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OLAF HAJEK

We searched and searched for ways to fill up your day planner. The least you can do is check out some of these you-won't-be-sorry-you-went events, have a great time, and send us a postcard. Souvenirs are good too.


BOSTON

Boston Blues Festival
September 22 and 23
www.bluestrust.com
It's not the oldest blues festival in the world, but this party on the Charles River Esplanade features some of the best musicians. The free two-day concert caps off a week of the blues at local venues.

The Fisherman's Feast of the Madonna del Soccorso
August 16 to 19
www.fishermansfeast.com
At the end of this four-day street blowout of food and music in the North End, a child dressed as an angel descends from a third-story window to the statue of the Madonna.


BUENOS AIRES

Open Polo Tournament
Weekends in November and December
www.aapolo.com
For more than a century now, people have gone to polo matches to see and be seen. (Well, not us. We've boycotted all equestrian events ever since our parents refused to get us that pony for our fifth birthday. But that's our baggage - you have no excuse for missing this spectacular show of four-hooved grace and athleticism.)

La Rural
July 26 to August 7
www.exposicionrural.com.ar
This is no ordinary livestock show: It's an epic salute to all farm and ranch animals that now consumes a 50-block portion of the Palermo neighborhood in Buenos Aires. It's also the single most prominent social event for the country's estancieros (farmers), who have flocked here the first week of August for the past 120 years. They put on demonstrations of everything from gaucho equestrian skills to the tango.


CHICAGO

Chicago Jazz Festival
August 30 to September 2
www.chicagojazzfestival.org
One of the premier annual jazz festivals in the world, Chicago draws in everyone, whether they're from the South Side or Europe. Performances will take place at the Petrillo Music Shell Stage, the Jazz and Family Heritage Stage, and the Jazz on Jackson Stage.

Maps: Finding Our Place in the World
November 2 to January 27
(312) 922-9410
www.fieldmuseum.org
A unique collection of more than 100 remarkable maps from around the world is hosted at the Field Museum. This exhibit shows how the technology of cartography has developed over the years - from clay to digital directions.

Jasper Johns:
November 3 to January 6
(312) 443-3600
www.artic.edu
If you're into various shades of gray, check out this exhibit of more than 100 Jasper Johns works at the Art Institute of Chicago. It explores his use of gray in paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings during the last 50 years.


DALLAS/FORT WORTH

State Fair of Texas
September 28 to October 21
(214) 565-9931
www.bigtex.com
The corn dogs always get top billing at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, but as the biggest state fair in the United States, it also comes with plenty of wild rides as well as performances from some of the country's most popular headliners.

Picasso at the Kimbell
June 17 to September 16
www.kimbellart.org
Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum often steals the artistic limelight in DFW, and with The Mirror and the Mask, the museum does it again, showcasing about 100 paintings of some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century as a way to help put Picasso in perspective.


EDINBURGH
 
Edinburgh International Festival
August 10 to September 2
www.eif.co.uk
Opera, ballet, theater, classical music - the Edinburgh International Festival packs all of it in during a three-week smorgasbord of cultural delights.

Edinburgh International Book Festival
August 11 to 27
www.edbookfest.co.uk
Every year, hundreds of authors from around the globe congregate in Edinburgh for one of the biggest book celebrations in the world. Workshops, storytelling, book signings, and author events are all part of the schedule.


FRANKFURT
 
Museum Embankment Festival
Last weekend in August
www.germany-tourism.de
Music and stage productions set the scene as the city's museums roll out their treasures for more than three million visitors each year. Local churches get involved with the choir-and-organ mile.

Rheingauer Weinmarkt
August 29 to September 7
www.frankfurt.de
If you enjoy German wines, check out this festival featuring vintners from the Rheingau. More than 600 wines will be available for tasting.


LAS VEGAS
 
San Gennaro Feast
September 11 to 16
www.sangennarofeast.net
The fun and games hit Flamingo Road for this annual celebration, which also brings in performers and carnival rides to compete with the action down on the Strip.

