Communities celebrate summer with unique local flair
Festival season ramps up this month as Memorial Day launches the unofficial start to summer, and cities and counties nationwide are throwing big events that celebrate the qualities that make their communities unique. Among the highlights, Albany, N.Y., celebrates its Dutch heritage Mother’s Day weekend with the Albany Tulip Festival; Little River, S.C., hosts the “World Famous” Blue Crab Festival May 19–20; and Portland, Ore., starts its weeks-long Rose Festival, an event city leaders started more than 100 years ago in an effort to brand the city the “Summer Capital of the World.”
Because summers can be sweltering in Texas, Mesquite started its celebration a little early by hosting the 6th annual “Real. Texas. Festival.” April 27–28. More than 30,000 attendees flocked to the city east of Dallas for two days of music, food and family fun.
The festival included the “Cowboys and Chrome” Car Show, a “Jalapeno Pepper Eating Contest,” the “Hooters Major League Eating-sanctioned Wing Eating Contest” and a “BBQ Cook-off.” Headline entertainment included Grammy-nominated country music artist Pat Green, indoor rodeo action and a midway. Children under 12 attended for free, and adults received a $5 discount off their tickets by bringing a can of food for Mayor John Monaco’s annual food drive. The drive raised more than 3,000 pounds of non-perishable food donations for two local food banks.