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Travel Buzz
Top 5 World Festivals

No matter what country you live in, if there’s one special pastime we all share it’s that we all love a great festival! And since there are just as many different festivals across the globe as there are reasons to celebrate, there’s bound to be a party wherever you may be traveling. Take a tip from our top travel agents and experience one of these global festivals where you can let loose and have the time of your life…

Taking place on the third Saturday in September and running through early October, Oktoberfest is billed as the largest fair in the world, bringing together nearly six-and-a-half million visitors to Munich’s Theresienwiese event grounds. With 14 massive “tents” and 18 smaller ones serving only the finest Bavarian beers and foods like schnitzels, dumplings, cheeses, roasted chicken, oxen dishes and sweet deserts, first-time festival goers are likely to find themselves a little overwhelmed with dining options. While beer, food and fun are the apparent focus, there are a myriad of other diversions like rides and shopping to keep the entire family happy.

Home to what just may be the world biggest, most over-the-top spectacle, Rio de Janeiro is a sizzling, hip-shaking sight to behold during Carnival. This wild four-day celebration kicks off 40 days before Easter and officially starts on Saturday and finishes on Fat Tuesday. Although Carnival is celebrated in towns and villages throughout Brazil and other predominantly Catholic countries, Rio de Janeiro has long been regarded as the “Carnival Capital of the World.” The Rio Carnival is not only the biggest Carnival, it is also the benchmark against which every other Carnival is compared to due in part to it famous Samba Parade. Foreign visitors to it alone number around 500,000 every year!

One of the world’s most massive and entertaining music and arts events, Coachella’s beautiful desert setting is guaranteed to dazzle your eyes and rock your socks off. The festival focuses on alternative rock, hip-hop, and electronic music as well as large sculptural art. If you want to hear up-and-coming acts alongside established groups, this is the place. Several stages are set-up throughout the grounds, with each playing live music continuously until late in the evening. Held at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio (just outside Palm Springs), Coachella welcomes all ages. Recent performers have included Paul McCartney, The Killers, Muse, Morrissey, Tiesto and Jay-Z.

A five-day, country-spanning festival, Diwali (Festival of Lights) sees homes, businesses and public spaces brightly lit with lamps and candles to ward off the darkness of evil. One of the best places to experience this special festival is in the “pink city” of Jaipur where entire markets are illuminated. Each year, there’s a competition for the best decorated and most brilliantly lit up market, and the government foots the electricity bill. It’s a dazzling display that attracts visitors from all over India and the globe. Diwali’s celebration date is decided by the Hindu calendar, though it normally falls sometime in October or November.

The Calgary Stampede is called “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth” for a very good reason. For ten days every July the fine folks in Calgary welcome the world to a spectacular celebration of western heritage and values. Get ready to don your cowboy hat and spurs and head on over to this mega event which attracts more than one million people to partake in the fun, food, wild west thrills, and an action-packed rodeo (the world’s richest tournament-style rodeo, featuring over $2 million in prize money). The city of Calgary features good old fashioned hospitality combined with loads of cultural diversity.

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