Las Vegas Odyssey
November 8 to 11
www.odysseylifestyle.com
If your taste tips toward fine cuisine, check out this four-day celebration fed by some of the best chefs in the city. Proceeds benefit Le Cordon Bleu Culinary College Scholarship Program.

Defcon 15
Riviera Hotel & Casino
August 3 to 5
www.defcon.org
The world summit on computer hacking returns to Vegas and offers three days of cutting-edge work on the latest in high-tech security. It's open to the public, and hackers and nonhackers alike are all welcome.


LONDON

The Mayor's Thames Festival
September 15 and 16
www.thamesfestival.org
Lots of festivals have singing and dancing, but this open-air art celebration also has flower making, rowing, and debating to entertain the more than half a million people who turn out.

Notting Hill Carnival
Last weekend in August
www.mynottinghill.co.uk
West Indian immigrants started this fair back in the 1960s, and it has taken on a distinct Caribbean flavor with its reggae and steel-drum music rising in the air. Notting Hill Carnival is one of the biggest street carnivals in the world.

Colour and Line: Turner's Experiments
Through February 3, 2008
www.tate.org.uk/britain
Approximately 150 of J.M.W. Turner's watercolors are on display at Tate Britain, demonstrating the techniques and influences that made him one of the nineteenth century's greatest landscape artists.


LOS ANGELES

AFI Fest
November 1 to 11
www.afi.com
If you're going to L.A., be sure to designate some time for movies. The American Film Institute's AFI Festival mixes Oscar contenders with some of the best films from around the world.

Christmas Boat Parade
Newport Beach
December 12 to 16
(949) 729-4400
www.christmasboatparade.com
Who needs snow for Christmas? The 99th annual Christmas Boat Parade pits local boat owners against each other in a competition to see who can come up with the most colorful display on water.

Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival
September 14 to 16
(310) 798-7478
www.lobsterfest.com
For art and culture, you can always head to the Getty. But the Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival has a pirate camp and live music. It also has lobsters. Lots of lobsters. It's your choice.


MIAMI
 
South Miami Art Festival
November 4 and 5
www.chambersouth.com
Notable artists from around the country come to Miami to show off their latest works as Miami-Dade kicks off festival season.

Miami Book Fair International
November 9 to 11
www.miamibookfair.com
Books of all kinds attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to this fair every year. There are also readings by popular authors, a kid's alley, and a rare-book display.


NEW YORK CITY
 
Impressed by Light: Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860
September 25 to December 31
(212) 535-7710
www.metmuseum.org
Although glass negatives were introduced in 1851, some photographers still chose to make photographs from paper negatives. This exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art captures the art of the calotype, which flourished in the late nineteenth century.

Shakespeare in the Park
August 7 to September 9
(212) 539-8500
www.publictheater.org
Want to catch a play? Go for the best: As part of the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park, A Midsummer Night's Dream is playing at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

Tibetan Festival
October 13 and 14
(718) 987-3500
www.tibetanmuseum.org/calendar.htm
Every year, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art on Staten Island celebrates all things Tibetan with music, food, and art.


ORLANDO
 
South Asian Film Festival
September 29 to October 1
(407) 629-1088
www.enzian.org
Think outside the Hollywood box, and attend this festival to fill up on the best food, music, and movies that India has to offer.

Windows and Wonders: Tiffany from the Morse Vaults
Now through September 2
(407) 645-5311
www.morsemuseum.org/home.htm Louis Comfort Tiffany does with glass what Jessica Alba does in a bikini: takes your breath away. Admire the stunning beauty and style (Louis's, not Jessica's) of this rarely seen collection of windows, lamps, and more.


PARIS
Jazz à la Villette
August 29 to September 9
www.villette.com
Every year, the Parc de la Villette in Paris plays host to jazz musicians from around the world who contribute various musical styles - from classical to experimental to hip-hop.

