As summer approaches and you can finally shed the parka and snow boots, unless you live in Antarctica, festivals are popping up across the globe where fun can be had by all. Festivals are usually events where you can overindulge in guilty pleasures without the guilt part. These festivals, however, are not your usual fare and here is our pick of the best!
La Tomatina, Spain
Who doesn’t love a good food fight? For the ultimate food fight, head to Buñol, a small town in Spain, for the annual Tomato-Throwing Festival. Held on the last Wednesday of August, the event attracts thousands of tomato-slinging participants. So how do they kick off this annual event? It starts with a ham at the top of a greased pole, of course. As soon as someone can reach the top of the pole and drop the ham, the tomato frenzy officially begins. Crushed tomatoes are thrown from trucks while people in the streets revel in tomato pulp and juices. Bring goggles and a really good stain remover.
Shopping Festival, Istanbul
The first annual Shopping Festival of Istanbul takes place this June and lasts a staggering forty days with many stores staying open twenty-four hours a day. This is your time to put on your comfortable shoes so you can shop til you drop. This is a shop-a-holics dream that is set to rival the Dubai Shopping Festival, which is no small feat. There will be street performances and drawings to entice shoppers into doing more shopping.
King’s Cup Elephant Polo, Thailand
Forget polo played with people wearing fancy outfits riding fancy horses. What a bore. Instead, head to Hua Hin for this year’s King’s Cup Polo tournament in Thailand. Tentatively scheduled for September 5th through the 11th, this event returns to its place of origin after three years at Chiang Rai. What’s cooler than a bunch of colorful riders on huge beasts running down a field, trying to hit a tiny ball with sticks? Bring your best dress or suit, because after the games you’ll want to attend the gala cocktail parties and dinners that are a part of the event. Be sure to leave the elephants at home.
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Cooper’s Hill Annual Cheese Rolling and Wake, England
This cheesy event takes place on the last Monday of May in Gloucestershire, attracting thousands each year to partake in several downhill cheese-chasing events. With four downhill races, this grueling event brings out the best in people as they push and shove their way down the hill to be the first to the bottom, thus procuring the seven pound wheel of cheese as their prize. How they get it home is another matter. Now if someone can just explain the “wake” part of this event.
International Berlin Beer Festival, Germany
Of course those hot summers demand that you quench your thirst, so a nice beer festival is the perfect way to do that. With more than 180 breweries and 2,000 varieties of beer being represented from over 85 countries, you’re bound to find a beer or two you like at the Berlin Beer Festival in Berlin, Germany. From August 3rd through the 5th, you’ll enjoy great food, entertainment, and of course, beer, lots of beer. With more than a million people attending this event, no one will notice if you get a little tipsy. Just be sure to wash it down with plenty of Knackwurst.