A festive season

THE BALTIMORE SUN

All things great and small are celebrated during summer's festivals -- from towering lumberjacks (in Wisconsin) to itsy-bitsy fire ants (in Texas). You can spend your nights singing in Oklahoma or watching the midnight sun in Alaska. Games have their day (a hula competition in Hawaii and cribbage in South Dakota) as do flowers (petunias in Illinois and roses in Oregon). But by far the most feted is food -- from uncommonly good strawberries (in Michigan) to simply uncommon bear (in Washington). So sink your teeth into this regional look at summer festivals across the nation.

Northeast region

New Castle, Del., a neat old town, celebrates Separation Day (when the state stiffed England) with fun and fireworks June 7. And Wilmington steps back in time July 12-13 for its Victorian Ice Cream Festival.

Contact: Delaware, 800- 441-8846

You have until July 27 to catch an important exhibit of Picasso's early works (1892-1906) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The Mall is the site of the yearly Festival of American Folklife, June 25-29 and July 2-6, and nowhere are the Fourth of July festivities (including a free National Symphony concert on the Capitol steps) quite as festive as they are here.

Contact: District of Columbia, 202-789-7000.

Crabs race all over Maryland, including in St. Michaels at Crab Days '97 Aug. 2-3 and at the 50th Annual National Hard Crab Derby and Fair Aug. 28-31 in Crisfield. More than $700,000 in prize money will be on the line (literally) at the White Marlin Open, a fishing competition Aug. 4-8 in Ocean City.

Contact: Maryland, 800- 543-1036.

The seafood will be fresh at the New Jersey Fresh Seafood Festival June 7-8 in Atlantic City. July 12 is the date of the Whitesbog Blueberry Festival, or lift a glass of wine to Frank Sinatra in his hometown when Hoboken holds its St. Anne's Italian Festival July 20-26.

Contact: New Jersey, 800- 537-7397.

The New York Jazz Festival brightens the Big Apple June 17-30. The 128th running of the Travers Stakes is Aug. 23 at Saratoga, and there will be no absence of mallets at the 14th Croquet Tournament and 1930s Weekend Aug. 16-17 in Germantown.

Contact: New York, 800- 225-5697.

Philadelphia's Summer Mummers Parade struts from City Hall to the Liberty Bell July 1. Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Regatta -- which includes boat races, music, balloon races and lumberjack competitions -- runs Aug. 2-3 and Aug. 7-10. Kutztown honors its Pennsylvania Dutch heritage with a festival June 28-July 8.

Contact: Pennsylvania, 800- 847-4872.

New England region

Check out the old lighthouse, then enjoy the Blessing of the Fleet and Lobster Feast July 26-27 in Stonington, Conn. Mystic Seaport has its Taste of History Food Festival Aug. 8-10. And the thing about oysters and months with an 'r' won't stop Milford from holding its Oyster Festival Aug. 16.

Contact: Connecticut, 800- 282-6863.

Be in Maine June 21 for the eighth Annual Bar Harbor Lobster Race, two hours after the sixth Annual Bar Harbor Waiter/Waitress Race. Lisbon Falls holds its Moxie Festival (Moxie? Explains a Lisbon Fallsian: "It tastes like a very fresh root beer that's to me.") on July 12. And for information on the 50th Annual Maine Lobster Festival (July 31-Aug. 3 in Rockland), call 800-LOBCLAW.

Contact: Maine, 800-533-9595.

In Gloucester, Mass., the fishing fleet is blessed at the St. Peter's Fiesta June 26-29. Boston's Harborfest is July 1-6, and New Bedford celebrates its Portuguese heritage July 31-Aug. 3 with its Feast of the Blessed Sacrament. Two festivals start Sept. 5 on Cape Cod: the Bourne Scallop Festival, through Sept. 7 in Buzzard's Bay; and the Harwich Cranberry Harvest Festival, through Sept. 14 in Harwich.

Contact: Massachusetts, 800- 447-6277.

