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What’s Happening Check out these fun-filled events held across the country in September and October.
4 Stone Mountain, Georgia
What started as a small arts-and-crafts fair 46 years ago has grown into the four-day Yellow Daisy Festival, which attracts 200,000 people to the fresh air and woodsy terrain of Stone Mountain Park. This Atlanta-area festival brings in more than 400 crafters from across the country, selling their handmade ceramics, metalwork, leather, fabric, glass, baskets, and woodenwares. The Yellow Daisy Festival—so named for a lovely bloom found only in the Stone Mountain vicinity—also features food and drink vendors, live music, magic shows, a children’s activity area, and a flower show.
5 Virginia City, Nevada
Given that Virginia City hosts some wonderfully wacky events—we’re looking at you, Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry—it’s the perfect setting for the International Camel Races. The three-day event involves heats of three camels at a time, but the real contest is between each individual animal and its rider. Although the dromedaries can sprint up to 40 mph when motivated, jockeys have to coax and cajole their stubborn mounts in a show that has entertained audiences for 55 years. The event also sees riders racing on zebras and ostriches, as well as ostriches pulling chariots. Always wondered how the world looks from atop a camel? Then try your luck in the daily raffle—three winning spectators saddle up for an amateur face-off.
For three electrifying days, Boston Calling descends on Beantown’s City Hall Plaza with performances from an eclectic array of more than 20 artists. A wide range of genres (indie rock, synthpop, rap, electronic dance music, digital sampling, mash-ups, alt rock) ensures there’s something for music fans of every stripe. In addition to Lorde—the Grammy-winning, 17-year-old pop sensation behind hits like “Royals” and “Tennis Court”—headliners include The National (whose guitarist/keyboardist Aaron Dessner helped curate the Boston Calling lineup) and Nas performing with The Roots. Other acts hitting the festival’s two stages include The Replacements, Childish Gambino, Spoon, Neutral Milk Hotel, Sky Ferreira, Girl Talk, and Lake Street Dive.
5 Reno, Nevada
Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s—more than 100 wildly colorful hot air balloons! Storming the September skyline over Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, the 33rd annual Great Reno Balloon Race is the world’s largest free-admission hot air ballooning event. Attracting more than 110,000 spectators each year, this three-day extravaganza merges our nation’s passion for flying with its mad obsession over wacky competitions. Each day, qualified pilots head skyward around 6:45 a.m. and steer over targets marked with Xs on the ground, which must be tagged with beanbags hurled from the baskets. The pilot who racks up the most points over the duration of the contest is named champion and wins a
8 New York City
Since 2011, Brooklyn Grange—the world’s largest rooftop farm—has hosted a one-day celebration of bees and the sweet fruit of their labor in the Big Apple. This year, due to popular demand, NYC Honey Week organizers have extended their event into a seven-day extravaganza taking place at locations across the city. See what the urban-beekeeping buzz is all about by attending one of the many events, including tastings, dinners, cocktail classes, and apiary tours. Saturday’s festivities descend on Rockaway Beach in Queens, with a marketplace of beeswax and honey products plus the inaugural Be-A-Bee Parade, in which kids (and kids at heart) don yellow and black and strut their stuff on the boardwalk. Those who want to dig in deeper can sign up for the beginner’s beekeeping class on the celebration’s final day.
12 Tulsa, Oklahoma
Unroll your mat and make yourself at home during the fourth annual I Am Yoga, Art & Music Festival, an invigorating celebration that takes place at Centennial Park in Tulsa’s rejuvenated Pearl District. Both local and out-of-town instructors—including Cameron Shayne, the creator of Budokon yoga—offer 21 classes over three days, leading participants through the asanas (postures) of vinyasa, hatha, acro, Budokon, and other forms of the peaceful practice. For a change of pace, try the belly- dancing and hula-dancing classes. You can also attend a holistic lifestyle workshop, get a henna tattoo, enjoy a massage, or pick up some incense, vitamins, or handmade jewelry from one of 50 vendors.
