Here’s just a sampling of some noteworthy – and sometimes offbeat – happenings across the globe over the next couple of months.
EUROPE By tradition a wave of the French tricolour launches this legendary Le Mans 24-Hour Race, known as the Grand Prix of Endurance, which has been run since 1923. Every year approximately 50 competitors draw huge crowds of spectators (the record attendance was 258,500 in 2008) as they race around the 13.65-km track. This year the race takes place 11 – 12 June.
Always conceived by the motoring industry as a real-life test laboratory for innovations and developments, the emphasis at Le Mans 24 has been on the ability of manufacturers to produce sporty, yet reliable and safe, cars. These technological innovations have had a trickle-down effect, with technology used at Le Mans finding its way into production cars several years later.
In the 1990s new regulations were introduced to increase the safety of this daunting test of endurance. Drivers are not allowed to drive for more than four hours consecutively, and no one driver can run for more than fourteen hours in total. This has reduced driver fatigue during the races. A rule that is unique to Le Mans is the requirement that the cars shut down when they are being re-fuelled in the pits. This reduces the fire hazard, but it also tests the ability of the cars to restart many times under race conditions.
The race is run on the Circuit of the Sarthe, which consists of both permanent, dedicated track and public roads that are temporarily closed for the race. Originally the track actually entered the town of Le Mans, but was cut short because of fears about spectator safety, leading to the creation of the Dunlop Curve and Tertre Rouge. The sections of the track that are on public roads are not as smooth or well maintained as the dedicated racetrack, and offer less grip to the racing cars. This is a challenging race that has entered motor sport folklore. If you are an enthusiast, go to Le Mans 2011 – there can be few more exciting spectating opportunities.
EUROPE The military parade and march-past known as Trooping the Colour, takes place on 11 June, and marks the official birthday of the Sovereign. It is a colourful event, replete with pageantry and tradition, and is a great favourite with visitors to London.
The troops taking place in the parade are fully trained, operational troops from the Household Division. The Queen’s Colour of a battalion of Foot Guards is ‘trooped’ (carried) through the ranks in front of the Sovereign. One colour is trooped each year, and five Household regiments – Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh rotate each year.
Over 1,400 officers and men take part in the parade, along with over 200 horses. There are over 400 musicians from ten bands and corps of drums. Some 113 words of command are spoken by the Officer in Command of the Parade. The ceremony has a long tradition, dating back to the 18th century when guards and sentries of the Royal Palaces were mounted daily on the Parade Ground by the Horse Guards building. The colours of the battalion were carried slowly through the ranks, so that the soldiers would learn to recognise the colours of their own regiment. In 1748 it was decreed that this parade would also mark the official birthday of the Sovereign. [member]
Since 1987 the Queen has attended the parade in a carriage; formerly, she attended on horseback, riding side-saddle and wearing the uniform of the regiment whose colour was being trooped. The parade route runs from Buckingham Palace, along Whitehall, and back again. As the clock on the Horse Guards building strikes 11.00, the Royal Procession arrives and the Queen takes the Royal Salute. After the parade the Royal Family take their places on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to watch an RAF flypast.
ASIA PACIFIC The annual festival of all things sweet, Chanthaburi Fruit and Good Festival, takes over Thung Na Choei for the whole month of May. Highlights include fruit floats, contests, agricultural exhibitions and the Princess Cup Dog Contest. The action kicks off with an impressively coloured parade.
King of the fruits is the durian, a delicacy that only grows in Thailand and Malaysia. Other fruits vying for attention inlcude the rambutan, mangosteen, longkong and jackfruit – making this event an absolute must-see for tropical fruit lovers!
The protagonist of this rambunctious event, the durian, is a hard and spiky-shelled fruit with a soft centre and a complex taste. You may never have heard of it, but it is very much sought-after in this part of the world, where there are literally dozens of different types and brands. You can even get durian-flavoured crisps…
MIDDLE EAST The Dubai International Dance Festival is a catalyst for the creation of new work and creative activity, with an education program and artistic collaborations with organizations throughout the UAE.
Held on 1 – 4 June at Madinat Theatre, Jumeirah Madinat, Dubai, the 4th Dubai International Dance Festival (DIDF) is the largest Dance event of the year in the region, featuring 3 days of performances, live entertainment, workshops, themed dance parties, dance competitions, guest DJs and more.
Managed by Familia Events Management, Dubai, DIDF 2011 will be bringing new artists, performances and projects from over 20 different countries to the Festival that have never set foot on Dubai soil, creating a unique platform for local and international dance enthusiasts – artists and audience alike. DIDF 2011 brings together and presents the best young performers and performing companies. It is a unique multi-arts event and has a reputation for attracting some of the finest young dance companies, classical dance academies, youth orchestras, bands and music ensembles from around the region and the world.
