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US: Daytona Beach, FL – Rolex 24 at Daytona – Grueling 24 Hour Endurance Race

Since 1962, racing legends from around the world have come to Daytona to compete in a grueling 24-hour marathon.  The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona is infamously relentless on both driver and machine as sleep-deprived crews perform mechanical phenomenons. From sunrise to sunset to sunrise again, witness as both man and machine are pushed to the limit in this twice-around-the-clock marathon.

Car MotorsportsThe Rolex 24 at DAYTONA, a 24-hour sports car endurance race executed on the track’s 3.56-mile road course, is a perfect battle between machine, driver and time.

The four-day event begins with qualifying races on January 25, a BMW Endurance race January 26 and the Rolex 24 January 27-28. Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso brings the driver star power to this most challenging race.Motorsports(1)

Schedule of Events:

Thursday, January 25th
9:00 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
9:20 AM – 10:20 AM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #1
10:40 AM – 11:25 AM
Ferrari Challenge practice session #3
11:40 AM – 11:55 AM
IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge practice session #3
12:05 PM – 12:20 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST qualifying
12:25 PM – 12:40 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS / TCR qualifying
1:40 PM – 2:40 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #2
3:00 PM – 3:15 PM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #1 group 1
3:20 PM – 3:35 PM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #1 group 2
3:55 PM – 4:10 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD qualifying
4:20 PM – 4:35 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM qualifying
4:45 PM – 5:00 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship P qualifying
5:00 PM – 5:20 PM
IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice session #4
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #3

 Friday, January 26th
8:30 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #2 group 1
9:05 AM – 9:20 AM
Ferrari Challenge qualifying #2 group 2
9:40 AM – 10:40 AM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session #4
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Ferrari Challenge race #1
11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM
Grid opens for fan access to pre-race ceremonies on Pit Road
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
BMW Endurance Challenge At DAYTONA

Saturday, January 27th
6:30 AM
Stadium & UNOH Fanzone opens
7:00 AM
DAYTONA 5K Run & Fun Walk
8:00 AM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition Display at the FPL Solar Patio inside UNOH Fanzone
9:00 AM
Stadium open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
UNOH Fanzone Kids Zone open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Motorsports Hall of Fame open in Daytona Ticket and Tours building
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Daytona Rewards stations open in stadium & UNOH Fanzone
9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Grassroots Motorsports Experience located at the Grassroots Motorsports tent along Lake Lloyd
9:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Ferrari Challenge race #2
10:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
10:30 AM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition laps
11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Photos with the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona trophy inside Gatorade Victory Lane
12:00 PM – 12:45 PM
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver autograph session inside UNOH Fanzone
1:05 PM – 2:20 PM
Grid opens for fan access to pre-race ceremonies on Pit Road
1:05 PM – 2:20 PM
Crossover gates open
2:40 PM
START – 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Wine & Cheese Party – Café 24 Activity Zone
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Taste of the 24 in Stadium Midway Suites
8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Live band on the Main Stage inside UNOH Fanzone
10:30 PM – 12:00 AM
Karaoke on the Main Stage inside UNOH Fanzone

 Sunday, January 28th
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Café 24 Breakfast Garage inside the Café 24 Activity Zone
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Photos with the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona trophy inside Gatorade Victory Lane
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
UNOH Fanzone Kids Zone open
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Fanatics merchandise store open in Stadium
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Grassroots Motorsports Experience located at the Grassroots Motorsports tent along Lake Lloyd
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Motorsports Hall of Fame open in Daytona Ticket and Tours building
10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Carnival Rides at the Boardwalk Experience
2:00 PM
Rolex 24 Heritage Exhibition parade begins in UNOH Fanzone
2:40 PM
FINISH – 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona

Photo Credit: Daytona International Speedway

Location: Daytona International Speedway, 1801 W. International Speedway Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Date: Jan 25 – 28, 2018
Time: Various – See Schedule Above
Tel: 386-253-7223
daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/2018/Rolex-24-At-DAYTONA/Rolex-24-At-Daytona.aspx
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.com

US: Miami, FL – Arts and Culture Festival in Little Havana every Friday

Little Havana Viernes Culturales Abril-15-9Miami, FL Exit 1B: Little Havana is a true reflection of Hispanic culture. As you approach the heart of the neighborhood at SW 8th Street—known as Calle Ocho by the locals; the geographical, historical and emotional heart of the Miami Cuban exile community,  you may feel you’ve been transported to another time and place. Go there for authentic Cuban fare, a strong cafecito, a good Cuban cigar, Latin festivals or a fierce game of dominoes. From salsa-dancing and art exhibits, to a historic movie theater, concerts, Little Havana uncovers a thriving arts and culture scene with a distinctly Cuban flair.Little Havana CraftsVC JAN 2015 (20)

Experience Little Havana by partaking in the Cuban culture at Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays), Little Havana’s popular vibrant art and culture festival, taking place on the last Friday of every month, from 7 to 11 pm on SW 8th Street (Calle Ocho) between 13th and 17th Avenues. It promises to be a fun-filled event for the whole family.

