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US: Annapolis, MD – A Week Long Celebration of the Arts and the Irish

Celebrating Annapolis’ Diverse Arts Scene, Annapolis Arts Week was created to bring together the area’s local artists and musicians for a week of art, food, block parties, events, music, and festivals.Plein Air Painter on Main Street(1)

The week includes major events: Paint Annapolis, a county-wide, juried, plein air competition celebrating its 15th year with 30 distinguished artists from around the globe. The artists will create 300 landscape works, highlighting the special colonial architecture, marine atmosphere, and overall energy of Annapolis. p a i n t a n n a p o l i s . o r g

Paint Annapolis features special events every day:

Sunday, June 3: Dueling Brushes – Quick Draw at Susan B Campbell Park
Monday June 4: Artist paint in Anne Arundel County
Tuesday, June 5: Paint the Bay Reception at Annapolis Maritime Museum
6-8pm
Wednesday, June 6: Artists paint in the city of Annapolis
Nocturne at dusk – Dinner Under the Stars
Thursday, June 7: Artists paint in the historic district
Art on the Avenue, Maryland Avenue, 5-7pm
Friday, June 8: Collector’s Award Reception, 6:30 – 9pm
Saturday June 9 & Sunday June 10: Reception & Sales at Circle Gallery
Mimosas & Muffins: Sunday 11am – 1pm

Here are some additional events going on throughout Annapolis Arts Week:

BagPipe Players March through Main StreetThe Annapolis Irish Festival where you can enjoy traditional Celtic music and Irish rock bands on three different stages, along with workshops and exhibits. Try some delicious Irish beef stew and other Irish favorites. Little Leprechaun Land (open on Saturday only 11am– 4pm) provides pony rides, face painting and other free activities for the kids.  June 1 & 2, 2018 at Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds annapolisirishfestival.com

16th Annual First Sunday Arts Festival Shop among the creations of 130 local and regional artisans; dine at outdoor cafes; and enjoy the music of more than seven live bands. It’s a great time to explore art galleries, take a game room challenge and/or create your own artwork at shops on West Street taking place on First block of West and Calvert Streets,  Sunday, June 3 – 11am – 5pm – Admission: Free firstsundayarts.comShopping_at_the_First_Sunday_Arts_Festival.JPG

Dinner Under the Stars is a place for families and friends to come together and for couples to experience a romantic evening under the stars. Artists will paint from sundown to sunrise alongside the hundreds who come to dine, drink, and dance under the night sky. Spend Wednesday evenings dining, dancing and listening to live bands in the middle of the first block of West Street, just off Church Circle. Wednesdays, June 6, 13, 20, 27, 6pm – 10pm dinnerunderthestars.orgDinner_Under_the_Stars_with_St_Annes_and_State_House_in_background.jpg

Photo Credit: VisitAnnapolis.org & Kenneth Tom Photography

Location: Various
Date: June 1 -10, 2018
Hours: Various
Tel: 410-268-4566
annapolisartsweek.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitannapolis.org

US: Columbia, MD – More Sheep and Wool Than You Can Imagine!

Discover the beauty of sheep, the warmth of wool and the delicious taste of lamb during a fun-filled weekend at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, 45 years of celebrating all things sheep, from hoof to handwoven.

Sheep1-1jyf79sWith over 275 vendors, more than 800 sheep, and workshops, food, and entertainment, there is something for everyone. Check out the working sheep dogs or sheep shearing demonstrations, learn how to prepare lamb, cheese making, take a spinning class, or shop for a variety of fleece, yarn and roving.

The Parade of Breeds will introduce you to a large variety of sheep breeds, and the Sheep to Shawl Contest will demonstrate shearing, carding, spinning, and weaving a final product in just a few hours.face_wool_sheep_75916_1920x1200

There are auctions and sales for sheep equipment, fiber equipment, and fleeces. You can get many new ideas from the beautiful products on display from the many competitions.

Wool 8de3421d679f6b2f85cecd8e89c80b05With workshops and seminars galore, special activities for kids, cooking demonstrations, food booths, musical entertainment, this festival is going to be a hit with the whole family.

