be offered this year at the Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest. Contestants will perform folk, old-time, traditional and bluegrass music. Singing contestants will not be limited to any type, or historical period, of song, and will be free to choose whatever material they wish.

In addition to the music and singing competitions, Topanga provides professional entertainment, dancing and events on three stages, a children's area and a dance barn, old-time jamming, and song circles. Musicians and singers of all ages and at all levels are welcomed.
This year Topanga will feature The Americans, Rocky Neck Bluegrass, Run Boy Run, and Susie Glaze and the Hilonesome Band.

Topanga Banjo•Fiddle is a family event. One of its foundations is providing the opportunity for young people and new musicians of all ages to learn and grow their talent and skills in folk, old-time and bluegrass music.

Topanga also offers everyone who attends a chance to win prizes with several drawings for musical instruments, accessories and lessons. This year the festival is expecting a make available a few, very special, prizes to be donated by its generous sponsors and supporters, including a banjo custom made for Topanga by The Deering Banjo Company. 

The festival also features crafts, vendors of folk and music related products, great food, free parking, and an all-day experience in historic Paramount Ranch settled among a western town setting that has been used in countless movie productions.

For lovers of  folk, folk arts, old-time and bluegrass music in Southern California, there is simply no better place to be on the third Sunday in May than the Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival, Inc. at scenic Paramount Ranch.

Visit www.topangabanjofiddle.org for further information and to buy discounted tickets online before May 11.

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 the Los Angeles region as well as the  San Francisco and San Diego areas.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Traditional Tasty Tribute in the Golden State

The delicious heart shaped fruit is the main ingredient of celebration with the 2014 California Strawberry Festival getting underway the weekend of May 17 and 18, 2014 at Strawberry Meadows of College Park in Oxnard (3250 S. Rose Avenue).

Ranking among the top Festivals in the entire nation, the fruitful fete boasts strawberries every way imaginable, featuring all day fun for the entire family with concert performances, more than 200 Fine Arts & Crafts booths, the Strawberry Promenade with celebrity cooking demonstrations, Strawberryland For Kids featuring rides and attractions, gooey contests, special appearances, and more, on 15 scenic acres of parkland.

An estimated 1.5 million strawberries are consumed over the weekend with delicacies like strawberry kabobs, strawberry nachos, strawberry pizza and even strawberry beer – strawberries with funnel cake, chocolate dipped, glazed and powdered, are all for the feasting from 50 food and beverage booths. 

The “build your own” strawberry shortcake tent offers a blissful pile on of goodness. All proceeds from the non-profit food vendors benefit more than 20 Southland charities. Over the past decades, more than $4 million dollars has gone to worthy causes while paying tribute to the region’s agricultural heritage.

Oxnard is located just 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 miles south of Santa Barbara. The free Park & Ride “Strawberry Express” shuttles from six convenient locations off the 101 Fwy make getting to the Festival a breeze. Amtrak California is offering a special Kids Ride Free promotion festival weekend (shuttles meet the trains). Parking is also available on site for $10.

General admission is $12, seniors 62+ are $8 and children ages 5-12 are $5. Kids 4 and under are free. Active military and dependents with ID are $8. Hours are 10:00a.m. to 6:30p.m.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.strawberry-fest.org. The California Strawberry Festival information line is 1 888 288-9242.

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 the Los Angeles region as well as the  San Francisco and San Diego areas.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Florida’s Largest Aviation Event

Experience Kissimmee is helping to celebrate the 40th anniversary of SUN ‘n FUN, the “spring break for pilots” and aviation enthusiasts, this year as a sponsor for the annual International Fly-In & Expo, held just a short drive from the popular Central Florida destination.

With a wide-variety of attractions and activities for the whole family to enjoy and a number of special offers on lodging and activities, Kissimmee is the perfect place to stay and play while attending the annual event in Lakeland, Florida from April 1-6, 2014.

