St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans in Boston. Attending the Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. Letting your inner cowboy out, yelling “Yahoo!” at the Calgary Stampede. Whiling away a hot summer’s evening rocking out to the latest and greatest alternative music at the Bonaroo Music Festival.
These are all public gatherings that visitors to North America hear about and do their utmost to attend. However, the popularity of these events ensures that procuring accommodations is a difficult task, and once you are on the ground at these celebrations, the crush of humanity can make it hard for some people to enjoy themselves.
The good news: North America is a huge place so be sure to research flight deals online with sites such as Travel Republic. It is filled with a diversity of cultures, traditions, and creative people putting on exhibitions that are truly remarkable, but few people outside their immediate region are aware of their existence and their awesomeness. With that in mind, here are three underrated festivals in North America that are worth your time:
1) Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – Specializing in theatrical productions that are outside the mainstream in their content, the Edmonton International Fringe Festival have quietly built up quite the lineup of artists. It is the largest fringe festival in North America, and the second largest in the world, trailing only Edinburgh, Scotland’s festival. Set over ten days in Mid-August, the Fringe showcases alternative theatrical performances, as well as numerous buskers, performance artists, and a hunger-inducing lineup of food carts.
2) Celtic Colours International Festival, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada – Need a spring in your step? Then paying a visit to the Celtic Colours International Festival in gorgeous Cape Breton, Canada is just the ticket for you! A showcase of traditional Scottish and Irish musical talent, the roots of this musical festival were set down centuries ago, when immigrants from the British Isles immigrated to the New World in search of a better life. They took their musical stylings with them, and as such, prepare to be lifted magically to your feet as rousing fiddle and bagpipe performances stir the soul in you to life! After being thoroughly entertained, gas up the rental car and go on a tour of the Cape Breton Highlands – in mid to late September, it is peak season for leaves changing colour to vivid reds, oranges, and yellows.
3) Traverse City Film Festival – Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.A. – Are you a fan of cinema? Like films that actually have substance, beyond the usual brain-dead Hollywood flicks? Then check out the Traverse City Film Festival in the northern part of lower peninsula of Michigan. After playing on the nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes during the day, check out quality alternative, foreign, and documentary films, many of which are showcased in Traverse City’s fabulous old time movie house.
If you can’t make it to any of these festivals, just ask the local tourism office in the location where you are traveling when their best festivals are. That way, you can discover your own closely guarded secret to tell your friends about when you get home!