We’ve all watched major events play out on TV and said to ourselves, “I’d really like to go there some day and be a part of the celebration.” Well, this may be your lucky year.
We put together 12 events that are scheduled over the next 12 months to prod your imagination and whet your appetite. They include major sporting events, food and drink festivals, and one music festival, spaced about a month apart from one another.
Most are held here in the United States to make attendance easy. You’ll need a passport for three of them, though. One because it’s the only place where it takes place; the other two because overseas is the best place to celebrate them.
With that in mind, let’s start making our 2020 plans.
Super Bowl LIV
Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, February 2
Four teams butted heads (literally) on Sunday to determine what two will meet up in Super Bowl LIV, the 54th gridiron meetup. The result: The Kansas City Chiefs will take on the San Francisco 49ers.
Kicking things off, multi-platinum singer-songwriter Demi Lovato will belt out the national anthem. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are set to perform at the Pepsi Super Bowl halftime show.
But the real reason to attend is to be in the middle of the excitement at Hard Rock Stadium. In case you’re wondering, tickets are still available, but they won’t last long.
New Orleans, Louisiana, February 25
Mardi Gras is a tradition that began in medieval Europe, but was first celebrated in the United States more than three hundred years ago, in 1703 in The Big Easy. It’s held every year the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent on the Christian calendar and a traditional time of fasting. For that reason the day of Mardi Gras is referred to as “Fat Tuesday.”
It’s a time to party down and eat (and drink) up.
According to the event’s official website, “Mardi Gras is about music, parades, picnics, floats and excitement. It's one big holiday in New Orleans!”
St. Patrick’s Day
Dublin, Ireland, officially March 17
St. Paddy’s Day is celebrated all over the United States, and both New York and Chicago (where they even dye the Chicago River green) always have great parades. But one reviewer writes, “nowhere tops Dublin when it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.”
And it has something for everyone, from the religious (mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral) to the rowdy (pub hopping).
It starts early in Dublin, March 13 and goes through the 21st.
Augusta, Georgia, April 6 to April 12
Just when you thought you’d had enough of the color green from St. Patrick’s Day, along rolls the 84th Masters golf tournament and the traditional green jacket that’s been given to each year’s winner since 1949. Tiger Woods won five of them, just behind Jack Nicklaus’ six.
But after Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day, an event that doesn’t entail alcohol and where sports announcers whisper into their microphones may be just the ticket. Speaking of tickets, they’re available at $115 for each day of play.
The Kentucky Derby
Louisville, Kentucky, May 2
The Derby, known as “The Run for the Roses,” is the first horse race of America’s Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
The actual race is held each year on the first Saturday in May, but you’ll want to get there early — way early. The race is the caper to a two-week celebration called the Kentucky Derby Festival.
The drink of choice is the mint Julep, and ladies will want to show off their most elegant apparel along with large, elaborate hats.
Chicago Blues Festival
Chicago, Illinois, June 5 to June 7
June is a time to and get your groove on, and head up to the Windy City. Chicago has hosted its Blues Festival every year since 1984.
Held in Millennium Park on East Randolph Street, the festival is easy on your wallet — admission is free — and consists of three days of top-tier blues artists along with up-and-comers.
According to the city’s website, “the Chicago Blues Festival shares the great Chicago-born music tradition with the world while shining a spotlight on the genre’s contributions to soul, R&B, gospel, rock, hip-hop and more.”
2020 Olympic Summer Games
Tokyo, Japan, July 24 to August 9
The Olympics is the Big Kahuna in the international sporting world, and this summer will mark the second time Tokyo has hosted the event.
Several new competitions will be introduced to the XXXII Olympiad, including 3X3 basketball, freestyle BMX, and Madison cycling. In addition, under International Olympic Committee rules, the host country is permitted to add yet more events. Those will include karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding.
The U.S. Open
New York, NY, August 24 to September 13
The first U.S. Open was held in 1881, and the event is the fourth in world championship tennis’ Grand Slam competition, following the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon.
While Wimbledon is known for its rich heritage steeped in tradition, the U.S. Open serves as a counterpoint, bringing the Grand Slam to life. By the way, since 1973 men and women participating in the event compete for the exact same prize money.
September – October
Munich, Germany, September 18 to October 5
Just as you can’t say you’ve really celebrated St. Patrick’s Day until you celebrated it in Dublin, to really get the full flavor of Oktoberfest, you have to go to Munich.
Each year six to seven million people are drawn to the event, hailed as the world’s largest volksfest, and why not? It features beer, rides, beer, music, beer, food, beer, parades, and well, beer. It’s been held nearly every year since 1810, the exceptions being 1914 to 1918 and 1939 to 1945, due to the world wars.
Savannah Food & Wine Festival
Savannah, Georgia, November 9 to 15
In November it’s time to head back to the States and experience the genteel southern hospitality of Savannah — the hometown of celebrity chef Paula Dean.
The event had humble beginnings: from a three-hour dining event at the International Trade and Convention Center, called the Taste of Savannah. It was meant to showcase some of the city’s best restaurants. From that it progressed to its current weeklong venue.
If you have a hankering for southern cooking, it’s the place to be.
December – January
New Year’s Eve
Times Square, New York City, N.Y., December 31 to January 1
What else can be said: New Year’s Eve, Times Square, celebrities, national news booths, the crowds, and of course the famous New Year's Eve Ball descending from the top of One Times Square, marking the start of the new year.
While an estimated one million people attend each year, billions watch it worldwide — it’s that famous.
As they say in the Big Apple, it’s “the only place to spend NYE in the world!”
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