For four decades, the Fly-In has preserved the future of aviation by focusing on educating new generations with a variety of hands-on activities. The week-long event is expected to attract more than 200,000 visitors from around the globe to the Central Florida area. 

Throughout the week, attendees will have the opportunity to view more than 10,000 different aircrafts from homebuilts to warbirds, ultralights and new models on the exhibit floor, and then participate in a number of hands-on activities, workshops, forums and view daily airshows.

Lakeland Linder Regional Airport will become the busiest airport in the region, with 10,000-15,000 aircraft flying in and out during the week. A convenient alternative is Kissimmee Gateway Airport (KISM), which offers additional parking, tie down and fuel conveniences and an easy commute to the event.

Kissimmee also offers a wide-variety of accommodations, attractions and activities suited for the whole family, just 45 minutes from SUN ‘n FUN and right next door to Walt Disney World and Orlando’s world- famous theme parks. The easy commute makes Kissimmee the perfect option for family members who choose not to attend the entire event. Many accommodations in Kissimmee also offer free shuttle transportation to major theme parks and a variety of special offers.

In Kissimmee, visitors attending SUN ‘n FUN can stay and play for less with deals found throughout the area. For more special offers, visit www.experiencekissimmee.com/sun-n-fun/sun-n-funspecials/

Visit www.sun-n-fun.org for more details of the International Fly-In & Expo.

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

Monday, February 17, 2014

Family-Friendly Mardi Gras on Louisiana Coast

Parades, costumes, and king cake are just a few elements that mark the Mardi Gras season in Louisiana.

Though New Orleans typically comes to mind as the Mardi Gras capital, parishes all across the Louisiana Coast celebrate carnival season with an array of special events.

But what sets Mardi Gras in coastal Louisiana apart from the New Orleans version is that the coastal celebrations radiate a truly family-friendly atmosphere, ensuring that participants of all ages can enjoy this special time of year.

Lake Charles boasts the second largest Mardi Gras in the state, with more than 60 krewes and at least 20 family-friendly events. Featuring the largest Mardi Gras costume display in the world, the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu celebrates Southwest Louisiana traditions and showcases nearly 300 costumes from past seasons.

During the Mardi Gras Children's Day on Sunday, March 2, kids and families can learn about old-time Louisiana culture, participate in arts and crafts, and experience Mardi Gras music and magic.

The annual Iowa Chicken Run and Parade, scheduled for March 4, is a highlight of the Mardi Gras celebration in Calcasieu Parish, as participants go around the town of Iowa collecting ingredients for a Mardi Gras gumbo. At stops along the way, activities include dancing, Zydeco music and a live chicken release.

Jefferson Parish, next-door neighbor to New Orleans, hosts its annual Family Gras event February 21-23. A three-day celebration that includes parades, costumes and free concerts, the festival is centered around family festivities and entertainment including a kids' activity area, a rock climbing wall, face painting, an art market and a wide variety of food vendors.

Another parade that's well known for its family atmosphere is the Grand Marais Mardi Gras Parade in Iberia Parish. Held on Fat Tuesday, March 4 in the town of Jeanerette, the parade features floats, bands, dance groups, Mardi Gras royalty and – of course – beads. However, unlike most Mardi Gras parades, this celebration has no theme, so participants are encouraged to go with the flow. Beginning on Friday, February 28, intense costume competitions are held each night of the five-day Grand Marais Mardi Gras.

Two particularly unique Mardi Gras festivities in St. Tammany Parish, the northern neighbor of New Orleans, include a floating parade and a red carpet full of canines. The Krewe of Tchefuncte is a boats-only parade that cruises the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville. Held on Sunday, February 23 this year, the theme is "Celebrating Louisiana's Legends."

On Sunday, March 9, Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws celebrates its 20th year with the theme "Live from the Red CarPET." Dogs sashay in costume along Mandeville's lakefront in a fun parade that supports three of the Northshore's non-profits aimed at helping kids and dogs alike.