Enjoy live music, dancing under the stars, discover works by local artists and artisans in and around iconic Domino Plaza on SW 8th Street and SW 15th Avenue, contemporary and historic artworks at the many fine art galleries, domino games, cigar rollers, local arts and crafts, all while taking in the flavor and ethnic diversity that Little Havana has to offer.Little Havana FoodVC JAN 2015 (26)

Get the sense of this tight knit community by taking advantage of the Free Little Havana Walking Tour.  Dr. Paul George has developed 12 different tours of the surrounding neighborhoods and this historic walking tour experience brings a unique and different audience from all parts of South Florida. Meet in front of the Tower Theater (1508 SW 8th St.) @ 7 PM, Free, no reservations required.Little Havana Face Painting Viernes Culturales Abril-15-60

Free Trolley Service : The City of Miami takes you for free on the Miami Trolley leaving from the Mary Brickell Village and the Brickell Metrorail/Metromover Station to the heart of the Viernes Culturales festival every 15 minutes, starting at 6:30 pm.

Location: Along Southwest 8th Street from 13th to 17th avenues, Miami, FL 33135
Date: Fri, June 30 2017 (Later 2017 Dates: 7/28, 8/25, 9/29, 10/27, 11/24, 12/29)
Hours: 7 – 11 pm
Tel: 305-643-5500
viernesculturales.org/mainvc/
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: miamiandbeaches.com

US: Daytona Beach, FL – The Daytona 500 Returns for its 59th Edition in Spectacular Form

Hold on to you hats racing fans, February is the return of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. This nine-day motorsports adventure offers devoted race fans with an action-packed schedule of six of the most exciting races, culminating with the Daytona 500 which will showcase 59 years of history in the world’s only motorsports stadium.Daytona Speedweek -cars

Sat, Feb. 18: Lucas Oil 200 and the Clash at Daytona -Prepare for the ultimate doubleheader with action from the ARCA Racing Series & NASCAR presents a driver pool of experienced veterans and young up-and-comers, while NASCAR rolls out a star-studded lineup to open their season.

Sun, Feb. 19: Daytona 500 Qualifying By Kroger -Every second makes a difference in the group qualifying format that determines the front row for the Daytona 500.

Fri, Feb. 24: NextEra Energy Resources 250 – Annually one of the most exciting races at Daytona International Speedway, this race is well-known for its long list of close finishes.

Sat, Feb. 25: PowerShares QQQ 300 – Young drivers look to make a name for themselves, while established veterans seek to gain momentum before Sunday’s showcase event.

On February 26th, The Daytona 500, also known as “The Great American Race,” is NASCAR’s signature event. Fresh off of a sold-out crowd witnessing the closest finish in Daytona 500 history,  it’s sure to be another for the record books. At a place where the timeline unfolds like the pages of history, a proud new chapter is set to be written at the “World Center of Racing.”Speedweek -Daytona

Location: Daytona International Speedway,
1801 W. International Speedway Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Dates: Sat Feb 18 – Sun Feb 26, 2017
Times: Various
Tel: 800-PIT-SHOP
daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/2017/Speedweeks-At-DAYTONA/Speedweeks-At-DAYTONA.aspx

For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.com

US: Lumberton, NC – This Show is Going to the Dogs…and Cats

If you are an animal lover, this show is for you. Popovich Comedy Pet Theater is a family-oriented blend of the unique comedy and juggling skills of Gregory Popovich, and the talents of his furry costars.popovichlyingdown

Featuring European-style circus extravaganza including physical comedy, juggling, acrobats from the Moscow Circus, along with mimes, contortionists and jaw dropping juggling by internationally acclaimed award winner Gregory Popovich. There are more than 30 pets in the show, including highly intelligent dogs, house cats, a variety of birds and a miniature horse, each one has been rescued from animal shelter. The animals show off their dexterity in a variety of unbelievable stunts and skits, including “The Dog Classroom,” “The Amazing House-Cats,” and “The Animal Train Station.”  cat-piggy-back

Popovich, a fifth generation circus performer who learned early on how to develop strong bonds with animals, has rescued a majority of his performers from shelters all over the country, and has transformed them into Las Vegas stars. He is a gold medal winner in Paris, France and a special award winner in Monte Carlo. Gregory and his pets were finalists on “America’s Got Talent”, were guests on TV shows with Jay Leno, David Letterman, Craig Ferguson and was a feature on Animal Planet. Do not miss this opportunity to see this unique family-friendly show featuring this legendary circus entertainer and his furry friends.popovich-carolina-civic-center

Location: Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater, 315 North Chestnut St., Lumberton, NC 28358
Date: Thurs., Feb 2. 2017
Time: 7 pm – 9 pm
Tel: 910-738-4339
carolinaciviccenter.com/event/popovich-comedy-pet-theater/#.WEg1Rn2rHfc
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: lumberton-nc.com

US: New Smyrna Beach, FL – Calling All Harmonica Lovers…if You Love Great Blues Harp…Don’t Miss This Show!

