Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Running through the first three weeks of February, Mardi Gras has to be the biggest, most outrageous and flamboyant event on the USA festival calendar. New Orleans is a steamy, sensual city bursting with colour, and the vibe there is reminiscent of that in the Caribbean.
Dazzling dancers, African and southern rhythms, unbelievably ostentatious costumes and sizzling soul food are just some of the treats in store.
Aloha Festivals Hawaii
This series of festivals begin in early September and are a celebration of Hawaiian culture, tradition and history. It’s not all about tropical flowers and hula dancing, although there is plenty of that going on. Hawaiian musicians showcase the best in local talent with exceptional acoustic ukulele players, Hawaiian rhythms and contemporary sounds creating an air of community, pride and celebration. Vendors sell traditional Hawaiian food that includes luau (stews made with coconut milk), tropical fruits and Japanese style tonkatsu. An equestrian procession accompanies a parade of flower-laden floats and marching bands during the closing floral parade.
Independence Day Celebration Washington DC
The best place to experience the USA’s Independence Day is in the country’s capital, where the most iconic monuments and state buildings stand. The day kicks off with a parade along Constitution Avenue with marching bands, uniformed military types and decorative floats passing by huge crowds. The White House Visitor’s Centre hosts family events and the National Archive celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence. There are concerts in the Washington Monument Grounds and, of course, fireworks on the National Mall during the evening.
Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville Kentucky
Taking place over the end of April and beginning of May, the Kentucky Derby is one of the most iconic festivals in the USA and includes the largest annual firework display in North America. At the heart of the festivities is the celebration of the derby itself, and the programme includes sporting events, games and The Great Balloon Race, in which hundreds of colourful hot air balloons take to the sky. There is also a Great Steamboat Race and Pegasus Parade with incredible floats, inflatables and displays.
New Year in New York
To see in the New Year, there’s nowhere more spectacular than the Big Apple. Crowds flock to Times Square for an evening of festivities, shows and displays unmatched by anywhere else on the planet. Dazzling lights and high energy performances entertain crowds of over a million people from the streets and roof tops. The bill includes internationally renowned musicians and there are masses of decorations as well as an awesome pyrotechnic display. For the finale, the New Year’s Eve Ball is lowered as spectators countdown to midnight.
On New Year’s Day when the party is over you can ice-skate at the Rockefeller Centre, take a stroll in Central Park, or bag yourself some bargains in the sale at Macy’s.