The historical immigration patterns of the United States are what make this country’s melting pot culture the perfect blend of traditions. Many people and regions have kept their traditions and schedule annual festivals dedicated to their beloved cultures. These cultural festivals give people the opportunity to experience unique traditions, cuisines, practices and other sub-cultures developed in the area over generations. Here are some of the best festivals in the US.
Trailing of the Sheep Festival. Sun Valley, Ketchen, and Hailey Idaho
Crazy statistic of the day: In 1918, Idaho’s sheep population was 6 times higher than its human population. That year, the sheep population reached 2.65 million. In fact, humans did not out populate sheep until 1970.
Idaho’s origins consist of silver mining and sheep herding. Early Scottish immigrants settled in this south-central portion of the state and brought sheep herding with them. From this point on, the region became a central hub in the sheep industry.
The most under-appreciated part of this festival is the herding dogs, tons of herding dogs waiting for love and affection. The 2019 festival takes place October 9th through October 13th.
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival. Laconia, New Hampshire
This October festival brings over 40,000 attendees, Pumpkin Bowling and a 34-foot tall jack-o-lantern tower, as each year the festival attempts to break the world record for the most jack-o-lanterns. The beautiful aura overhead as jack-o-lanterns light up the town at night is surprisingly mesmerizing. The 2019 festival takes place October 18th and 19th.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Albuquerque, New Mexico
If you ever stumble across a picture with hundreds of hot air balloons in the sky, that picture was probably captured during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The festival is huge and hosts so many events that you’re bound to find something to enjoy.
The event promotes the sport of ballooning and started in 1972 with a 13 balloon race and 10,000 guests in attendance. Today, the event attracts almost 600 balloons and draws in roughly 1 million people annually. If you’re in the Albuquerque area during the first full week of October, stop on by. You will probably see the event from the road anyway. In fact, one of the winners for the FCC 2019 calendar took a picture of this very event. Check out the October picture when you get your 2019 FCC calendar.
National Shrimp Festival. Gulf Shores, Alabama
This festival is a perfect blend of southern culture—great food and music. The name might be deceiving, but there are plenty of different seafood options available, such as crab, lobster and the south’s infamous cajun cuisine. Many world-renowned chefs visit this festival to qualify for the World Food Championships. In addition to the amazing cuisine, visitors are treated to a variety of amazing artists and bands.
Barbecue Festival. Lexington, North Carolina
Who doesn’t like barbecue? The last two October Saturdays in Lexington, North Carolina attract thousands of people and pounds of barbecue. Over 200,000 people flocked to the city in 2014! The amazing barbecue is always accompanied with headlining artists and groups. 2018’s Barbecue Festival brought in acts Danielle Bradbery, Maddie and Tae, and Tyler Rich.
Florida Seafood Festival. Apalachicola, Florida
Tasteful food and beautiful landscape, the Florida Seafood Festival brings thousands of people to the state’s panhandle. Visitors can participate in the oyster eating and shucking contests, education exhibits on the local area’s ecosystem which supplies the seafood, or simply enjoy quality seafood from the festival’s countless vendors. The festival organizers always make sure to invite headlining acts to provide entertainment when the sun goes down.
Four words: A big green horse.
The small town’s population of 4,000 more than doubles during the Irish holiday. Home to the world’s largest shamrock, the Irish Capital of Nebraska even sees marriage proposals over the shamrock, and yes, a big green horse can be spotted roaming the streets throughout the festival.