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USA Calendar of Events - 2016

January 1, Rose Bowl Parade

The Rose Bowl in Pasadena California draws hundreds of thousands of spectators and is televised across the USA. New Years day is traditionally the time for the great college football playoff matches and the most famous is held in this suburb of Los Angeles. The Rose Bowl football match is preceded by a magnificent parade featuring spectacular floats constructed exclusively out of flowers and flower petals. www.tournamentofroses.com

January 21 - January 31, Sundance Film Festival

This US version of the Cannes Film Festival features some of the finest new and experimental works by young filmmakers. It is held in Park City, Utah. www.festival.sundance.org

February 7, Super Bowl Sunday

The grand championship playoff match of the National Football League, is always held in one of the southern USA sun-belt cities or in a large indoor football arena. This year it is in Indianapolis, Indiana and will feature a playoff match between the two top football teams plus spectacular entertainment including a performance by Madonna. Tickets are extremely hard to get and usually cost over $1000 per seat. Most people across the USA are satisfied to attend a local Super Bowl Party where they can eat and drink with their friends while cheering for their favorite team. www.superbowl.com

February 1 – 9, Mardi Gras in New Orleans

The last weeks prior to the solemn religious season of Lent is normally marked by a frenetic party in New Orleans, Louisiana. The celebration begins about a week before and continues with grand parades, entertainment and nightly parties escalating through the last weekend and culminating with a final blast on "Fat Tuesday", Feb 21. www.mardigrasneworleans.com

February 11 - April 1, Spring Break in Florida

Universities and colleges across the USA normally give their students a break from classes during this period. Hundreds of thousands of the students flock to Florida for wild orgies of beach partying. Favorite destinations are Daytona Beach and Panama Beach. www.daytonabreak.com and www.visitpanamacitybeach.com

February 21, Daytona 500 Race

This famous auto racing classic is the first major racing event of the NASCAR season with its 500 mile race in sunny Dayton Beach Florida. The equally popular Las Vegas Nascar race will be held on March 11. www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com

March 7-26, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

A month-long extravaganza of country music entertainment, livestock exhibits and traditional rodeo competition in the great state of Texas. www.hlsr.com

March 13, Calle Ocho Festival Miami Florida

This ethnic street fair is held on Eighth Street at the heart of "Little Havana" in Miami Florida. It features a huge variety of festivities including latin entertainment, an array of ethnic foods and open-air street markets. The Calle Ocho festival has become the largest Hispanic heritage festival in the USA and usually ends with the largest open-air dance party in the USA. www.carnavalmiami.com

March 17, Saint Patrick's Day

This day of commemoration for the patron saint of Ireland is an occasion for celebration among all Irish Americans. Every US city with a substantial Irish American population will have a grand parade and an evening of revelry and drink. New York City and Boston have the largest and most renown celebrations.

April 1 - April 30, Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Every year in April the Skagit Valley in Washington state blooms with fields of Tulips. Flower lovers gather to walk through the fields, buy bulbs and welcome the spring weather. The vivid rows of flowers can span as far as the eye can see. At the nurseries you can see some rare and unique breeds. www.tulipfestival.org

April 28 - 30, Gathering of Nations Indian Powwow

Gathering of Nations Indian Powwow is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This largest gathering of Native American tribes features a fantastic array of Indian culture including drumming, dancing, singing and story telling. Many Native American tribes will be represented by singers and dancers dressed in traditional dance attire and performing their unique dances and songs. www.gatheringofnations.com

May 6, Kentucky Derby Horse Race

The 137th annual running of the Kentucky Derby horse race will be held at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville Kentucky. Culminating a week of festivities, this horse race attracts an immense crowd for a grand weekend party. www.kentuckyderby.com

May 13 - August 13, Fiesta Noche del Rio

Fiesta Noche del Rio is a summer outdoor performance on the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas featuring the songs and dances of Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Texas. www.fiestanochesa.com

May 27 - June 12, Spoleto Festival

This Spoleto Festival is the U.S. counterpart to an annual festival in Spoleto, Italy. Hosted by Charleston, South Carolina, is a mix of dance, theater, opera, music, and the visual arts. www.spoletousa.org

May 29, Indianapolis 500-mile Race

The Indianapolis 500 will be held at the historic Indianapolis, Indiana Speedway. This is the premier race for the specially designed high-speed racing vehicles known as the Indy Racing Machines. Pre-race action begins on the preceding two weekends with the main event on Sunday attracting several hundred thousand spectators. Tickets cost between $50 and $150 for reserved seating. Camping is available at some of the parking lots. www.indy500.com

July 29 - 31, Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

The annual Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America. The three-day event at Solberg Airport in Readington, NJ, is the premier family entertainment event in the Northeast. Located halfway between New York and Philadelphia, the Festival fits in perfectly with any sightseeing trips to Manhattan or historic Philly, as well as being a must-do event for anyone wanting to enjoy the magic of ballooning.

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August 8 - 14, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The little cowboy town of Sturgis in the Black Hills of South Dakota expands its population by many times as several hundred thousand motorcycle riders congregate for a weeklong party. This is the premier event for Harley Davidson motorcycle riders and many thousands of classic HD motorcycles and custom "choppers" can be seen cruising on main street. www.sturgis.com

August 28 - September 5, Burning Man Festival

The isolated barren Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada will once again sprout its perennial fantasy metropolis of Black Rock City. This huge counter-culture event usually features a full-blown city of improbable structures, fascinating art installations and strange events that attract thousands of participants and spectators at one of the wildest and most imaginative happenings in the USA. www.burningman.com

October 1 - 9, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Every October the skies of Albuquerque, New Mexico fill with the vibrant colors of hot air balloons. Festival guests can witness various competitions including races and a special shape rodeo. Balloon rides are available for those who want to get their feet off the ground. www.balloonfiesta.com

October 31, Halloween

Children all across the USA dress in costumes and prowl their neighborhoods seeking candy treats while many cities and towns host costume parades. The best parades are found in New York City's Greenwich Village and in San Francisco where the large gay communities turn out in elaborate and outlandish costumes.

November 24, Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is truly an American holiday. Families and friends gather on this day for a feast and to give thanks for the blessings in their lives. Macy's department store in New York City hosts a huge parade to mark the beginning of the yearly Christmas shopping season. It has enormous tethered balloons of famous cartoon characters, marching bands and entertainers. This is one of the largest and most famous parades in the USA. www.social.macys.com/parade2009

December 1 - December 10, National Finals Rodeo

Las Vegas Nevada hosts the grand championship of professional rodeo competition. The best professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls compete for cash prizes and grand championships in traditional rodeo sports. www.nfrexperience.com

December 31, New Years Eve parties

There will be New Years Eve parties all across the USA, but the most famous celebration occurs in Times Square of New York City where hundreds of thousands of revelers gather in the frigid outdoors to welcome the New Year. Las Vegas also hosts a huge party with its outdoor celebration and fireworks display on the famous Las Vegas Strip. Another favorite spot to celebrate is at Disney World in Orlando Florida. www.timessquarenyc.org

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Photo Description: American Football