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Five Favorites: Events

Courtesy CMA

If I had to choose, here are my five favorite events that I would recommend to anyone.

Fiesta San Antonio

During Fiesta, several large parades take place in locations throughout the city. There are flower parades, pet parades, the Fiesta Flambeau and more. My favorite memory of Fiesta is attending the Texas Cavaliers River Parade, a grand evening event that takes place on the beautiful San Antonio River Walk.

CMA Music Festival
Casual music fans can enjoy any given night in Nashville, Tennessee, but serious music-lovers come to town during the Country Music Association (CMA) Music Festival, which takes place over three days each June.

More than 100 country artists come to Nashville for the CMA festival, where they perform more than 40 hours of concerts. Some 60,000 music fans come out every year to enjoy the music and to meet their favorite artists during the Fan Fair.

Mardi Gras
The South punctuates winter with the celebration of Mardi Gras. Special Mardi Gras “krewes” celebrate with elaborate costumes, formal galas and lavish parades where they throw millions of plastic beads. The festivities are accompanied by plenty of fresh seafood and king cake, the traditional Mardi Gras dessert.

Mardi Gras is too big to be constrained to any one city. Although New Orleans is traditionally known as the capital of Fat Tuesday celebrations, I’ve been to great Mardi Gras parades in Shreveport, Louisiana; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama.

100 Miles of Lights
Virginia welcomes winter in style with 100 Miles of Lights, a coordinated series of holiday events that stretch from the Capitol in Richmond all the way through the Hampton Roads area to the Atlantic Coast.

Groups will find drive-through and walk-through light displays in parks, gardens and other public places. In Williamsburg, the colonial center of town is decked out in period Christmas trim, and the Grand Illumination celebration brings in Christmas with candlelight and fireworks.

Indianapolis 500 Festival
The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most famous events in auto racing, and the community celebrates with the 500 Festival. Throughout May, a series of 50 smaller events and programs take place around Indianapolis.

Some 300,000 spectators fill the streets of Indianapolis for the 500 Festival Parade, which features floats, costumed characters, celebrities and giant helium balloons. The 33 starting drivers for the auto race serve as grand marshals of the parade. Among the other events are foot races, a community festival and “Breakfast at the Brickyard” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.