Biggest Annual Gatherings
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America’s Biggest Annual Gatherings (Fall Winter and Spring)

September 13, 2018 Nency Willims 0Comment

The United States is known for its buoyant spirit and every region has its own traditions. However, few annual events are universally adored. Many visitors plan their trips to coincide with these events. Here are a few of our favorite US festivals and holidays to inspire your next adventure:

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is a pilgrimage. It is the world’s most prestigious international ballooning event. The balloon fiesta is organized in a park covering 365 acres that launches over 700 balloons and 1000 pilots from over 50 countries making it the greatest ballooning event on earth. The event is organized early in October in Albuquerque. The city fulfills some great ballooning requirements known as the “Albuquerque Box” which is an ideal combination of weather, geography and gorgeous sunny days and cool mornings, perfect for a takeoff.  Shimmering colors against sunshine in New Mexico’s bright blue skies is a sight never to be forgotten. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is the most photographed event on the planet.

When: 6 Oct 2018 – 14 Oct 2018

Crowd: 1 Million in 217

Nearest Airport: Albuquerque, NM (ABQ

Austin City Limits ACL Music Festival  

ACL turns Austin into a live music capital. The event has developed quite a reputation for itself and as a result, the crowd has multiplied over the years. This is evident in the Texan city’s motto – “Keep Austin Weird.” ACL has the option of attending one of the two weekends with each one having its own perks.

Austin City Limits is a great fest of Sounds, styles and genres cross-fading to create a sonic beauty. ACL hosts some of the biggest names in music each year, making it difficult for the audience to choose between seeing Chance the Rapper or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Popular performers include names such as Paul McCartney, Metallica, Arctic Monkeys, Travis Scott.

Walking among the mammoth crowd feels like drowning in a sea of humanity. Flags, balloons, signs on fishing poles and dancing skeletons are the ways to get spotted by your peers amongst thousands in the crowd.

ACL wristband is very hard to procure also, one has to be on their mailing list to get a notification of sales opening day, tickets sell out within minutes on Aclfest.com. Sale of this wristband on resale websites sell for nearly $400 and a three-day wristband can reach nearly $1000 during desperate times.

The estimated impact to Austin’s economy is of $277.4 million.

When: (5 oct 2018 – 14 oct 2018)

Crowd: Approximately 450,000 people each year

Nearest Airport: Austin, TX (AUS / KAUS) 

Great American Beer Festival (GABF)

Say cheers with a Commemorative tasting cup at country’s preeminent beer festival – GABF the granddaddy of all U.S. beer festivals that has over 800+ breweries participating with 4,000+ beers ready to be served to tasters and connoisseurs. The event goes on for three days at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Sample some of the rarest beers paired with amazing food in a privately judged competition with small bites prepared by celebrated chefs amidst the spectacular view of the Rockies which will make the whole experience simply enchanting.

When: September 20th to 22nd

Crowd: 60,000

Nearest Airport: Denver International Airport (DEN).

Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is the largest independent film festival in the United States that serves as Utah’s major tourist attractions taking place in the Park City, Utah. It is a program of the Sundance Institute and takes place in Park City, Utah, each year. The festival showcases the perfect of local and international indie filmmakers. It reviews thousands of independent films from world over in every language known to man. The event is a great entertainer for film lovers who love innovation and offbeat stuff. There are also panel discussions at Director’s Speak to enjoy!

When: Thursday, 24 January to Sunday, 3 February

Crowd: 125,000 in 2018

Nearest Airport: Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)

Super Bowl Sunday

Held once a year, the two top American football teams square off amidst a huge turnout of fanfare that goes simply crazy over it. This sought-after National Football League (NFL) event is the highest level of professional American football in the world.

The events big draw are the halftime entertainments that has seen artists like Beyoncé or Madonna perform over. The event is so popular that tickets can go up to $4,000 per seat! Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial holiday in the United States and every pub or restaurant shows this game. It’s wonderful to see Americans at their patriotic best. Two weeks of hype, parties and other events leading up to it have turned Super Bowl into a spectacle and is ranked at par with Olympics, Oscars or Grammys.

When: February 3

Crowd: 1,055,000 attendances

Nearest Airport: Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)

Louisiana: Mardi Gras Carnival

Mardi Gras Carnival celebrations begin after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany marked by an event where the streets are filled with people parading on the streets of New Orleans. They are organized by private social clubs which select new themes each year. These themes are mostly a spoof on European aristocracy and are usually historical, mythological or satirical in nature. The New Orleans area has more than 60 parades happening, Louisiana has many more throughout south Louisiana. Marching between the crowd are the local bands, dance troupes, clowns amidst flaming torches.