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
October 6 and 7
www.prixarcdetriomphe.com
The richest race in Europe attracts the best thoroughbreds on the continent that are three years and older. The Arc also attracts plenty of bettors before each race.

Le Salon du Chocolat
October 28 to November 1
www.chocoland.com
Chocolate lovers come to the Porte de ­Versailles in the fall, when the sweetest delicacies on earth are spread out for this celebration of all things chocolate.


PHILADELPHIA

Amarna, Ancient Egypt's Place in the Sun
Through October 31
(215) 898-4000
www.museum.upenn.edu
The crown jewel in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology's yearlong focus on ancient Egypt, this exhibit features more than 100 artifacts and looks at the rise and fall of the royal city of Amarna, which took place more than 3,000 years ago.

Revolutionary Germantown Festival
October 6
(215) 848-1777
www.cliveden.org
The 1777 battle of Germantown is reenacted at noon. There are additional events at 10 sites throughout the day.

Terror Film Festival
October 16 to 21
www.terrorfilmfestival.net
If you're into horror, fantasy, and sci-fi flicks, this festival could be right down your dark alley. The focus here is on up-and-­coming filmmakers and writers in the genre.


ROME
 
International Urban Theatre Festival
September
Throughout the city
www.abraxa.it
Every September, theater performers take over street corners, parks, and other sites to stage a kind of guerrilla theater with innovative programs and staging techniques.

Notte Bianca
September 7 and 8
www.lanottebianca.it
The buses keep rolling all night long as museums, galleries, and some shops join in this round-the-clock celebration of art and culture.


SAN FRANCISCO

Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival
September 8 and 9
(415) 775-5500
www.ghirardellisq.com/ghirardellisq/events.asp
The best Bay Area restaurants and bakeries turn out here to share some of the ­greatest drool-inducing treats you'll ever find. There's also live music, chef demonstrations, and more.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
Weekends, November 23 to December 23
(800) 510-1558
www.dickensfair.com
Even visitors are encouraged to come out to this fair in full Dickensian dress to meet the entertainers who play the parts of various characters from Dickens's novels. Food and drink are on hand to make merry with.

 
TOKYO

Ikegami Honmonji O-Eshiki
Ikegami Honmon Temple
October 11 to 13
www.honmonji.or.jp
To mark the death (in 1282) of the founder of the Buddhist Nichiren sect, thousands of people turn out for this ceremony, which ­includes chants, traditional Japanese music, and a parade of lanterns.

Gishi-Sai festival
Sengakuji Temple
December 14
www.jnto.go.jp/eng
In 1703, 47 loyal vassals avenged the death of their master and then took their own lives. This festival draws in packed crowds who come to see 47 men dressed as samurai re-create that event.

Battledore Fair
Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa
December 17 to 19
www.tourism.metro.tokyo.jp/english
This traditional fair evokes the Edo period it dates back to, and you'll find kites and brightly illustrated New Year's decorations.

 
TORONTO

Nuit Blanche
September 29
www.toronto.ca/special_events/nuitblanche
For one night, art and culture don't sleep, as museums, galleries, and other locations keep their doors open to a wandering horde of art lovers.

Cavalcade of Lights
November 24 to December 15
www.toronto.ca/special_events/cavalcade_pre.htm
The city shines during this annual celebration, which includes fireworks, concerts, lighting displays, and other festive events.
 
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.
 
Black Family Reunion Celebration
September 8 and 9
www.ncnw.org/events/reunion.htm
This two-day cultural event celebrates the strengths and traditions of the African-American family.

Marine Corps Marathon
October 28
(800) 786-8762
www.marinemarathon.com
Civilians and military personnel run side by side in one of the biggest marathons put on around the world.

National Christmas Tree
Early December
(202) 208-1631
www.nps.gov
Every year, the president of the United States celebrates the holiday season by lighting up the national Christmas tree, which is surrounded by a large-scale model train and sparks festivities around the nation's capital.