Portsmouth, N.H., invites all to its 13th Chowder Festival June 7. July 25-27, Charlestown commemorates the 250th anniversary of the Siege of 1747 (as if we needed a reminder). Colebrook holds its sixth Annual North Country Moose Festival (with moose-calling, of course) Aug. 22-24.

Contact: New Hampshire, 800- 386-4664.

In Newport, R.I., the 29th Annual Music Festival is July 11-27, the Folk Festival is Aug. 8-10, and the 43rd Jazz Festival is Aug. 15-17. Wakefield welcomes all to its South County Heritage Seafood Festival July 18-20, and Charleston's is Aug. 2-3.

Contact: Rhode Island, 800- 556-2484.

New England's oldest and largest quilt festival is July 18-20 in Northfield, Vt., and Bennington's 33rd Battle Day Weekend is Aug. 15-17. Hardwick holds its 16th Annual Fiddlers Contest July 26. And if you've always wanted to dowse, the 37th Annual Dowsing School and Convention is July 29-Aug. 3 in Lyndonville.

Contact: Vermont, 800- 837-6668.

Southeast region

Summer may not be the best time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of Everglades (Fla.) National Park -- the heat, the mosquitoes -- but it's there and waiting. Pirates ravish Destin and Fort Walton Beach at the Billy Bowlegs Festival June 6-14. The bell has tolled for Key West's annual Hemingway party, but old St. Augustine looks its re-enactive best during the Spanish Night Watch 1740 pageant, June 20-22.

Contact: Florida, 904-487-1462.

New in Atlanta: a new ballpark (Turner Field) for its Braves, built from Olympic stadium remnants and replacing crummy Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Speaking of pits, the Peach Festival shared by Fort Valley and neighboring Byron is June 20-22 this year. The Power's Crossroads County Fair and Art Festival (Aug. 30-Sept. 1) is always a good time, as is Cordele's Watermelon Days Festival July 10-12 (The seed-spitting contest is the 12th.).

Contact: Georgia, 800-847-4842.

Don't know what to expect at the Asheville (N.C.) World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition? That's reason enough to go. It's Aug. 9. Same day (and kind of the same motivation) in Morganton: the Waldensian Celebration of the Glorious Return. Or if you're in Hendersonville (where Carl Sandburg breathed his last) over Labor Day weekend, enjoy the North Carolina Apple Festival.

Contact: North Carolina, 800- 847-4862.

In wonderful Charleston, S.C., the wonderful Spoleto Festival U.S.A., a celebration of the arts, continues until June 8. Noisier: the big Gatorade 200 stock-car race, Aug. 30, followed the next day by the bigger Mountain Dew 500, both at Darlington.

Contact: South Carolina, 803- 734-0166.

Last year, the Virginia Pork Festival served 10,000 pounds of chitterlings. They'll probably do it again (to music by five bands) June 11 this year in Emporia. Marguerite Henry fans won't want to miss the 71st Annual Pony Swim in Chincoteague July 30, while "Animal House" fans won't want to miss the Seafood Fling at Fort Monroe, July 25-26 in Hampton.

Contact: Virginia, 800-847-4882.

A hot event in West Virginia is sure to be the pepper-eating contest June 7 at Bridgeport/Clarksburg's Chili in the Hills Cookoff. Almost heaven: The West Virginia State Folk Festival, June 19-21 in Glenville, which mixes classic mountain music and turkey-calling. Yes, turkey calling.

Contact: West Virginia, 800- 225-5982.

Pacific region

There are Midnight Sun Festivals all over the state, but the one in Nome, Alaska -- they throw a block party on Front Street, which is mostly saloons anyway -- is especially intoxicating. It's June 20-22. For something more sobering, the 25th Annual Talkeetna Moose Dropping Festival is July 12-13. Yes, they toss them.

Contact: Alaska, 907-465-2010.

If you love garlic on everything, don't miss the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., July 25-27 -- and save leftovers for the Tomato Festival Aug. 2-3 in Fairfield. San Francisco's incomparable Gay Parade is June 29, the Monterey Jazz Festival is Sept. 19-21, and Santa Barbara's Old Spanish Days Fiesta is July 30-Aug. 3.

