Mardi Gras - New Orleans

Although Mardi Gras is celebrated around the world, no one does it like New Orleans. Every year, more than 4 million people come to New Orleans from around the world to be part of what is often billed as the "greatest free party on Earth."

Mardi Gras came to New Orleans in 1699 through the French explorer Iberville. Early explorers celebrated this French Holiday on the banks of the Mississippi River. The city of New Orleans starts a variety of festivities in January that ends with Mardi Gras Day, or Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" and is celebrated on that day of the week. The date can occur between February 3 and March 9 (47 days before Easter Sunday). Visitors and residents participate in the parades and sometimes dress up in costumes while tossing beads. The official colors for Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. These colors were chosen in 1872 by the King of Carnival, Rex.

Fiesta San Antonio

It first began in 1891 and is one of this nation's premiere festivals and the biggest celebration in Texas. Fiesta San Antonio is a 10-day, city-wide, fun-filled, multi-cultural, family-oriented celebration. There are literally hundreds of Fiesta events all over San Antonio during the celebration, some of which draw a half-million or more people to a single area in a single night.

Pageant of the Masters

Pageant of the Masters is an annual favorite in southern California's Laguna Beach that takes place each night during the summer season. This festival features Ninety minutes of "living pictures," faithful recreations of famous classical and contemporary art works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces.

Tournament of Roses, Pasadena, California

The Tournament of Roses was first initiated in 1890 by members of Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club. Most floats are built by professional float-building companies and volunteers from sponsoring communities and approximately takes nearly a year to build. The shows takes place every New Year's morning where million of viewers and tourists enjoy the Rose Parade.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival

This is the most beautiful time of year to visit the nation's capital, when 3,000 Japanese cherry trees bloom and the fresh smell of spring is in the air. The Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in the spring each year, and the dates change depending on when they think peak blooming time will be.
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