Location: Howard County Fairgrounds, 2210 Fairgrounds Rd, West Friendship, MD 21794-9604
Date: May 5 & 6, 2018
Time: Sat 8:30am – 6pm, Sun 8:30am – 5pm
Tel: 410- 531-3647
sheepandwool.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visithowardcounty.com

US: Washington, DC – Cherry Blossom Kite Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is one the nation’s most cheerful springtime celebration. The 2018 Festival, March 20 – April 15, includes four weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.Cherry Blossom kite-fest

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is kicking off kite season. Held on the grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW in Washington, DC, the Blossom Kite Festival is family-friendly, free and open to the public.colorful Kiteindex

The seventh annual Blossom Kite Festival showcases the creativity of kite makers and skill of fliers from across the US and other countries through a variety of competitions and demonstrations, Rokkaku Battles and the Hot Tricks Showdown. Bring your own kites or children can make a kite at an activity station (while supplies last) to fly on the Public Field. Kites will also be available for purchase onsite.coloringNCBF17-1378-768x511

Photo Credit: National Cherry Blossom Festival

2018 Activity Schedule:

Competition and Demonstration Field

Kick-Off Parade…………………………….…………………………..10:00 AM
Kite Ballets & Demos…………………………………………….10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Adult Kite Makers Competition……………………………….11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Wind Jammers and Wings Over Washington…………….12:00 – 12:30 PM
Demonstrations…………………………………………………….……12:30 – 1:30 PM
Hot Tricks Showdown…………………………………………….1:30 – 2:30 PM
Rokkaku Battle………………………………………………………2:45 – 3:30 PM
Wind Jammers and Wings Over Washington………………3:30 – 4:00 PM
Kite Arch and Awards……………………………………………..4:00 – 4:30 PM

Family Field

Practice Fly for Youth Kite Makers……………………………10:30 – 11:00 A
Youth Kite Makers Competition……………………………….11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Youth Kite Makers Awards………………………………………12:00 – 12:30 PM
Blossom Build-off Competition………………………………..12:30 – 1:45 PMBol Races………………………………………………………………2:00 – 4:30 PM

Location: Grounds of the Washington Monument, near 17th St NW and Constitution Ave., Washington, DC 20006
Date: Sat., March 31st, 2018 (Rain Date: Sun., April 1st, 2018)
Time: 10 AM – 4:30 PM
Tel: 877-442-5666
nationalcherryblossomfestival.org

US: Alexandria, VA – Dance into the Night at a Silent Disco

Start the year off right with Torpedo Factory Art Center’s The Late Shift: Brand New Day, a spirited celebration of art, music, and dance.

Warm up with an indoor art market, live performances, and pop-up activities throughout the building. The evening will also feature artist demonstrations in the Grand Hall, DIY art making, a welcome reception for the winter Post-Graduate Resident, Lyric Prince, and a Brand New Day selfie station.

Silent Disco 2017-12-20_11-56-57The main attraction is the Silent Disco. Dance into the night during the silent disco with the City of Alexandria’s Mobile Art Lab.  All of the music is played through headphones, rather than a sound system. Dancers can swap back and forth between three DJs to choose which music they want to dance to. Their headphones change color based on which music they’re listening to.  Join in the friendly competition and see how many people’s headsets are set to the same color.

Location: Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Date: Fri, Jan 19, 2018
Time: 7pm – 10pm
Tel: 703-746-4570
torpedofactory.org/event/the-late-shift-brand-new-day
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitalexandriava.com

US: Newburyport, MA – Newburyport “Best Cocktail” Competition Fundraiser

Enjoy a fall Sunday afternoon in Newburyport by tasting and rating signature cocktail and appetizer samples from local restaurants in the 2nd Annual Newburyport Charity Cocktail & Appetizer Competition.Newburyport Cocktail Comp2017-09-07_14-05-49

This fun-filled fundraiser will be held Sunday afternoon, October 22nd, with all proceeds benefit the nonprofit, Pennies for Poverty: 2 Cents 4 Change, a Newburyport-based charity whose mission is to promote and carry out efforts to reduce poverty in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Newburyport Cocktail and Appetizer Competition Fundraiser

Cocktail and appetizer fundraiser, Newburyport

Tickets are available at:  CocktailCompetition.yapsody.com.

Here is how it works:  On the day of the event, Participants with tickets will check in at Michael’s Harborside to pick up their Cocktail Competition t-shirt and a map of participating restaurants. All restaurants are within walking distance in downtown Newburyport.

After sampling cocktails at each restaurant, participants return to Michael’s Harborside to vote for their favorite signature drink and appetizer. The restaurant winner will be recognized in the media and have bragging rights as the 2017 Newburyport Best Cocktail and Appetizer Competition Winner.

