Ever since Woodstock in the summer of 1969, seems Festivals of all sorts have become popular pastimes – music, art, film, winter sports, you name it, there’s likely a festival for it. And why not? They’re fun and a great way to get out and meet like-minded people. Although many festivals take place in the warmer, spring-fall months, if you like festival-going, you’ll be happy to know that there are a lot of winter festivals to attend in 2014 as well. From around the country, here’s a list of some popular festivals you may want to attend locally or travel to if they’re out of state.
1. California. Santa Barbara International Film Festival, January 25-February 9, 2014. If you like film, and will be in the Santa Barbara area, or would like to travel to it, the SBIFF is one of the best film festivals out there. It’s the Sundance and Cannes Film Festival of the west coast’s “American Riviera” and attracts hundreds of celebrities as well as film fans from all over the world. Like Cannes, it honors the best in the business during the 11 day event and 2014 honorees include Oprah Winfrey, Emma Thompson, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, and others. Outside of the film festival, there’s a ton of things to do in Santa Barbara and the local businesses offer discounts on hotel stays, restaurants, etc. Check it out at: http://www.fodors.com/news/guide-to-the-2014-santa-barbara-international-film-festival-10249.html
2. Colorado. Steamboat Springs Annual Winter Carnival, February 2 through February 9, 2014. The annual Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs was created to help the locals cope with winter “cabin fever” as a way to embrace winter and all its fun activities. There are numerous street events that take place like the local kids club being pulled on skis behind horses, or the Donkey Jump where kids go off a snow jump at 40-50 feet. There’s also the cross country obstacle race, snowboarding and ski exhibitions, tubing, snow bicycling, music, food, and much more. For more information see: http://www.steamboat-chamber.com/signature-events/winter-carnival.aspx
1. New York. Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, January 31 through February 9, 2014. Every winter, Lake Saranac, NY has been hosting its winter carnival since 1897. The focus of the carnival is its giant ice palace. Included in the carnival are winter sport contests of all sorts, parades, fireworks, food vendors and more. Check it out here: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/12/16/north-americas-coolest-winter-festivals/
2. Maine. Kennebunk/Kennebunkport Chocolate Festival, February 1 through February 28, 2014. If you’re in the area, check out the traditional month-long chocolate festival held in the two neighboring villages. There’s romantic Valentine Day events, lectures, wine and chocolate tasting, gallery strolls, and much more. The locals offer couples packages for lodging and dining as well. For more: http://www.visitthekennebunks.com/events/area_festivals/
3. New Hampshire. Wentworth By The Sea Winter Wine Festival, through February 16. For 7 weeks up to February 16, 2014, the town of Wentworth puts on the Winter Wine Festival for anyone interested in wine. It includes rare wine tastings, opportunities to buy them, celebrity chef dining, jazz brunches, and educational seminars – all things wine related. It takes place in and around the luxurious seaside resort, Wentworth by the Sea, just 1 hour north of Boston. For more see: http://winterwinefestival.com/
4. Massachusetts. Salem Chocolate and Ice Sculpture Festival, February 7-16, 2014. This festival features chocolate and wine tasting events, as well as ice sculptures, trolley rides, with many local businesses offering discounts to all festival attendees. Find out more at: http://salem.org/
1. Wisconsin. Cedarburg 40th Annual Winter Festival, February 15-16, 2014. This year’s theme is the “Snowlympics” and features an assortment of winter sports exhibitions, a world ice carving contest, chili contests, family skating, co-ed snow ball tournament, iceberg golf tournament, the snow battle, music, beer and wine tastings, pancake breakfast, talent competition, and much more. For more: http://cedarburgfestivals.org/winterfestival.html
2. Michigan. Comstock Park (Fifth Third Ballpark Grand Rapids) Winter Beer Festival, February 22, 2014. An annual sell-out event, thousands of people attend this event that is put on by the Michigan Brewers Guild. As you might guess, the festival is a taste-fest supreme of Michigan made beer. Attendees go on a bar-hopping spree, transported via shuttle to various bars in the area where they taste unique beer flavors and listen to local music. If you’re in the area, you might want to check it out. For more, http://www.mbgmash.org/
3. Michigan. Grand Rapids, Michigan International Auto Show, February 6-9, 2014. Not to be confused with the Detroit Auto Show, the MIAS is completely unique. Cars from around the world display their next new car as well as cars of the future designs in over 300 cars. For more info see: http://www.michigan.org/events/michigan-international-auto-show/
4. Illinois. Science Fiction Convention, February 6-9, 2014. For all you science fiction fans, the annual convention at the Chicago North Shore Westin Hotel in Wheeling, Illinois is in its 34th year. Includes science fiction, fantasy, art, games, and theater. For more info: http://capricon.org/capricon34/
1. North Carolina. Charleston Mardi Gras, February 1-9, 2014. The annual week long affair sports art showings, parades, street fairs, live music, and of course a masquerade ball for all ages. Who knows, you may even catch of glimpse of Mick Jagger this year that’s rumored to show up. For more: http://charlestonmardigras.com/events/event/
2. Virginia. Richmond International Film Festival, February 27 – March 2, 2014. Held at the Byrd Theater in Richmond, Central Virginia, this film festival is fast becoming a popular event for film lovers. Featuring an array of film screenings of more than 90 filmmakers, education panels (film related) with filmmakers, live music and other entertainment. Casual to black tie at the red carpet awards ceremony. For more info see: http://www.virginia.org/Listings/EventsAndExhibits/RichmondInternationalFilmFestival/
3. Florida. Coconut Grove Arts Festival, February 5-17, 2014. For 51 years, Miami (Coconut Grove) has been putting on this nearly 2 week festival. Just in case you want to get out of the cold for a while, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival features a mile of art with over 380 artists from all over the world, food, live entertainment and more. Read all about it here: http://www.cgaf.com/
These are only a sampling of the many festivals taking place just in February around the United States. They’re a great way to get out and enjoy the winter. For more information about winter festivals taking place near you all winter long, please visit North America’s Coolest Winter Festivals (see Source below).
North America’s Coolest Winter Festivals, http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/12/16/north-americas-coolest-winter-festivals/