By Margaret Backenheimer
RISMEDIA, June 6, 2008-(MCT)-The sun might not be shining any time soon on prices at the gas pumps, but Memorial Day to Labor Day is prime vacation time for most of us. If our Big Summer Trip must be shrunk to fit a leaner budget, at least we can fatten our getaway by selecting a destination that is staging an especially interesting event. Summer festivals not only enhance a vacation, they sometimes come free of charge-a welcome rebate to any shocked-by-the-gallon SUVer or mangled-by-the-merger air passenger.
Regardless of high fuel prices or hard times, there’s plenty to celebrate this summer, especially when a festival is in high gear. Here are our picks of this summer’s right places to be at the right time:
June 5-8: Telluride Jazz Celebration, Telluride, Colo., 970-728-7009; www.telluridejazz.org. With pianist McCoy Tyner as guest of honor.
June 12-22: International Mystery Writers Festival, Owensboro, Ky., 877-639-6978; www.newmysteries.org. This year, a tribute to Mary Higgins Clark.
June 25-29, July 2-6: Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington, 202-633-6440; www.folklife.si.edu/festival/2008/. Special focus on NASA, Bhutan and Texas.
June 26-July 6: Summerfest, Milwaukee, 800-273-3378; www.summerfest.com. “World’s Largest Music Festival” kicks off with Stevie Wonder.
June 27-28: Festival of Presidents, Rapid City, S.D., 605-355-0505; www.festivalofpresidents.com. Patriotic repast with marching bands.
June 28-July 6: Kutztown Folk Festival, Kutztown, Pa., 888-674-6136; www.kutztownfestival.com. A potpourri of Pennsylvania Dutch folk arts and crafts.
July 5-6: Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture, Flagstaff, Ariz., 928-774-5213; www.musnaz.org, click on Cultural Festivals. 75th gathering of jewelers, potters and weavers.
July 11-13: National Folk Festival, Butte, Mont., 406-497-6464; www.nationalfolkfestival.com. 70th annual get-together focuses on Big Sky traditions.
July 16-19: World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, Fairbanks, Alaska, 907-452-6646; www.weio.org. Miss Weio presides over knuckle hop, blanket toss.
July 18-20: Yarmouth Clam Festival, Yarmouth, Maine, 207-846-3984; www.clamfestival.com. Features “Favorite Fairy Tales” parade.
July 24-27: Harborfest, Oswego, N.Y., 315-343-6858; www.oswegoharborfest.com. With buskers, fireworks and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
July 25-27: Gilroy Garlic Festival, Gilroy, Calif., 408-842-1625; www.gilroygarlicfestival.com. “Great Garlic Cook-Off” headlines 30th edition.
Aug. 1-10: Hot August Nights, Reno and Sparks, Nev., 775-356-1956; www.hotaugustnights.net. Sparks fly at this blast from the past.
Aug. 2-10: League of N.H. Craftsmen Annual Craftsmen’s Fair, Newbury, 603-224-3375; www.nhcrafts.org. Mt. Sunapee Resort hosts 75th annual display.
Aug. 4-10: Sturgis Rally, Sturgis, S.D., 605-642-8166; www.sturgis.com. Motorcycle heaven in the Black Hills.
Aug. 20-30: Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, Shelbyville, Tenn., 931-684-5915; www.twhnc.com. 70th edition of world championships for state’s native breed.
Aug. 21-Sept. 1: Alaska State Fair, Palmer, 800-850-FAIR; www.alaskastatefair.org. Home of hundred-pound cabbages.
Aug. 28-Sept. 1, Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival, Morgan City, 800-256-2931; www.shrimp-petrofest.org. Where oil and water mix.
Aug. 29-Sept. 1: A Taste of Colorado, Denver, 303-295-6330; www.atasteofcolorado.com. Labor Day extravaganza rocks Mile-High City.
Dates are subject to change. Always check in advance to confirm dates and details.
© 2008, Chicago Tribune.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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