Contact: California, 800- 862-2543.

Get your hips in shape for the 24th Annual King Kamehameha Hula Competition (traditional and contemporary), which gets under sway June 27-28 in Honolulu. Honolulu is also site of the July 26 Ukulele Festival, featuring a 250-piece ukulele band. Or be at Kailua-Kona pier on the Big Island to watch 2,500 paddlers compete in the Queen Liliuokalani Long Distance Outrigger Race Aug. 30-31.

Contact: Hawaii, 800-464-2924.

Portland, Ore.'s, Rose Festival runs May 29-June 22. Join loggers and lumberjacks in Albany for the World Championship Timber Carnival on the Fourth of July weekend, and the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Pageant gallops Sept. 10-13.

Contact: Oregon, 800-547-7842.

Bring only your closest friends to the Northwest Garlic Festival June 21-22 in Ocean Park, Wash., or the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Harvest Fest July 13. Or, for that matter, to the International Accordion Celebration Aug. 7-10 in Leavenworth. June 28 is the date for Sekiu's Halibut Derby. The McCleary Bear Festival is July 11-13 (on the menu: bear stew), and Seattle's Bite of Seattle (on the menu: bites) is July 18-20.

Contact: Washington, 800- 544-1800.

Mountain region

Lovely Aspen, Col., plans its Food and Wine Classic for June 13-15. Cripple Creek, now a gambling mecca of sorts, does its Donkey Derby Days June 28-29 (no pari-mutuel wagering on the donkeys). The 49th Annual Burro Days (July 27-28) in Fairplay has burro races -- and llama and dog races too.

Contact: Colorado, 800- 265-6723.

Wallace, Idaho, will show off its big-game antler racks (and hold a chili cook-off) during Sportsman's Days July 19-20. The Coeur d'Alene Indian Pilgrimage is Aug. 15, Boise's River Festival is June 26-29, and just try to resist the mud bog challenge at the Soda Springs Geyser Days Aug. 18-23 in Soda Springs.

Contact: Idaho, 800-635-7820.

You expect events like the Blackfeet tribe's North American Indian Days July 10-13 in Browning, Mont., and even Reedpoint's Running of the Sheep (just what it sounds like) and Buffalo Days (see 'em, eat 'em) in Gardiner, both Labor Day weekend. What's unexpected for these parts is the Montana Traditional Jazz Festival June 25-28 in Helena.

Contact: Montana, 800- 541-1447.

Winnemucca and Elko, Nev., have a strong Basque heritage; Winnemucca has a top restaurant (Ormachea's), but Elko has the National Basque Festival July 5-7. The All-Indian Rodeo in Fallon is July 18-20, and Las Vegas slips back to its Western

roots during the Helldorado Festival June 18-21.

Contact: Nevada, 800-638-2328.

Last year, Utah promoted its centennial. This year, Utah is promoting its sesquicentennial. Hey, it's their state. Highlight: sesquicentennial concerts by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Provo's BYU Stadium June 24-25 (and elsewhere later). Among the events at Logan's Festival of the American West (July 25-Aug. 2) is the World Championship Dutch Oven Cookoff, and for most of August, Cedar City is home to the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Contact: Utah, 801-538-1030.

The 101st renewal of the world's biggest rodeo, Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days, packs 'em in July 18-27. A week earlier (July 10-12), the cowboys tune up at the Sheridan Rodeo. If you miss the July 12 Outhouse Obstacle Course Race in Rawlins, you certainly won't want to miss the Annual Cow Plop and Steak Fry, same town, Aug. 7.

Contact: Wyoming, 800- 225-5996.

Southwest region

Kicks? Flagstaff, Ariz., is host to a Route 66 Celebration May 30-June 1 in Wheeler Park. Payson, which calls its rodeo "The Oldest Continuous," continues it Aug. 14-17; Prescott's rodeo, almost as old, is July 4-6; and the Apache Tribal Fair runs Aug. 29-Sept. 1 on the Tribal Fairgrounds.