The festival will be attended by the single largest collection of music and dance enthusiasts, dancers, professionals, students and promoters ever congregated in Dubai.
EUROPE The much-photographed Golden Roof Challenge on 3 June has athletes jumping for joy each summer. Pole vaulters and long jumpers compete in the Golden Roof Challenge to see if anyone can leap as high as Innsbruck’s landmark shiny tiles. Gymnasts and entertainers keep onlookers entertained.
Every year the world’s elite compete in the pole vault and long jump (including Olympic, World and European champions) on a unique, 71 m long and 30-ton mobile construction front of the Golden Roof in Innsbruck and compete in a thrilling world championships qualification at the highest level for the coveted Golden roof shingles! Incomparable atmosphere in a historic setting, perfect pitch, great show and attractive, modern world-class sport on par with the world stars of athletics make this event for all ages at this unique – and all free of charge!
This year a special highlight is the competition between the leading nations in pole vault Germany and the United States! The 4 strongest jumpers of each nation should meet at the Golden Roof in a furious “Battle” and fight for the “Nordketten-Trophy”.
The long jump comes up with World and European champions and promises an unforgettable record hunt. Following the event is the after event party at the Casino in the relaxed atmosphere, where there is the opportunity to meet and greet with the top athletes.
NORTH AMERICA Every year on Quebec’s national holiday, 24 June, chefs from seven French-speaking cities get together to rustle up a giant french omelette. The Giant Omelette Get Together involves the cities of Abbeville, Bessieres and Frejus in France and Dumbea in New Caledonia as well as Granby – where, at various times of the year, people convene to cook enormous omelettes to share with the public.
The reason behind this extraordinary event is apparently because when Napoleon and his army were travelling through the south of France, they decided to rest for the night near the town of Bessieres. Napoleon feasted on an omelette prepared by a local innkeeper. This was such a culinary delight that he ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village to prepare a huge omelette for his army the next day.
Before the present-day event there is an elaborate parade and a knighting of the omelette chefs takes place. Then all the eggs are lobbed into one very large pan and sizzle away before becoming a delicious omelette, made with:
4 gallons onion tops
2 gallons parsley
1 ½ gallons cooking oil
6½ gallons milk
3 boxes salt
2 boxes black pepper
Tabasco sauce to taste!
Nowadays, the omelette is the symbol of a worldwide fraternity rich in friendship, tradition and cultural exchange, known as the Confrerie. So if you’re feeling a little peckish and fancy a rather extraordinary lunch, then head to Quebec on this summer’s day.
NORTH AMERICA Filling the sky above Bend, Oregon with hot-air balloons, the Northwest Community Balloons Over Bend Children’s Festival is a spectacular three-day family event taking place 4 – 6 July in Riverbend Park.
The balloons launch each morning and there is a Nightglow on the Saturday at dusk. As the sun sets at The Old Mill District, select balloons will be laid out in the Riverbend Park in the middle of the crowd and inflated. It’s an opportunity to get up close to the balloons or just to sit back and watch the balloons light up the sky. The nightglow gets into full swing with live music, the beer garden and all kinds of food being served.
The Children’s festival runs from 10am – 8pm on the Saturday with over 60 activities including face painting, bouncy houses, crafts and educational opportunities. The festival is free to the public, and activities range in cost from 1-3 tickets, with tickets costing $1 each. The Northwest Community Balloons Over Bend Children’s Festival is a beautiful event, bringing together businesses, tourists and families in a community celebration that has something for every generation and demographic to enjoy.
NORTH AMERICA Taking place 28 – 30 May, Taste of Cincinnati USA is held in downtown Cincinnati by The Downtown Council and the Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Association. Started in 1979, it is now the nation’s longest running culinary arts festival.
Taste of Cincinnati USA started as a one-day fest in Piatt Park, then known as Garfield Park, with approximately 5,000 attending the first event. The event expanded to two days in 1981, and in 1988 expanded to three days and moved to Central Parkway.
In 2007, the event was moved to Fifth Street to spotlight the $42-million renovation of Fountain Square and its underground parking garage, and to bring the event closer to Downtown’s luster of hotels, such as The Cincinnatian Hotel, the Garfield Suites Hotel, the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati, the Millennium Hotel Cincinnati, The Terrace Hotel and the Westin Hotel Cincinnati. Approximately 500,000 now attend the annual food extravaganza, making Taste one of the nation’s largest street festivals. Taste of Cincinnati USA was named Food Event of the Year for 1997 by Events Business News, the recognized authority of the special events business in the United States, selecting it out of 40,000 special events across the nation.