Location: Downtown Newburyport
Starting Point: Michael’s Harborside, 1 Tournament Wharf, Newburyport, MA 01950
Date: Sun, Oct 22nd, 2017
Time: 2pm -5 pm
newburyport.com/best-cocktail-competition-fundraiser-sept-25th
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: newburyport.com

US: Rocky Mount, NC – 10th Annual Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown

The 10th Annual Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown is a professional cooking competition based on KCBS categories (chicken, pork ribs, pork & beef brisket). Awards include Grand Champion, Reserved Grand Champion, and People’s Choice Award. Cash awards, trophies and plaques awarded up to 10th place in each category. There will be 58 opportunities to win. BBQ Throwdown Meat

The Friday night Kick Off Party includes a Kick Off Concert featuring Who’s Bad- The Ultimate Michael Jackson tribute band  held in downtown Rocky Mount. KCBS representatives will be present and competition judging starts at noon on Saturday, October 14, using the blind judging technique. This is a party you don’t want to miss, with plenty of delicious food, beverages, and great entertainment. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and come have some fun.BBQ THrowdown Stage

Schedule of Events:

Friday & Saturday, October 13-14, 2017

  • 10th annual Eastern Carolina BBQ Throw Down (Competition)
  • Includes: People Choice

Friday, October 13th (12pm – 8:30 pm)

  • BBQ Kick Off Party (Train Station Lawn) 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Who’s Bad Michael Jackson tribute band 6:30 pm (Train Station Lawn)

Saturday, October 14th (10:00 am – 6 pm)

  • Food Vendors, Commercial Vendors, Exhibitors, Live Music

Location: 101 Coastline St, Downtown Rocky Mount,NC  27804 – in front of the Helen P. Gay Historic Rocky Mount Train Station
Date & Time: Fri, Oct. 13 – Sat, Oct. 14, 2017
Time: Fri 12 pm – 8 pm, Sat 10 am – 6 pm
Tel: 252-972-1159
downtownrockymount.com/events/eastern-carolina-bbq-throwdown
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: rockymounttravel.com

US: Benson, NC – A Celebration For Farmer’s Best Friend – the Mule

The small town of Benson, North Carolina, with a population of around 3500, will swell to approximately 30,000 come September 21-24, 2017 when the 68th Annual Benson Mule Days Celebration, which honors the farmer’s best friend, the mule, is Benson Mule Days 2017-09-13_12-54-40sponsored by the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce.

This festival is filled with family fun and activities for everyone young and old. The weekend is packed with rodeos, a mule pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, street dances, carnival rides, camping, parades, bluegrass shows and more.

Friday, visitors can enjoy many events including the Mule Competitions held in the Chamber Park and Arena. They will see mule coon jumping, a mule race, Best of Show and many other events.  If you haven’t seen a mule competition this is a must see for the whole family.Benson_Mule_Days

Saturday is a big day at Benson Mule Days as thousands of spectators grapple for a place to sit or stand to observe the one of the biggest parades in North Carolina. Bands, floats, Shriner units, classic cars, antique tractors, unique entries, beauty queens, and hundreds of horses, mules, buggies, wagons make their way down Main Street of Benson beginning at 10am.

There are three rodeos of which the first begins on Friday night followed by a Saturday night and Sunday afternoon performance. A new event this year are Mule Day Dances. After the rodeos on Friday and Saturday nights, kick up your heels at the Chamber Park.Benson_Mule_Days_ Horses3

Get a complete schedule of events- here

Location: Various – see schedule
Date: Sept 21-24, 2017
Hours: Various – see schedule
Tel: 919-894-3825
bensonmuledays.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: johnstoncountync.org

US: Pawtucket, RI – Dragon Boat Racing & Taiwan Day Festival in Blackstone Valley

Now in its 18th year, the Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races & Taiwan Day Festival is an extraordinary event for the whole family to enjoy.  Join the thousands of people who attend each year for exciting competition, family-fun, and a great opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture.RI Dragon Boat 2017-07-31_11-03-41

Racers continue to use the fiberglass Taiwanese-style dragon boats gifted to them from the Republic of China (Taiwan)  and incorporate the skill of flag-catching in each race.

The course length is 1,000 feet long up the Pawtucket River, with three boats racing at a time. A unique element to the races is the larger Taiwanese-style dragon boats, wood paddles, and the flag-catching in each race. If the flag is missed a penalty is added to their time.RI Dragon Boat- crowd2017-07-31_11-05-27

Sanctioned by the Eastern Regional Dragon Boat Association, the RI Chinese Dragon Boat Races consist of two divisions: the Mixed Division, which requires a minimum of 6 female paddlers, and the Open Division that has no gender restrictions.

