Big Thrills at Big Events This Week

This week, some of the biggest events all year are taking place. Now I want to be clear that huge attendance doesn’t necessarily mean a better event but, this week the events highlighted are really terrific. If you don’t like crowds, you might want to reconsider attending any of them. However if really you want great events that electrify and ignite their community, you are in luck.

Two of the “Top 100” of all events are taking place this weekend; The Kentucky Derby Festival and Memphis In May. These events are more a series of events that fall under the umbrella of one title. Two weeks ago, I talked about Thunder Over Louisville as the unofficial kick-off to the Kentucky Derby Festival and this week we are going to see the full festival culminate with the 138th Run for the Roses on Saturday. In addition this week we begin the month long celebration known as Memphis in May. That leaves plenty of time and opportunities to visit and enjoy. It also means great food (as we all know a personal favorite of mine) as Memphis in May has one of the very best BBQ competitions all year.

There is the first in another series of events kicking off this week as well; The Savannah Tall Ships Challenge. This is the kick-off event to the Atlantic Tall Ships Challenge which begins in Savannah and ends in Halifax. You certainly will want to check to see if it is coming anywhere near you on it’s summer long journey up the East Coast of the U.S.. It is expected that over 3.5 million projected viewers well eventually see the ships. I bet they all show up the day I go and I won’t be able to find a parking space.

And finally, no first weekend in May would be complete without at least mentioning that this is Cinco de Mayo. In that regard there are a whole bunch of celebrations going on and I have chosen 4 of them to highlight here. No special reason other than I thought you might like them. I have a feeling if you attend any Cinco de Mayo festival anywhere that you will like it very much.

Also up this week are May Fair in Harvard Square in Cambridge MA, Old Pecan Street Arts Festival in Austin TX,  Isle of 8 Flags Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach FL, Springfest in Ocean City MD, Sunfest in West Palm Beach FL, Cherry Point Air Show in NC and Towsontown Springfest in Towson MD. That was a mouthful wasn’t it? But seriously, any of these would be a fabulous way to spend your time.

All of the events this week have projected attendance numbers in the 6 figures. If the weather cooperates, you are in for some really great moments to share with family, friends or your significant other. If nothing on this list is in your area, please use the search box above to find great things to do in your own backyard.

MCAS Cherry Point Air Show

May 04, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC US 28533

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point is getting ready to host nearly 150,000 of its closest friends and neighbors at the Cherry Point Air Show. This 3 day show will showcase aviation at its best with the highlight being a demonstration by the United States Naval Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels!
150,000 Attendees


May 02, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Flagler Drive West Palm Beach, FL US 33401

Since 1983, SunFest has featured a variety of music, art and waterfront activities. More than 50 concerts by national recording artists and local musicians cover all genres including rock, pop, Latin, RandB, jazz, reggae, country and blues. Other attractions include family activities, a fine art and craft show, pedal boats, three floating waterfront barges, two food courts and one of the East Coast’s largest fireworks displays.
300,000 Attendees

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

May 04, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Downtown Fernandina Beach, FL US 32034

Since 1964, the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival features a fine arts and crafts show with over 300 award winning artists and craftspeople from around the nation offering first rate creations in watercolor, acrylics, oils, sculpture, clay, metal, wood and fiber. Photography, pottery, plants, jewelry, baskets, glass and more. The antiques festival offers an excellent showing of fine antiques and unique collectibles. The music festival features regional acts and local entertainment with something for the entire family includes, jazz, pop, rock, beach music, folk, country and big band. The food festival features shrimp and seafood dishes abound – all prepared with local flair and flavor. At the waterfront festival see the Pirates as they invade the festival, plus the Blessing of the Fleet, best decorated shrimp boat, fun zone geared toward the younger crowd, pirate contest and more.
150,000 Attendees

Cinco De Mayo Festival

May 04, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Tom McCall Waterfront Park Portland, OR US 97204

Since 1985, celebrate Mexican culture and heritage with children’s area, children’s stage, artisans village, amusement rides, 3 stages of live entertainment, storytelling, Mariachi Mass, Naturalization ceremony and more. Different days feature different activities, check website for complete schedule.
300,000 Attendees

Towsontown Spring Festival

May 05, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Downtown Business Area Towson, MD US 21204

Since 1967, over 400 exhibitors, 4 stages with continuous entertainment, ethnic foods, crafts, displays, antique auto display and juried art show.
200,000 Attendees

