Photo by Roland Berger via Wikimedia Commons 2. National Finals Rodeo. This week-long, Wild West event, held annually in Las Vegas, combines the best of rodeo skills with the traditional attractions of this popular desert oasis. The event, held the first week of December at the Thomas and Mack Center, pits the top 15 rodeo contestants in the world in steer wrestling, bareback riding, team roping, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing and bull riding. However, the rodeo isn’t just about the competitions. Some of the best names in country music are on hand to perform and the people-watching is unparalleled. The 2013 dates are December 5-14. Photo by Mike Copeman via Wikimedia Commons 3. Australia’s Mango Festival. The Broome Mango Festival, in the northwestern Australian city of the same name, is held the last full weekend in November each year. The festival features abundant mango foods and cocktails as well as a Mango quiz night and a Mango cook-off. Proceeds from the event, produced by the local Lions Organization, go to help Broome community charities. Photo by USDA via Wikimedia Commons Although traveling in Australia is generally very safe, security and identity theft are valid concerns wherever you travel. Avoid identity theft by signing up for credit alerts and advanced Internet monitoring from a company like LifeLock. 4. King’s Birthday. The entire country of Thailand turns out to celebrate the king’s birthday on December 5, and visitors are invited to join in on the festivities. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who will turn 86 in 2013, is the world’s longest reigning monarch, having ascended to the throne in 1946. The day is a national holiday in Thailand, and thousands of citizens congregate outside of the Grand Palace in Bangkok with flags and royal insignia to show their support as well as listen to the king’s short speech, participate in the national candle-lighting ceremony and watch the fireworks. Photo by OzMark17 via Flickr 5. Alaska Bald Eagle Festival. The American Bald Eagle Festival, held in the Alaskan town of Haines, celebrates America’s national bird with a photography contest, live raptor demonstrations, lectures and tours of the Alaska Bald Eagle Preserve, home to nearly 4,000 eagles. Now in its 19th year, the event bills itself as the largest gathering of bald eagles in the world. The 2013 dates are November 11-17. Photo by Saffron Blaze via Wikimedia Commons
5 Fun November and December Festivals Around the Globe
November and December offer travelers dozens of fun festivals all over the globe. Not only are their fewer crowds in the fall and winter, but the weather is crisp and cool, ideal for sightseeing. If you’re considering a winter getaway, below are five festivals you’ll want to make sure to consider when making your travel plans. 1. Nuremburg Christmas Market. Christmas markets abound all over Germany in December. However, few compare to the extravaganza at Nuremburg. The “Chriskindlesmarkt,” which sets up in the city’s central market square (haupmarkt) features more than 200 vendors, offering everything from fruit cakes to Christmas ornaments. There’s also an adjacent children’s market. The 2013 dates are November 29 through December 24.