In addition to the exciting boat races, under the giant tent you will find Taiwan Day festivities with some top notch entertainment including  cultural performances, many art & crafts tables, and the ever-popular dumpling eating contest. The festival also has a great selection of vendors, interactive activities, and food trucks.RI Dragon Boat dancers2017-07-31_11-08-34

Don’t miss the great entertainment throughout the day including:

  • The popular Chinese dumpling eating contest
  • Taiwanese arts & crafts tables
  • Lion dancers
  • Yo-yo performances
  • Interactive games and activities
  • A fun (and messy) watermelon eating contest
  • Food trucks
  • Vendors

With so much to see and do…the Taiwan Day Festival is truly a great opportunity to witness some wonderful traditional Chinese and Taiwanese entertainment.

Parking and shuttle buses: Parking and shuttles for teams and attendees will be located at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center‘s lot, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI. Shuttle buses will start at 7:00 am and run until the awards ceremony has been completed.

Photo credit: James Toomey/Blackstone Valley Tourism Council

Location: Festival Pier, Pawtucket River, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Date: Sat, September 9, 2017
Time: 8am – 5pm
Tel: 401-724-2200
dragonboatri.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: tourblackstone.com

US: Darien, GA – Sample and Vote the Best Ice Creams in Darien

Ready for some homemade ice cream? Lucky you, it’s that time again for the annual Ice Cream Churn-Off at Ashantilly Center. What a tasty idea, combining everyone’s favorite dessert with a fundraiser benefiting the nonprofit Ashantilly Center.Darien Chun Off Girl2017-07-25_9-53-18

Competitors will vie for awards for a people’s choice, best individual ice cream and the best ice cream from a business or organization. The competition is opened to everyone, adults and youth alike, so churners bring your churn and your primo recipe – but no raw eggs allowed, and Ashantilly will provide ice and salt.

If consuming the coveted ice cream is more your speed, you are welcome to bring your own chairs and find a shady spot to enjoy the frozen dessert and the live music. A $5 donation gets samplers two tastings, and ice cream lovers can purchase additional samples – 3/$5.Darien Churn Off Ice cream 2017-07-25_9-50-09

Ice cream doesn’t get fresher than this! There’s also Free lemonade and popcorn and great raffle prizes and live music.

Location: Ashantilly Center, 15591 GA Hwy 99, Darien, Georgia 31305
Date: Sun, Sept. 3, 2017
Time: 4PM – 6PM
Tel: 912 437-4473
ashantillycenter.org/ashantilly-events/33-10th-annual-churn-off
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitdarien.com

US: Beaufort, SC – Dragon Boat Race For a Worthy Cause

Don’t miss one of the Lowcountry’s signature events, the annual DragonBoat Beaufort Race Day. The exciting dragon boat races will take place Saturday, June 24, 2017 at at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park on the river from 8-4.DragonBoat Beaufort (1)

Witness the fierce competition and camaraderie as teams of paddlers race on the Beaufort river to win trophies and raise money for local cancer patients. Among the fun and festivities will be an opening ceremony, three heats of races, the moving Carnation Ceremony for cancer survivors and their families and the closing medal ceremony.

DragonBoat Race Day will include many local businesses, community groups and teams of friends and family racing against each other. The mixed Cancer Survivor Division will be the showcase for the heroes and heroines, honoring the spirit of DragonBoat Race Day.DragonBoat Beaufort (4)
Twenty paddlers
sitting side-by-side in a dragon-headed 42 foot-long vessel, paddling furiously to the beat of an emphatic drummer. The goal: physical wellness and psychological well-being through this thrilling, team-oriented support program that even offers opportunities to travel to competitions worldwide.

There will be 35 teams each racing three times. There will be two divisions – Mixed Community and Cancer Survivor teams. All teams race together. Cancer Survivor teams must have at least 8 cancer survivors in the boat during each race. After the first and second heats, teams will be placed in racing categories based upon their time; the third heat will decide the medals. Cancer Survivor placings decided by accumulating the two best times from each team. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded for the top three finishers in each racing categories during the Awards Ceremony at the end of the day.DragonBoat Beaufort (5)

Location: Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, downtown on the Beaufort River,  SC
Date: Sat, June 24, 2017
Time: 8am – 4pm
Tel: 843-473-4477
dragonboat-raceday.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: southcarolinalowcountry.com