Hometown pride runs deep at the second annual City Made Fest. Hosted by the northern Chicago neighborhood of Andersonville, the two-day festival celebrates artisans, craft brewers, and musicians working within Chi-Town’s city limits. Expect household names as well as hidden gems on the suds menu: Participating breweries include Revolution, Off Color, Andersonville, and Metropolitan. Last year’s inaugural festival drew 10 breweries, 10 bands, and 32 vendors selling everything from gourmet marshmallows to shadow puppets and ceramic lamps.
In 1942, legendary science fiction writer Isaac Asimov introduced the Three Laws of Robotics—a robot may not injure a human being, a robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, a robot must protect its own existence—and pop culture was never the same. At Robothon, a thrilling annual contest between dozens of amateur-built robots at Seattle Center Armory, you can see for yourself how far Asimov’s laws have been bent. (Hint: probably more than in Bicentennial Man but less than in Transformers: Age of Extinction.) Produced by the Seattle Robotics Society, this free event features a wide and wacky range of competitions—some of them combat-related—with a few strict guidelines for bots: no flying, no combustion engines, and no projectiles. In the Robo-Magellan event, autonomous robots must navigate a 1,000-foot obstacle course, while the Mini-Sumo contest finds two robots duking it out in a sumo ring, with points scored every time one is knocked from the circle. It’s sure to be a delightful, eccentric day for families, tech geeks, and sci-fi fans alike.
27 St. Louis
If you come to the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge National Finals looking for a simple pet trick competition, you’re barking up the wrong tree. In this annual competition, canine contestants from across the country hop over hurdles, dive into a pool off a 40-foot dock, and weave through an obstacle course. But our favorite event, paws down, is the freestyle flying disc, where dogs and their owners show off choreographed routines that can only be described as a combination of Frisbee and pair skating.
27 Somerville, Massachusetts
Earlier this year, Massachusetts lawmakers put legislative gears in motion to make the Fluffernutter the official state sandwich. A crucial ingredient of that sweet treat—Marshmallow Fluff—is the object of adulation at What the Fluff? A Tribute to Union Square Invention. This yearly festival is held just outside Boston in Somerville, the hometown of Archibald Query, who invented the groundbreaking sugary delicacy in 1917. Activities at the ninth annual celebration include Fluff Jousting—where competitors try to knock each other off a balance beam with pool noodles dipped in you-know-what—Fluffernutter Relay Races, and the Pharaoh of Fluff contest and crowning. Be sure to stick around for the cook-off: Spectators can snap up the leftovers at a bake sale.
Although the colorful Danish blocks were created for kids, it’s grown-up Lego lovers who, for 13 years, have created masterpieces to display at BrickCon, held this year at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. About 500 enthusiasts will spend untold hours with more than 2 million bricks building on the theme of “Invasion!” (Think pirate ships overrun by space cadets and medieval castles populated by superheroes.) Vendors in the Brick Bazaar sell discontinued sets and custom minifigures, as well as Lego-inspired jewelry, books, and attire. There’s also a Building Zone for visitors who get the itch to create.
Now in its 23rd year, the Heartland Film Festival makes a mission of “inspiring filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film.” The prestigious festival also offers more than $115,000 in prizes and a chance for short films to qualify for the Academy Awards’ Best Narrative Short category without having a theatrical run. In addition to attending red-carpet premieres and screenings at three venues across Indy, attendees can rub elbows with famed filmmakers at the swanky after-party that wraps the 10-day movie marathon.
18 Mojave Desert, Nevada
Celebrating hope, beauty, and community, the Rise Lantern Festival takes a page from the script of Disney’s Tangled and fills the night sky with an illuminating abundance of airborne lights. After catching a shuttle on the Vegas Strip or in nearby Jean, Nevada, attendees travel to the event site, where they each receive two biodegradable lanterns and markers for inscribing them with personal messages and resolutions. On-site vendors sell food and drink, and musicians perform before organizers give the signal for everyone to send up their lights in awe-inspiring, synchronized waves. What a bright idea!
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