July Culture Travel Guide

Ann Arbor Street Fair
Roam the streets ogling art by more than a thousand artists at the Ann Arbor Street Fair. (Dan Kier)

Ann Arbor, Michigan
In the heat of the summer, art fairs pop up in communities around the nation. Artists savor the opportunity to discuss their works with inquisitive people, put on demonstrations, and, of course, make a living. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, four juried art fairs run concurrently in mid-July and display works from more than 1,000 artists. The oldest of them, the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair began in 1960 and has received various awards for being one of the top art fairs in the country.

Monty Python alum, John Cleese, and "Seinfeld" cast member, Jason Alexander, represent just a few of the many well-known comedians who have done their shtick at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal. Others who have made appearances include Bill Cosby, who performed two performances at the intimate Place des Arts, and the cast of Women Fully Clothed, who sold out two full weeks. "Deal or No Deal" host Howie Mandel and the ever-popular John Pinette signed on for the 2007 festival, scheduled July 8 to 29.

Boston, Massachusetts
The young and extremely personable Keith Lockhart took over as conductor of the Boston Pops in 1995 and is so well-loved that he could easily rename the Pops the Keith Lockhart Orchestra. The Boston Pops are best known for their televised July 4th performance at the Esplanade. Get there early to save a seat on the grass and prepare to hear Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture while fireworks light up the Charles River.

Calgary, Alberta
Rodeo stars vie for more than $1.7 million in prize money at the Calgary Stampede, held mid-July. Other activities include chuckwagon horse races, concerts from rock stars including Bon Jovi and country singer Gretchen Wilson, drinking and eating all day and night, and an amusement park chock-full of rides for the entire family.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Started in 1940, the Aquatennial is a ten-day festival of water held the third week of July in Minneapolis. An ideal location, the Land of 10,000 Lakes hosts a slew of water-related activities, from waterskiing to milk carton boat racing to the sand castle competition. Then there's the flotilla of 20,000 rubber ducks, street dancing, a fireworks display, and a beauty contest to crown the Queen of the Lakes.

Gilroy, California
Like many of America's finest food festivals, annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, held mid-July, celebrates a popular ingredient. California produces 90 percent of America's garlic and most of it grows within a 90-mile radius of Gilroy. Wander through the culinary heart of the festival, known as Gourmet Alley. Here, local chefs cook garlic calamari over a blazing fire pit, along with garlic bread, garlic ice cream, and other garlic-laced delicacies. Garlic cooking utensils can be found at the arts and crafts booths. If you tire of garlic and feel like shopping, there's an array of outlet stores nearby.

Dublin, Ireland
Hopefully, you have a good friend in Dublin who can find you a ticket to Ireland's Oxegen, because the event sells out in record time. The greatest rock 'n' roll weekend of the year, held in early July, features an all star line-up whose past performers have included Snow Patrol, Goo Goo Dolls, James Morrison, Amy Winehouse, The Saw Doctors, Cagedbaby, and Interpol.

Montreux, Switzerland
Since its inception in 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival has featured some of the all-time greats in jazz, soul, and rock, including Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, and Sting. An international event held each year in Switzerland, less than an hour from the Geneva International Airport, Montreux is located at the foot of the Alps on the shores of Lake Geneva. Not a bad place to savor good music.

Tour de France
Lance Armstrong may no longer be competing, but the Tour de France still reigns supreme as the premier bike event in the world. In July, the arduous bike ride crosses mountains, valleys, and cities as it snakes around France in 3360 long kilometers. Catch Stage 9 in the mountain towns of Val-d'Isere and Briancon if you want to see the bikers struggle up the Alps.(www.letour.fr)

Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at farandaway@comcast.net.

Published: 4 May 2007 | Last Updated: 8 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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