For a full list of Mardi Gras events taking place in Louisiana's coastal parishes, visit www.visitlouisianacoast.com/mardi-gras

For more information about top events in Louisiana take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the major annual festivals and events in Louisiana-Baton Rouge, Louisiana-New Orleans and the Louisiana West region.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Indiana South Shore Air Show Returns

The South Shore Air Show is returning to the South Shore in 2014 at an exciting new location. Fair Oaks Farms, home to multiple attractions, will play backdrop to the highly-attended event scheduled to take place July 11-13, 2014.

“When making the decision to bring the air show back, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority staff wanted to bring it back bigger and better than ever,” stated Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore CVA. Fair Oaks Farms is a 33,000 acre attraction, allowing the two organizations ample room to make additions to the family-fun event.

“Hosting an air show at a tourism destination, like Fair Oaks Farms, has yet to be done in the United States,” said Batistatos. “We have a real opportunity to bring in new facets to an event that is already a ‘must-attend’ for residents and visitors.”

South Shore Air Show attendees will be able to enjoy the traditional, exciting aerial acrobatics in addition to exploring all Fair Oaks Farms has to offer. With the recent addition of The Pig Adventure, Fair Oaks Farms has numerous educational and entertaining activities for all ages. Proposed additions to the air show include a car show and live music entertainment.

Click on South Shore Air Show for details.

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Variety of Events in California Capital

Sacramento, California offers an exciting array of annual events including Gold Rush Days, Farm-to-Fork Festival, Capital Air Show, Sacramento Music Festival, California State Fair and several film festivals.

Here are a few events and festivals upcoming soon:

The 5th annual Sacramento Beer Week from February 27 to March 9 will feature hundreds of events throughout the Sacramento Valley. The kickoff event is the Sacramento Brewers Showcase at the California Auto Museum on February 27. This is the only beer festival that exclusively features Sacramento’s local breweries. The closing event is Capitol Beer Fest on March 9 with more than 100 breweries on the Capitol Mall.

Two film festivals are on the horizon: the 17th annual Sacramento Jewish Film Festival from March 6 to 9; and the Sacramento International Film Festival from April 26 to May 4.

The Amgen Tour of California, America's largest cycling race will return to Sacramento for the start of the ninth edition.  Start day activities on May 11 include a cycling and health related expo in front of the State Capitol. The eight-day stage race will return to a route traveling north-to-south from May 11-18 along more than 700 miles of scenic roads through some of California's most picturesque backdrops.

Considered America's largest and most prestigious cycling event, the overall start of the Amgen Tour of California will begin in front of the State Capitol building and travel through 11 host cities during the eight day event.

When the 22nd annual Pacific Rim Street Fest convenes in Old Sacramento on May 18, a menu of Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Chinese and Thai foods will share the program with Asian martial-arts masters, acrobatics, children's activities and public health and career fairs.

Musical excitement takes over the city Memorial Day weekend (May 23 to 26) with the 41st annual Sacramento Music Festival featuring 400 live music acts by 70 bands at 24 venues. It's one giant party as the sounds of jazz, blues, zydeco (and related styles) permeate Old Sacramento and the Downtown area.

Visit  www.sacramento365.com for a complete events calendar in Sacramento.

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 the  Sacramento and San Francisco region as well as the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Race of Wacky Human-powered Amphibious Works of Art

On May 3 the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore, Maryland, will host the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race of wacky, imaginative, totally human-powered works of art.

They are designed to travel on land, through mud, and over deep harbor waters, constructed out of used bicycles, gears, and parts, created by a lunatic genius who tinkers around in the garage or backyard near you! 

