Top 10 North American Festivals For Summer 2012 (PHOTOS)

Huffington Post Canada  |  By Posted: 05/09/2012 12:12 pm Updated: 05/11/2012 11:11 am

Calgarystampede
The Calgary Stampede is one festival you have to get to this summer.

This spring, Travelocity polled its staff travel experts to find out which top 10 North American festivals made their can’t-miss list for travelers in 2012.

While food and music festivals dominate, we were glad to see that the Calgary Stampede (celebrating its 100th anniversary this year) and the Montreal International Jazz Festival both made the list.

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  • Must-See Festivals This Summer

    All across North America, festivals take over parks and green spaces of cities, towns and farms. Some are devoted to food, others to music, still others are a combination of both. This year, Travelocity experts chose their favourites to inspire the rest of us to experience some of the best.

  • 1. Fiesta® - San Antonio, Texas (April 19 - 29)

    This 11-day family friendly festival is as rich in heritage as it is in events. Every year, this event gives back proceeds to benefit the San Antonio community, and this year marks the 121st Fiesta® in San Antonio with over 100 events including parades, competitions, food and events that honor veterans.

  • 2. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest - Memphis, Tenn. (May 17-19):

    As a part of the annual Memphis in May International Festival, Inc.℠ hundreds of barbecue aficionados gather to watch one of the largest barbecue contests worldwide as competition teams try their fate with the $110,000 prize. Guided tours to visit each competition team, barbecue tastings, concerts and a Ms. Piggie Idol contest are all a part of the fun.

  • 3. Portland Rose Festival - Portland, Ore. (May 20 - June 17):

    Stop and smell the roses - literally - at this rose-filled soiree. In 2010, the Portland Rose Festival was named 'Portland's Official Festival' and for more than 100 years, the festival has been a Portland tradition with its four parades and a three-weekend urban fair with entertainment, food and more.

  • 4. Atlanta Jazz Festival - Atlanta, Ga. (May 26-28)

    Jazz lovers looking for something to do Memorial Day Weekend needn't look any further. The infamous 30-something-year-old Atlanta Jazz Festival is free of cost for the public and puts harmonic music at the forefront as they invite jazz professionals from around the world to perform for attendees.

  • 5. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival - Manchester, Tenn. (June 7-10)

    More than 80,000 campers and 10 stages of music are what attract music fanatics to this Tennessee music festival spanned more than 700 acres. In addition, guests can enjoy an air-conditioned movie theatre, comedy theatre, arts and even a kids-friendly area.

  • 6. Food & Wine Classic in Aspen - Aspen, Colo. (June 15-17)

    This year marks the 30-year milestone for the legendary Food & Wine Classic in Aspen event filled with good wine, good food and, of course, good times. Foodies and wine enthusiasts alike will get to enjoy more events than ever this year including a concert, charity 5K and fireworks show in celebration of the 30th event, not to mention the usual famous chefs, tastings and expert panels.

  • 7. Summerfest - Milwaukee, Wis. (June 27-July 1; July 3-8)

    "The World's Largest Music Festival" charges into its 45th year with more than 700 bands over the 11-day period of the event. Picturesque Lake Michigan sets the scene for this music spectacular including concerts from headliners, up and comers and even local Milwaukee talent.

  • 8. Montreal International Jazz Festival - Montreal, Quebec, Canada (June 28-July 7):

    Past attendees have described the Montreal International Jazz Festival as one of the main reasons to visit Montreal and that there's nothing else quite like it. As the world's largest jazz festival according to the Guinness Book of World Records, this festival is definitely a sight to see with guests from 30 countries, 3,000 entertainers and 1,000 concerts and activities.

  • Stop this World - Diana Krall @Montreal Jazz Festival 2004

    Diana Krall - Live at Montreal Jazz Festival 2004

  • 9. Calgary Stampede - Calgary, Alberta, Canada (July 6 - 15)

    Every year, guests near and far flock to this annual event celebrating Alberta and its western heritage. This year marks the Centennial Calgary Stampede and in addition to its yearly 10-day rodeo, agriculture, parade, music events and more - the Centennial Calgary Stampede will be adorned in 100th anniversary cakes, have nightly celebration fireworks, merchandise and musical icons such as Garth Brooks, Paul Brandt and The Young Canadians.

  • The Calgary Stampede

    A look at the "greatest outdoor show on earth", Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Alberta.

  • 10. Taste of Chicago - Chicago, Ill. (July 11-15)

    For a taste of "The Windy City," travelers can partake in Chicago's largest yearly event filled with great-tasting food and more than 3 million guests. The five-day food extravaganza includes live music, entertainment and a "Humana Race to Taste" run for all adults and "Fleet Feet Sports Kids' Dash" for the kiddos.

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