San Francisco Cinco De Mayo

May 07, 2012

Mission Dolores Park San Francisco, CA US 94102

Since 1995. Parade and festival celebrating Mexican heritage and history. This community-based cultural heritage event celebrates the self-determination of the indigenous people of Mexico with live musical entertainment, dancing, food, children’s activities and more.
275,000 Attendees

Old Town Fiesta Cinco de Mayo

May 04, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park San Diego, CA US 92110

Since 1984, Old Town Cinco de Mayo presented by Corona and Corona Light will be going all out in 2012 by closing down the entire Historic Old Town area and transforming the streets into the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration north of the border. This free Fiesta will feature three stages with live entertainment, over 40 bands, traditional ballet folklorico dancers, Lucha Libre performances, equestrian shows, a Mercado with over 100 retail and food booths, beer garden and Lowrider Lane! There will be something for everyone including a Children’s Area complete with fun carnival rides and games, entertainment, stage coach rides provided by Wells Fargo and an array of interactive activities and learn about the history behind this beloved holiday. After so much excitement, appease your appetite by visiting over 15 delicious restaurants to enjoy zesty food and quench your thirst with Margaritas and Corona and Corona Light specials. Cinco de Mayo only lands on a Saturday every 6 years so don’t be left out this year as we celebrate this three-day grand fiesta.
100,000 Attendees


May 03, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Inlet Lot Ocean City, MD US 21843

Springfest celebrates spring and the upcoming summer season. It is four dynamic days of delicious food, live entertainment and unique arts and crafts under four huge big top tents located in the Inlet Lot at the south end of Ocean City’s famous Boardwalk. Springfest serves up a continuous variety of musical performances on two stages. Admission to the four day event is free! All entertainment is free with the exception of the headline acts. The Springfest Express offers direct service for festival attendees traveling from the Roland E. Powell Convention Center to the Inlet.
150,000 Attendees

Toad Suck Daze

May 04, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Downtown Conway, AR US 72032

Since 1982, features toad jumps, arts, crafts, musical entertainment, carnival rides, kiddie korner, melodrama, antique car show, concessions, toad tales, pet show, softball and 5K and 10K run, street dance, horseshow tournament and 5k and 10k runs. Also takes place on Front Street, Parkway Street, Main Street and Locust Street.
150,000+ Attendees

Kentucky Derby – Run for the Roses

May 05, 2012

Churchill Downs Louisville, KY US 40208

Since 1875, the most prestigious horse race in America and is the first jewel of the Triple Crown. Race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds is run over a 1 1/4 mile distance.
142,000 Attendees

Beale Street Music Festival

May 04, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Tom Lee Park Memphis, TN US 38103

Since 1977, one of the signature events in the month long Memphis in May International Festival. Three days long, it’s Mid-Americas party on the river at the foot of world famous Beale Street. Come out and dance, eat and listen to great music along the banks of the mighty Mississippi.
140,000 Attendees

May Fair in Harvard Square

May 06, 2012

Harvard Square Cambridge, MA US 02138

Since 1984. The neighborhood’s usual cast of artisans, street performers, vendors, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs will be taxed by offerings including art attacks, dance distractions, renegade clowns and entertainment on six separate stages.
150,000 Attendees

Old Pecan Street Spring Arts Festival

May 05, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Downtown Austin, TX US 78701

Since 1979, the Old Pecan Street Fall Arts Festival has been filling historic 6th street with fine arts, live music, and great food. This event has helped Austin achieve its title as live music capital of the world with its over 80 musical performance for two days on 6 stages. That’s the most bands you can see for free in Austin at anytime. Music includes: Rock, Country, Blues, Latino, Tejano, Oldies, Irish, Blue Grass, Zydeco, Funk, and more. Also this festival has helped Austin achieve its title as cultural Mecca of the world 2003. We have hand made arts and crafts from all over the country by 300 different vendors. This event also includes a carnival for the kids, street performers, face painters, clowns, and other activities that make it fun for the entire family.
300,000 Attendees

Cinco De Mayo

May 05, 2012 – May 06, 2012

Civic Center Park Denver, CO US 80204

Since 1988, festival features Folkloric dances performed by children, piñata making, Cinco de Mayo poster contest, storytelling, parade with colorful floats, Mariachi performances and Spanish colonial folkart exhibits, arts and crafts booths, food, beer garden and great music.
500,000+ Attendees

Maria can be reached directly at or visit her website at
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