Courtesy of Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Incredible World Festivals

    It is one thing to see the world but it is another to experience it. Adventurous travelers looking for something extra often time their trips to see some of the world's great festivals and events. Now to help intrepid travelers there is a new book: "<a href="http://www.frommers.com/store/0470742216.html" target="external">Frommer's 300 Unmissable Events & Festivals Around The World</a>." This new offbeat guide looks at exciting celebrations around the globe and includes hundreds of color photos. We have picked 10 of our favorite events from the collection. <p> We start in Sacramento, Calif., where each Labor Day weekend the old city celebrates <a href="http://www.sacramentogoldrushdays.com/" target="external">Gold Rush Days</a> and transforms into a Wild West scene form the 1850s.
    Courtesy of Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Incredible World Festivals

    How can you beat skeleton candy, seasonal bread and all-night parties in cemeteries? Welcome to Days of The Dead (Dia de los Muertos) in <a href="http://www.aoaxaca.com/index.php?lang=en" target="external">Oaxaca, Mexico</a>. The early November festival is dedicated on its first day to children who have died and on the second day to adult relatives. Children are excited in the weeks running up to the festival as coffin- and skeleton-shaped sweets and paper mache skeleton puppets fill the shops and markets.
    Courtesy of the Mexican Tourist Board
  • Incredible World Festivals

    Join the crowds who stand with arms extended to send dazzling lanterns drifting up into the pitch-black sky together with the bad sprits of the world at the <a href=" http://www.loikrathong.net/eng/index.html" target="external">Loi Krathong</a> festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The three-day event, scheduled around November's full moon, also includes handcrafted banana-leaf candle holders decorated with exotic flowers that light up the river.
    Tourism Authority of Thailand
  • Incredible World Festivals

    Make your way to one of the world's most remote festivals to watch painted bodies dance and a nightly ceremony during the second week of August. But to get to the Aboriginal Garma Festival in Gulkula, Arnhem Land in northern Australia you need an invitation. So register early at <a href="http://www.garma.telstra.com/" target="external">the festival's Web site</a>. The Garma ceremony is aimed at sharing knowledge and culture, and opening people's hearts to the message of the land at Gulkula.
    Wayne Quilliam, Yothu Yindi Foundation/Garma Festival
  • Incredible World Festivals

    So it's not quite a festival, but the northern lights or <a href="http://www.visitfinland.com/web/guest/finland-guide/about-finland/nature/northern-lights" target="external">Aurora Borealis</a> shouldn't be missed. October, February and March are the best months to head to Scandinavia to see this natural spectacle. Gape in awe as greenish-yellow, red or violet lights curl and stretch across the midnight skies. The lights are never the same and can best be seen between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m., often reaching their peak around 11:30 p.m.
    Jorma Luhta, Courtesy of www.visitfinland.com
  • Incredible World Festivals

    Travelers often get dirty on their adventures but this Scottsdale, Ariz., festival takes things to extremes. Each July during <a href="http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/mightymudmania" target="external">Mighty Mud Mania</a>, families frolic in the mud, proving that a little dirt does make life a little more enjoyable. The event started out in 1976 as a promotional stunt for a cleaning product but failed when the Arizona mud proved too tough to wash out.
    Doug Williams, City of Scottsdale
  • Incredible World Festivals

    There is nothing quite like the sight of 130 enormous, multi-colored balloons slowly rising over the British countryside. During an August weekend half a million people gather for the <a href="http://www.bristolfiesta.co.uk/content.php?pid=18" target="external">Bristol International Balloon Fiesta</a>. It includes the Night Glow when 30 tethered balloons flash and illuminate like giant light bulbs to music.
    Courtesy of Bristol Balloon Fiestas Ltd.
  • Incredible World Festivals

    There is nothing quite like seeing dozens of elephants playing polo. That's right, each year players from 15 countries travel to the <a href="http://goldentriangle.anantara.com/" target="external">Anantara Golden Triangle Resort</a> in Chiang Rai, Thailand for an eight-day polo tournament at the end of March/early April. All the profits from the event go towards the welfare of the animals.
    Courtesy of anantaraelephantpolo.com
  • Incredible World Festivals

    This might be a reenactment of the ancient Inca festival <a href="http://www.emufec.gob.pe" target="external">Inti Raymi</a>, also known as the Festival of the Sun, but it is easy to get carried away in the explosion of bright costumes, music, dancing and sacrificial fires. Don't worry, the only sacrificing today is of a mock llama at this annual June celebration in Cusco, Peru.
    PromPerĂș
  • Incredible World Festivals

    Everybody knows about Carnival in Rio but what about Carnival in <a href="http://www.koelntourismus.de/en/willkommen.html" target="external">Cologne, Germany</a>? It's the same idea: floats, screaming crowds and bands. But in Germany during this annual festival, the Thursday to Monday before Ash Wednesday, you also get good German beer and men who have their ties cut in half.
    www.koelntourismus.de
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