Contact: Arizona, 800-842-8257.

For a different Fourth of July, try the celebration put on by the Mescalero Apaches, including ceremonial dances and rodeo, in Mescalero, N.M. Albuquerque holds its Mariachi Spectacular on July 9-13, and you can see flying mice at the Carlsbad Caverns Bat Flight Breakfast Aug. 14 in Carlsbad.

Contact: New Mexico, 800- 545-2040.

Oklahoma City is home to the Red Earth Festivals3M

Native American Cultural Festival June 13-15. Guthrie celebrates the harvest of the sand plum at its Sand Plum Festival June 20-22. And to help digest those sand plums, be in Konawa Aug. 2 for Oklahoma All Night Singing, which is just what it sounds like.

Contact: Oklahoma, 800- 652-6552.

Marshall, Texas, throws a Fire Ant Festival (yes, there's a Fire Ant Calling Contest) the second weekend in October. The Great Texas Mosquito Festival is July 24-26 in Clute. Wichita Fallsstages its Hotter 'n Hell Hundred Bike Ride Aug. 23 -- a week ahead of the World Championship Barbeque Goat Cookoff in Brady.

Contact: Texas, 800-452-9292.

Great Plains region

The 25th Annual RAGBRAI, the bike ride, crosses Iowa July 20-26 (for the route, call 515-284-8282). Story City has Scandinavian Days June 6-8, the National Hobo Convention is Aug. 7-9 in Britt, and Pufferbilly Days chug-chugs into Boone Sept. 4-7.

Contact: Iowa, 800-345-4692.

There will be 161 teams competing in the Kansas State Barbecue Championship "Great Lenexa Barbecue Battle" June 28 in Lenexa. Liberal's 5 State Fair runs Aug. 9-17, attracting people from Kansas and four nearby states, and Coffeyville salutes a foiled bank robbery on Dalton Defenders Days Oct. 3-4.

Contact: Kansas, 800-252-6727.

Embarrass, Minn., puts on its June 8 Finnish Festival; hit the smorgasbord at Scandia's Midsommar Dag celebration June 21; enjoy Watermelon Day Aug. 16 in Vining. The Judy Garland Festival is June 26-29 in Grand Rapids. Sinclair Lewis ticked off most of Sauk Center with his novels; the town gets even by giving a festival -- this year July 17-20.

Contact: Minnesota, 800- 657-3700.

Wilber, Neb., holds the Nebraska Czech Festival Aug. 1-3. Oakland is host to its Swedish Festival June 6-8, Omaha's La Festa Italiana is June 25-27, Winnebago has its Powwow July 24-27, and Scottsbluff/Gering -- as famed for its cabbageburgers as for its bluff -- has both Greek (Aug. 17) and Mexican (Sept. 17) celebrations.

Contact: Nebraska, 800- 228-4307.

You can mingle with the troops in Williston, N.D., at the Fort Buford 6th Infantry State Historical Encampment July 12. Also: Dickinson's Roughrider Days is July 3-6, and the Red River Valley Fair is June 18-24 in West Fargo.

Contact: North Dakota, 800- 435-5663.

All who love the unmistakable but delicate flavor of raccoon shouldn't miss the Aug. 9 Wild Game Cookoff at Oakwood Lakes State Park. The 10th Annual Cribbage Classic is July 11-13 in Yankton, and there's a rodeo somewhere every weekend. The Sturgis Rally and Races should draw zillions of motorcyclists Aug. 4-10.

Contact: South Dakota, 800- 732-5682.

Great Lakes region

Taste of Chicago is June 27-July 6, with July 3 fireworks and concert in Grant Park. The Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitter Contest and Crafts Fair is Sept. 13-14. And Ronald Reagan's hometown of Dixon presents its Petunia Festival July 2-6, and the Gladiolus Festival is Aug. 14-17 in Kankakee.

Contact: Illinois, 800-223-0121.

