10 Annual Nationwide Activities to Mark on Your Calendar

10 Annual Nationwide Activities to Mark on Your Calendar

Want to see or try something new? Are you interested in exploring more of America’s rich culture? Every year, there are many amazing events in the United States. Some events are independent of their geographic location, while others are closely tied to their historical roots. Here are 10 of the most unique and exciting nationwide activities to add to your calendar.

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1. Games Done Quick — January and June or July

Games Done Quick is a bi-annual speedrunning charity event for the twitchiest of gamers. You can see top-level speedrunners race to complete video games in record time. The intense competition lasted for a whole week. Gamers push the limits of what’s possible in a game, often finishing it at breakneck speeds. Speedrunning might not be something you are familiar with if it isn’t.

The best part? Since it began in 2010, GDQ has raised millions of dollars for charities like the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders. Although GDQ will not be held this year in person, you can still watch it on Twitch from your home. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover your new favorite kind of esport.

2. Sundance Film Festival — January

Do you like movies but feel tired of seeing the same old stories in theaters every year? The Sundance Film Festival is a Utah festival that offers fresh and innovative ideas. It is the largest independent film festival in America. You’ll find original work by some of the most promising upcoming directors around. There are many films, documentaries and short films.

If you consider yourself an artiste, you might consider entering the competition. Since it began in 1978, Sundance has been the breakout opportunity many aspiring directors hunt for. Famous films such as Saw, Donnie Darko, Napoleon Dynamite, Reservoir Dogs, and Whiplash garnered attention and traction at Sundance. Three films received eight Oscar nominations in 2016 alone. So if you want to see new and inspired ideas in motion, this is the perfect event to attend.

3. Super Bowl Sunday — February

Speaking of small indie projects, have you ever heard of this one called the Super Bowl? A small group called the National Football League has been hosting it every year since 1967. Super Bowl Sunday is the culmination championship game of the 18-week American Football season. You won’t believe what day it is.

All jokes aside, the Super Bowl truly is a spectacle to see. You can watch the best football teams in the world battle it out. The famous Half-Time Show is also available, where celebrities perform amazing performances. Super Bowl Sunday is an event you won’t soon forget. (Unless you drink too much.)

4. Mardi Gras — February

French for “Fat Tuesday,” Mardis Gras is an event as unique and colorful as New Orleans. Mardis Gras has been celebrated all over the world, but New Orleans is where it is most well-known. Mardi Gras was named so because historically, it’s the last night you can enjoy rich, fatty foods prior to Lent. The first instance of a Mardis Gras celebration was as early as 1699 in what was then French Louisiana. The first modern celebration with parades in New Orleans was in 1837, making Mardis Gras one of the oldest events on the list.

New Orleans’ Mardis Gras has a huge, colorful, vibrant event that features parades, costumes and music as well as great food. It’s an incredible event that many people will want to add to their bucket lists. If you are thinking of bringing your family, or if you have an aversion towards bare breasts, be aware. There might be a few flying free amidst the beads.

5. Sugar Sand Festival — April

On the other hand, what could be more family-friendly than building sand castles? The Sugar Sand Festival is held on Clearwater Beach and invites the best sand artists to give their best. More than 14 sculptors use over 1000 tons of sand to create incredible but temporary works of art across 17 days. The event also raises money for the local community, generating upward of $32 million in economic impact. While there are limited spots for the competition, the sand is unlimited. Bring your family along to create your own little castles or sculptures, while you enjoy music, food and the ocean breeze. It’s the perfect place and time for a visit to Florida if you just need to get away from it all.

6. Chicago Blues Fest — June

If you want to hear some of the best music in the world, look no further than the Chicago Blues Fest. There are many great music festivals and shows in Chicago, but the Blues Fest is by far the best. Why? It features some of today’s most prominent and promising blues artists. It’s simply the largest free concert of its type.

The Chicago Blues Fest is free. You won’t find anywhere else where you can hear the best music from around the world. The festival takes place in Grant Park, Chicago, right at the coast of Lake Michigan. It’s an event that’s hard to beat for the value and sheer fun you can have dancing in the sun.

7. Pride — June

The United States of America is a young country. It is constantly changing. One area that is constantly changing is the acceptance and social tolerance of the LGBTQ community. Pride Parade is an annual celebration and demonstration of social acceptance and integration. It’s an American tradition that is essential, regardless of your views on Pride.

Pride was originally a march in response to the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City. It’s a reminder of the Stonewall riots in New York City, and it’s also a celebration for love between people. Pride is a unique and welcoming event, regardless of your identity. Although the largest parades are held annually in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Francisco each year, they also take place nationwide and internationally. It’s an incredible demonstration of the freedom of speech and expression possible in America.

8. San Diego Comic-Con — July

Nerds, geeks, and media lovers of all kinds rejoice! Comic-Con is the place to show your enthusiasm. Comic-Con is the largest convention of its type in the world. People from all walks of life come together in costumes to celebrate sci-fi, fantasy, and everything else.

At Comic-Con you can cosplay, meet voice actors, get signed art and preview the next big thing. It’s a great place to meet fans, creators, and collectors. Every year, there is always amazing merch. Comic-Con continues to grow as media culture becomes more mainstream. So if you are interested in sci-fi, fantasy, or self-made art, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket.

9. Burning Man — August

You wake up to the sound of a man chanting to the slow rhythm of a drum and the rising sun. Take a deep swig of water and go outside to see the colorful tents around your house. Memories of last night are both fuzzy and clear. Dancers and masks swirl around an enormous effigy that is engulfed by flames. As the sun rises higher and the heat increases, a smile appears on your face. You can’t wait for tonight.

If you embrace the weirder, artsier side of life, there’s no better place to celebrate it than in the desert with thousands of others like you. Burning Man, a huge festival that lasts for a week in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, is an annual event. People from all walks of life gather to let their souls sing. A place of pure expression, excellent music, and dust, Burning Man is a counter-cultural hub unlike any other.

10. New Year’s Eve, Times Square — December

It’s the end of the year, and it’s time to reign it all in — the good and the bad. Every year, thousands gather to see “the ball” fall from the One Times Square building. This ball, 12 ft. in diameter and consisting of over 32,000 LEDs, drops down a specially designed flagpole. The drop begins at 11: 59 p.m. Dec. 31st and ends at midnight Jan.1st to the thunderous applause of all below. The air is cold and dense but people still come to celebrate the new year. Couples kiss, and champagne is popped to inaugurate new beginnings. It’s a unique way to welcome the New Year. It is one of the most popular celebrations in the United States.

The United States of America is an exciting and culturally diverse country with many traditions. These traditions can be found all across the United States, which makes them great incentives for exploring new areas. No matter your age, there is an annual event in America that will resonate with you. You just need to do some research and book a flight.

Featured Image Credit: Anete Lusina; Pexels; Thank you!

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