The machines can be simple, small crafts, piloted by only one brave soul, or they can be over 50 feet long, extremely well-engineered, sophisticated vehicles powered by a team of pilots. Pilots ("Kinetinauts") compete for the most coveted Grand Mediocre East Coast Champion Award (finishes right in the middle), and the highly prized Next to the Last Award (finishes, well, next-to-last), and other serious trophies including Art, Engineering, Best Bribes and more.

Free to spectators, the Kinetic Sculpture Race starts at 10am at the American Visionary Art Museum (arrive early to take part in the Opening Ceremony and Blessing of De Feet). Other great spots to see the vehicles are the 1st Checkpoint atop Federal Hill; The Water Entry at the Korean War Memorial Park in Canton; the uphill Mud-Pit in Patterson Park; the not-so-quick-Sand Pit in Patterson Park; and, of course, anywhere along the 15-mile route throughout Baltimore City. 

Kinetic Volunteers – The Brave, The Talented, The Mediocre, The Unsuspecting Few – are needed to help in the grueling, all day, general insanity of the 16th annual (soon-to-be-legendary) Kinetic Sculpture Race, for nothin’ but the glory on Saturday May 3! Visit Kinetic Volunteers for details. Kinetic Rule: No matter the job, no matter the weather, you’ll still have to dress funny. No whiners.

For more information – including past race photos, inspiration, costume ideas, route map and a handy Spectator's Guide – visit the official Race site kineticbaltimore.com.

For news of other top events in Maryland take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Maryland.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Inaugural Cowboy Cuisine/Wine Festival in Fort Worth

The inaugural Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival (FWFWF) is set to kick off March 27-30 and will infuse homegrown flavors of celebrated local chefs and wine makers for a taste-filled weekend. 

Home to some of the greatest culinary artists in the country, the festival will showcase Fort Worth’s distinctive gastronomic traditions, while educating the public on the unique culinary offerings of the region, including: “Cowboy Cuisine,” Haute Continental Fare, trendy farm-to-table, Tex-Mex and more.

Fort Worth sets out to honor an innovative style of cooking well-known for its reflection of the city’s deep Western heritage and unrivaled world-class art – Cowboy Cuisine. Melded with the flavors of Southwestern, Creole, Southern, Mexican and traditional steakhouse, Cowboy Cuisine is an inspiration to chefs such as Tim Love and Jon Bonnell, to name a few, who have produced dishes such as Kangaroo Carpaccio Nachos, Pepper-Crusted Buffalo Tenderloin and Crab-Stuffed Jalapenos. Bayou-inspired fare, fine Tex-Mex and locally distilled artisanal bourbon are among the many that will also be available for tasting.

In true Texas style, the FWFWF opening event will be held at Billy Bob’s Texas – the world’s largest honky-tonk, on Thursday, March 27, from 7-9pm. Twelve of the most sought-after local chefs will be in attendance, including: Jon Bonnell (Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine and WATERS Bonnell’s Coastal Cuisine), Terry Chandler (Fred’s Texas Café), Keith Hicks (Button’s), Mark Hitri (Billy Bob’s Texas), Lanny Lancarte (Lanny’s Alta Cocina), Tim Love (Lonesome Dove Western Bistro), Molly McCook (Ellerbe Fine Foods), Dena Peterson (Café Modern), Juan Rodriguez (Reata Restaurant), Blaine Staniford (GRACE), Michael Thomson (Michael’s Cuisine) and Donatella Trotti (Nonna Tata). Chefs will prepare tastings paired with three Texas craft beers, three Texas wines and three Texas spirits. Space is limited and tickets are $65.

Home to over 7,500 unique restaurants, North Texas’ only artisanal bourbon distillery and the third-largest craft brewery in Texas, Fort Worth is quickly becoming a sought-after culinary destination. For more information, visit www.FortWorth.com.

For details of FWFWF events visit www.fortworthfoodandwinefestival.com

For more information about top events in the Dallas/Fort Worth region check out the Top Events USA selection on the annual main festivals in the Dallas and Fort Worth region of Texas.