Rochester's (Ind.) Round Barn Festival is June 13-15. Berne Swiss Days is July 25-26, and save some cocoa for the Ligonier Marshmallow Festival Aug. 30-Sept. 1. The Circus City Festival is July 12-19 in Peru, and Mitchell's Persimmon Festival is Sept. 20-27, but for something completely different, come to Winchester for the Aloha International Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival July 10-12. Luau on July 12.

Contact: Indiana, 800-289-6646.

The National Cherry Festival is July 5-12 in Traverse City, Mich. The National Strawberry Festival is June 13-15 in Belleville. The Detroit Grand Prix revs through the Motor City June 6-8, Frankenmuth's Bavarian Festival is June 6-14, and more than 1,200 sleight-of-handers will descend on Colon Aug. 6-9 for Abbott's Magic Get-Together -- then disappear.

Contact: Michigan, 800- 543-2937.

Cleveland's Jacobs Field is host to baseball's All-Star game July 8; forget about game tickets, but you should be able to get into the home-run contest the day before. Dayton holds its National Folk Festival June 20-22. Findlay, a Victorian gem, does its "Taste" July 19. The 53rd annual National Threshers Reunion is June 26-29 in Wauseon, the Jamboree in the Hills -- great country music -- is July 17-20 in Morristown, and Aug. 2 is the date for the Civil War Bean Dinner in Vinton.

Contact: Ohio, 800-282-5393.

Milwaukee's Summerfest is June 26-July 6; the Circus Parade is July 13. New Glarus celebrates the Heidi Festival June 28-29; Brussels goes Belgian on Belgian Days July 12-13. Cassville stages its 53rd Annual Twin-o-Rama July 18-20. And the Lumberjack World Championships are July 25-27 in Hayward.

Contact: Wisconsin, 800- 432-8747.

South Central region

House pilgrimages are big in much of the Old South, and that certainly includes Alabama. Montgomery opens its doors June 28-29. The Choctaw Powwow is June 19-21 in Mount Vernon, Florala's 127th Masonic Celebration is June 21-28, and the 65th Annual Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo off Dauphin Island is July 18-20.

Contact: Alabama, 800- 252-2262.

Where else but Malvern, Ark., -- "Brick Capital of the World" -- would they hold Brickfest? The 17th annual is June 26-28. Mount Ida (of course) is home of Charley Weaver Day (kids, ask your folks) June 14. "I'm a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas" spawned Ding Dong Days in Dumas. July 24-27.

Contact: Arkansas, 800- 628-8725.

Lots of bluegrass festivals in Kentucky bluegrass country, including the Old Joe Clark Bluegrass Festival July 3-5 in Renfro Valley. Also: Music from the Outer Vineyards July 19-20 at the Shaker Village near Harrodsburg, and the Hot August Blues and Barbecue Festival Aug. 22-24 in Kenlake State Park.

Contact: Kentucky, 800- 225-8747.

Stuff yourself at the Bayou Lacombe Crab Festival June 27-29 in Lacombe, La., the Louisiana Catfish Festival July 12-13 in Des Allemands and the Delcambre Shrimp Festival Aug. 14-17 in Delcambre

Contact: Louisiana, 800- 334-8626.

Blues fans should get to Clarksdale, Miss., home of the Delta Blues Museum, June 5-7 for the Delta Jubilee, the town's biggest event. Bigger still is the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival Sept. 18-20 in Greenville. And in Jackson: the Scottish Highland Games of Mississippi, Aug. 22-24.

Contact: Mississippi, 800- 927-6378.

The Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival is June 4-8 in Sedalia, Mo. Hannibal is host to National Tom Sawyer Days July 3-6. And things will be looking up Aug. 8-16 in Columbia at the Wake Up to Missouri U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships.

Contact: Missouri, 800- 877-1234.

Elvis Presley's Restaurant and Nightclub opens in June on Beale Street in Memphis. Elvis will not be there. Nashville's first Chet Atkins Musician Days is June 23-29. Chet will be there. And the phone number of Gatlinburg's newest wedding chapel is 888-KISS-NOW.

Contact: Tennessee, 800- 836-6200.

Pub Date:

Pub Date: 5/25/97

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