Top U.S. Festivals & Fairs Fill The Air

NORWALK, Conn., Aug. 23 /PRNewswire/ — The aroma of corn dogs, candied apples, and funnel cakes is filling the air, as visions of racing pigs, biggest watermelon and best pie recipe dance through the head — Midway madness has arrived in the American heartland, and the experts at Travelers Advantage are raising the big-top on the best, most unique and most popular festivals and fairs across the land.

Festival fever is striking travelers eager to explore new and interesting cultures. Four in 10 (41 percent) U.S. adult travelers attended a festival and/or fair in the past year, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. This translates to an estimated 59.5 million U.S. adults. Specifically, one in five (20 percent) past-year travelers (28.9 million adults) say they attended a heritage, ethnic, or folk festival or fair. About one third (31 percent) of past-year travelers (45.8 million adults) attended another type of festival or fair, such as a state or county fair or arts and crafts fair.

“As the state fair and festival season opens, travelers can experience a wealth of sights, sounds, tastes and thrills that make up the unique — and diverse — culture of America,” said Leslie Downey, director of communication, Travelers Advantage and TravelersAdvantage.com. “Vacationers can add spice to their life at a crab and seafood festival, add zest with an ode to lemons or visit one of the most popular fairs in the land — The Texas State Fair.”

Whatever your fair fancy, here are the tops from the experts at Travelers Advantage:

Top 5 Festivals:

1. Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival, Oct. 7-8, Port Angeles, Wash. …
The most famous festival and celebration of crustaceans around. The
5th annual event celebrates the Olympic Coast’s seafood bounty, with
such rich traditions as the Grab a Crab Tank Derby, where you can
catch, cook and eat the famous crustaceans. This festival’s bounty
includes crab cakes, crab rolls, and everything else crab. Also
sample other ocean delectables such as oysters, wild salmon, mussels,
clams and more.

2. Beaver Creek Popcorn Festival, Sept. 9-10, Beavercreek, Ohio … Bring
your butter and enjoy 200 booths that celebrate the delicacy of
popcorn. In addition to popcorn, there are other festival foods to
tantalize the tastebuds, as well as arts and crafts to enjoy.

3. Ava Gardner Fest, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Smithfield, N.C. … This annual
soiree celebrates the legendary actress and movie star and the arts
she loved, including films, live jazz, art and fine crafts. This
year’s festival will include a special exhibit featuring costumes from
her award winning film “Mogambo.” The costumes — worn by Gardner,
Grace Kelly and Clark Gable — are part of the $50 million dollar
collection owned by actress Debbie Reynolds. Reynolds’ collection of
more than 3,500 costumes and motion picture artifacts is the largest
private collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world.

4. Miami Hong Kong Dragon Boat Racing Festival, May 5, 2007 …
Experience the second-fastest growing outdoor sport in the world,
along with other Asian infused culture including Chinese dragon and
lion dancing, a Polynesian Asian Pacific show, Royal Thai Dance
performances, martial arts demonstrations and Caribbean Isle steel
bands.

5. Lemon Fest, Sept. 9-10, Ventura, Calif. … Get caught up in the zest
fest! This celebration pays homage to the star of California’s
thriving citrus industry, and honors its rich agricultural past.
There’s pie eating and Lemonhead candy spitting contests, a reptile
show, cooking demonstrations and community performances. Grab the
lemonade, and refresh yourself with this tart fest!

Top 5 Fairs:

1. State Fair of Texas, Sept. 29-Oct. 22 … Everything is big in Texas,
and the state fair, which began in 1886, is no exception. With more
than three million people in attendance, check out the daily Running
of the Pigs races, livestock shows, live entertainment, and more than
70 rides. Don’t miss Big Tex, the icon of the fair, who stands 52 feet
above the crowd, sporting size 70 boots and a 75-gallon hat.

2. Minnesota State Fair, Aug. 24-Sept. 4 … Check out talent contests,
daily high school band competitions and parades, music stars such as
Bonnie Raitt, Rascal Flatts, The Steve Million Band, Poison, Alan
Jackson, Amy Grant, and a 5K Milk Run.

3. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Feb. 27-March 18, 2007 … The
other big Texas fair on the grounds of Reliant Stadium, home to the
NFL Houston Texans, hosts the World Championship Bar-B-Que contest,
downtown rodeo parade, trail rides, and more. Scamper over to the
petting zoo; agricultural exhibits such as the milking parlor, egg
hatching station and the bee exhibit; and acres of cattle, sheep,
goats, rabbits, and even llamas. Rides are also featured in the
carnival section.

4. Western Washington State Fair, Sept. 8-24 … Catch the 25th Annual
All Arabian Horse Show, rides, animal exhibits, the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police and a star-studded music line-up featuring Third Day,
The Beach Boys, Carrie Underwood, Anna Nalick, Hilary Duff, Kenny
Rogers and more.

5. L.A. County Fair, Sept. 9-Oct. 12 … Check out the Wines of the World
competition; pie eating contests; live entertainment; a dazzling
carnival; Sportsfest, which celebrates the history of sports in
America; a showcase of entertainment, education, exhibits,
horticulture, arts, agriculture, horse racing, and more. It hosts
more than one million visitors each year, and began in 1948.

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