Taste of Cincinnati USA features more than 40 fine restaurants serving up delicious and delectable menu items. In the weeks leading up to Taste each year, menu items are previewed and judged for prestigious Best of Taste Awards. Taste of Cincinnati USA is also a music festival, with continuous live entertainment featuring local and national recording stars performing on multiple stages throughout the event.
ASIA PACIFIC Manly, popular for its spectacular golden beaches and sandstone headlands, attracts over 30,000 visitors for its annual outdoor Food & Wine Festival. In A Taste of Manly Food & Wine and Sustainability Festival which takes place on 4 – 5 June, Manly’s landmark restaurants showcase their fine range of international cuisines, from Asia to Europe, in association with Wineries from across New South Wales, providing their exclusive wine ranges. ‘The Grand Marquee’ Festival feature hosts a range of events throughout the day in the forecourt area outside Manly Council Chambers.
Integrated within the Food & Wine Festival, the Sustainability Fair invites you to learn about sustainable ways to live while enjoying food, entertainment and a fun, exciting atmosphere. Jazz bands and world music groups perform on the popular oceanfront stage. Roving bands and street performers, camel rides along the beach and an inexhaustible host of beach games complete the programme.
ASIA PACIFIC The Sawadee.com Regatta, Samui, is an annual event that takes place on the beautiful sundrenched island of Koh Samui from 30 May to 4 June 2011. For the tenth consecutive year, this leading lifestyle and sporting event attracts competitive and social sailors from around the world. The five-day regatta is one of Asia’s most glamorous sailing events and is also part of the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championships. Fabulous sailing conditions prevailed at the 2010 regatta — so much so that a round-the-island race was attempted for the first time in the event’s history. In addition to the competitive sailing, the Sawadee.com Regatta is about fun parties and is firmly established as a ‘must attend’ event on the international sailing circuit.
Headquarters for the event will again be the ‘Centara Grand Beach Resort’, which has been the home of the regatta since its conception and that welcomes crews from far and wide year after year. Spectator boats will provide a unique opportunity for members of the public to get ‘up close and personal’ with all of the ‘on-water’ sailing action. Public tickets will also be available for the legendary ‘off-water’ parties that occur most evenings during the regatta and that feature renowned bands and fabulous entertainment. In 2009, bright sunshine, blue skies and strong winds provided for excellent competitive sailing conditions. The regatta provides an ideal mix of Thai charm and world-class sailing, in a location that crews jump at the chance to return to year-after-year.
SOUTH AFRICA The annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is one of South Africa’s most popular festivals with huge appeal for sports lovers, families and those in search of a great party! This year celebrates the 27th festival on 1 -10 July with a jam-packed programme of sport, entertainment and the molluscs that made knysna famous-oysters.
The festival’s two main sporting events, the Pick n Pay Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon and the Pick n Pay Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour, will give participants the unique opportunity to run and cycle through the ancient indigenous forests of Knysna and experience the scenic beauty of the area.
Oyster-related events include the annual oyster-shucking (opening) competition, the ever-popular oyster eating competition and the Pick n Pay Oyster & Wine Mardi Gras – a fabulous evening of oysters and wine tasting. There’s a great programme for kids too – the Pick n Pay Young Oyster Festival includes youth theatre, puppet shows, creative art workshops and cooking courses. The Knysna Sport School Sports Fair will give kids the opportunity to try their hand at a variety of sports, free of charge.
ASIA PACIFIC From 10 – 13 June, more than 600 riders and drivers assemble in Alice Springs for the Tattersalls
Finke Desert Race, Australia’s premier off-road racing event. Five hundred kilometres of scrubby bush and red earth await in a helter-skelter race across the Australian outback.
Souped-up motorbikes and turbo-charged buggies with trampoline suspension scatter dust, rocks and unwary spectators. Engine blow-ups, flips, rollovers and crashes are commonplace. Freezing morning temperatures rapidly become fiery as the sun rises. This is not your typical Sunday morning drive, but it’s all worth it to be crowned King of the Desert. Bikes and buggies reach speeds of up to 170km/h as they follow a bumpy course along sections of the Old Ghan Railway service track, adjacent to the railway line, along a winding corrugated track, which snakes through typical outback terrain of red dirt, sand, spinifex, mulga and desert oaks. Spectators and support crew camp out before retracing their route the following morning. Believe it or not, much of the course is a public road. Don’t plan on heading into town to do your shopping on this weekend, though. The road is closed, and buggies and bikes have to average around 60km/h over the treacherous terrain to even make the second day’s return run. Many don’t make it.
In Alice Springs more than 12,000 people congregate to enjoy the “scrutineering”, the party atmosphere and the boisterous final presentation night. Join the party or try your luck, but don’t stand too close… www.finkedesertrace.com.au [/member]