Looking for something different?  If you love blues harp, haemonica-compthis show is for definitely for you. Harmonica players from throughout the state will battle at the 11th Annual Florida Harmonica Championships. Every October the Florida Harmonica Championships combines performances from more than 20 great harp players with internationally known guest stars. Each year, music lovers from all over the country travel to beautiful New Smyrna Beach to witness what has become a signature Florida music happening.

This combination of raw new talent, a show oriented format, great backing band and internationally renowned guest stars has made the Florida Harmonica Championships and New Smyrna a music destination for fans from Florida, the US and the world. Anyone can compete.harmonica-competition

Other activities include a master class, a harmonica repair harmonica-competition-2clinic and a “harmonica orchestra” performance open to all spectators with a harmonica.

Location: Beachside Tavern, 690 E. 3rd. Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169
Date: Sun Oct 16, 2016
Time: Noon – 9PM
Tel: 386-314-5718
floridaharmonicachampionships.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: nsbfla.com

US: Boca Raton Sports Memorabilia Museum, Florida – Shaq O’Neal

It’s really hard to beat Shaq O’Neal at his own game, especially since he’s so tall (7 ft, 1 in). I tried this at the Sports Memorabilia Museum in Boca.

Sahaq O'Neal

Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Charles Bridge Prague

The Charles Bridge over the river Vltava is the oldest bridge in the city, built between the 14th and 15th century and lined with statues and lamps and with Gothic towers on both ends.

St John statue on Charles Bridge

St John statue on Charles Bridge

The bronze statue of St. John of Nepomuk is the oldest (and most famous) one, created  in 1683. St. John was a parson who refused to betray a secret confided to him by Queen Sophia when asked by King Wenceslas IV. In 1393, he was tortured on the king´s demand and then thrown into the river from the Charles Bridge. After his death, supposedly five stars  appeared above the river.

There is a brassy cross with five stars at the place on the parapet, where he was thrown to the river. If you place your hand on the cross, so that each finger will touch one star, you can wish for something and it will be fulfilled. People also touch the relief on the statue for luck.

www.cosmos.com/Product.aspx?trip=46050

Belgium: Museum of Immigration to the New World

When you hear the words “Ellis Island“, you think of the immigrants pouring in from Europe yearning for a new life. The flip side of the North American tale of immigration is now on display at the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium. The brand-new museum presents the experience of the over two million people who emigrated from Europe between 1873 and 1934 aboard the ships of the Belgian-American company Red Star Line.
Immigrant Family

Visitors of the Red Star Line Museum get a glimpse of what an immigrant’s journey was like – from the docks of Europe, across the churning waters of the Atlantic, to starting a whole new life in North America.  You can read personal tales of present and past immigration as well as view the plates used on the ships, smell the scent of the disinfecting showers, and try your hands at a puzzle once used to assess newcomers’ intelligence. Anyone can search the genealogical database, or even add personal comments and family history.

Among them were famous passengers such as Albert Einstein and Golda Meir. The museum lets you trace their travel across the ocean. When you sing “God Bless America” or “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” you’re paying tribute to a Red Star Line immigrant named Israel Baline (better by his Americanized name, Irving Berlin). By the time of his death, his songwriting included 1,500 songs, 19 musicals and 18 feature films.

www.redstarline.be/en

Japanese Tranquility in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is fun, hopping, bustling with bikes, museums, cafe life, canals and history. After a day of all that stimulation, it’s a blessing to come back “home” to the Okura Hotel, a 4o-year old sea of tranquility. Fabulous sleek design (love those light fixtures) and super friendly service.

Sure it has a pool and sauna but also a jet lag program, a hairdressing salon, cooking school, shoe shine service, a florist – and – half of all the Michelin starred restaurants in Amsterdam (one French and one Japanese). Best new secret in town is the new sunny Michelinesque cafe, Serre, facing the canal and cheffed by some of the staff from Ciel Bleu. So, the food has all the quality, sauces and presentation of its sisters but at prices you can afford – 35 Euros for a tasting menu or a giant bento box with 9 surprise dishes inside.

www.okura.nl