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RV Destinations: Festivals

Making The Most Of "Festival Time"

by Gguest Author: Ramona Creel

Spring is the perfect time of year to be a full-time RVer -- everywhere you go, there are festivals out the wazoo! Whether you like music, food, wine, arts and crafts, or regional "culture" (that's how I classify the really weird festivals) -- you can find something interesting to keep you occupied nearly every weekend from now through the end of the summer.

How To Choose?

The only problem with "festival season" is that there are just too many events to choose from. Even if you limit yourself to a specific geographic area, you can easily have a half-dozen competing festivals butting heads on any given weekend. How do you choose? Matt and I plan our festival-going very carefully. When plotting our route, we start by ranking our options according to personal tastes (food, wine, and art usually rank above music or craft), "regionalism" (it's better when you can only find it locally), and "uniqueness" (something incredibly bizarre like the "O. Henry Pun-Off" in Austin, the "Horned Toad Derby" in Coalinga, or the "Testicle Festival" in Olean is sure to make the top of the list!) We verify that we aren't duplicating our efforts (no need for two wine festivals in the same weekend, when we could have wine one day and boll weevils the next.) And in the case of a toss-up, we might even try to hit two different festivals in the same day. Then we head out for some fun! Here are some of my favorite websites for planning a festival outing:

  • Festivals.com: This is the granddaddy of all festival listing websites -- search for events by type, area, or time of year -- or if you prefer to stick to specific vendors, venues, tours, and styles of music, you can do that as well.
  • Festivals and Events: Another great website for locating all kinds of festivals anywhere around the country -- the nice thing about this database is that you can search by location and date, but also by vendor or entertainer, if you're trying to find out where your favorites will next be making an appearance.
  • Art Festivals Painting, sculpture, photography, collage, multimedia, jewelry making, wood turning, mosaic, stained glass, fabric art -- you name it and you can find a festival for it! -- fair warning, this website tends to focus on juried art festivals, so if you're looking for homemade handicrafts, you might want to try elsewhere.
  • Film Festivals: The best filmmakers out there are often so small and outside the Hollywood mainstream that you can easily miss them altogether if you aren't part of "the industry" -- film festivals are a great way to see works by up-and-coming directors, usually in a fun and casual setting -- and if you like an opportunity to talk with the folks behind the camera, many of these festivals have "meet and greet" sessions, as well.
  • Music Festivals: For some folks, there is no finer way to spend a weekend than sitting out on a lawn at a park, listening to live music -- for others, a festival just ain't a festival unless you're crammed into the mosh pit in front of an outdoor stage, sweating and slamming and losing your hearing with a thousand other fans -- whatever your tastes, you'll find the perfect venue at Festival Finder.
  • Book Festivals: Bibliophiles, unite! -- find out where you can meet your favorite authors, hear readings from their newest works, get an autograph, attend a writer's workshop, and shop until your bookcase drops.
  • Food Festivals: I tell people that Matt and I are essentially eating our way around the country as we travel, and it's sort of true -- there's nothing more enjoyable than a food festival focusing on local dishes that you might not get a chance to try in any other part of the country -- and if you travel internationally, this website also includes information about food festivals overseas.
  • Fruit Festivals: My favorite part of year-round travel is the opportunity to eat locally-grown, seasonal, fresh foods everywhere we go -- so toss me an apple festival or a pumpkin festival, even a garlic or mustard festival, and I'm in heaven!
  • Beer festivals: If you like to raise a pint, enjoy your lager, and quite possibly end up listening to a little German polka music, then check out this listing of beer festivals -- everything from homebrew and craft beers to the nearest Oktoberfest -- just be careful not to get tangled in your lederhosen if you decide to climb up onto a table and sing the "Horst Wessel Lied!"
  • Wine Festivals: Malt beverages may be too common for your palate and beer festivals too crass for your delicate sensibilities, sophisticated wine-lover that you are -- that's fine, because we've got plenty of opportunities for you to get drunk in a more civilized setting -- throughout the different wine regions of the country, and even in areas where you couldn't grow a grape to save your life, you'll find festivals dedicated to tasting, sniffing, swishing, spitting, and analyzing the many delicious whites and reds being decanted across our great land -- but nobody better ask me to drink any f***ing merlot!
  • Irish Festivals: Pull out your tin whistle and pour a pint of Guinness -- you'll find all the Celtic music, food, fun, and drink you could ever need at Irish USA -- with lists of musicians, pubs, and festivals around the country, there's no need to be without corned beef or whiskey as you travel ever again!
  • Renaissance Festivals: Not everyone looks for opportunities to dress up in a corset or codpiece -- but if you do, you're in good company here -- search the map for faires around the US and even up into Canada -- there's also a faire forum, where you can talk about how cool it is to be anachronistic between event.

Copyright Ramona Creel, all rights reserved. Ramona Creel is a modern Renaissance woman and guru of simplicity -- traveling the country as a full-time RVer, sharing her story of radically downsizing, and inspiring others to regain control of their own lives. As a Professional Organizer and Accountability Coach, Ramona will help you create the time and space to focus on your true priorities -- clearing away the clutter other obstacles and standing in the way of that life you've always wanted to be living. As a Professional Photographer, Ramona captures powerful images of places and people as she travels. And as a travel writer, social commentator, and blogger, she shares her experiences and insights about the world as we know it. You can see all these sides of Ramona -- read her articles, browse through her photographs, and even hire her to help get your life in order -- at www.RamonaCreel.com. And be sure to follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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