The event brings a good amount of revenue to New Orleans. Hotels alone take in $56 million over the 12-day event.

There are many exclusive Mardi Gras travel deals and special discounts on flights at the time of the event from all major cities.

Crowd: Over 1.2 million

When: 6 Jan 2019 – 5 Mar 2019

Nearest Airport: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

SXSW Music Festival

The chill of the peaceful town gets all hyped up with a frenzy mood as thousands of people descending into Austin in March. The massive indie festival is known as SXSW – South by Southwest lasts extensively from March 9-18. This is more than just a music festival; an annual convergence of media, film, and music, SXSW performances are spread across multiple venues throughout Austin, Texas. Music badge comes for around $1,125.

There are over around 2000 performing artists, with conference lasting for 10 days along with SXSW interactive introducing new ideas and creative tech, music and film concurrently run for nine days. Comedy and gaming components of the festival have been gaining quite a popularity. John Mayer, James Blunt were musicians who were discovered here and they made it to the mainstream. The show is a widely popular event screened live on Facebook.

There are ample special flights and last minute deals for the SXSW fest available each year. There are hundreds of deals on Flights available to Austin Las Vegas, New York City, Miami, San Francisco.

When: Friday 8 March to 17 March 2019

Crowd: 70,000 registered attendees came 2018

Nearest Airport: Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA)

Masters Golf Tournament

Golf fans around the world have this tournament on their bucket list as this is one of the major events in professional golf, an epic show of skills and sportsmanship. It is held at the Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia every year. The tournament is so popular that attendees have to enter a ‘lottery’ to secure a ticket to the event and it’s hard to attend on the fly by while you are on a tour.

The Average resale price for a ticket to the final round of the 2017 Masters is $1,366. Augusta golf course’s two richest well-known members are Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Cheap flights to Augusta bush field starts from $150

Crowd: 250,000

When: 11 Apr 2019 – 14 Apr 2019

Nearest Airport: Augusta Bush Field Airport (AGS)

World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

The 2018 Memphis in May brought tens of thousands of visitors to the city. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is a celebration to American obsession to barbecue. It is a part of the month-long Memphis in May fest. If you love food, fun and southern hospitality then a stop at the world championship barbecue cooking contest in Tennessee is a must which is held in Tom Lee Park, Memphis. More than 250 teams compete for the right to be called the grand champion, for a prize money of $100,000 and an oversized trophy; competing in a variety of event ranging from anything but pork. It’s about the perfect sauce, best-baked beans, perfect booze, tons of private parties, cook-offs all gathered together on the Mississippi River. Walking in a row that stretches for more than a mile is a treat in itself amidst a great neighborhood setting. With music, food and a lively atmosphere, this event makes it the perfect food festival in America.

Over 94,000 of the month-long festival’s attendees came from more than fifty miles outside the greater Memphis area and brought $111.9M Impact to Memphis earning in 2018.

Whether you are a professional or just a fan of barbecue, the sight, smoke and scent of this barbecue festival is sure to rev up your pallet.

There are hundreds of flights to Memphis and all popular airlines serve multiple flights from popular destinations like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and Seattle.  

Crowd: Contest Attendance: 63,721. Visitors outside Shelby County: 35,556.

When: May 15, 2019

Nearest Airport: Memphis International Airport (MEM), Newport Municipal Airport (ONP)

South Dakota: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Mecca of motorcycle enthusiasts happens in South Dakota each year where over 500,000 riders from all over the country merge every August, a must visit for bike lovers, concert fanatics, street-food enjoyers riding the scenic country. Sturgis’s biker bars are world-known and highly recommended. The event raises the population of South Dakota by 50% and brings in an estimated $800 million boost to the economy.

All popular airlines like Delta, United, JetBlue, Frontier, American Airline serve flights to Sturgis with special routes organized by some airlines during this season. Flights start as economical as $176 from Mississippi to Rapid airport.

When: 2019 – August 2nd – 11th    

Crowd: 460,000

Nearest Airport: Rapid City

These are just a few of the iconic American events that take place each year and attract a mammoth crowd. There’s a lot to be explored in these events that serve a lifetime experience. If you are keen to have your trip coincide with an annual event then get in touch with us to make the perfect and cheapest reservation with a price guarantee that no one else can beat. Get in touch with our reservations team to learn more about all the possible options to fly to any of these events.

Nency Willims

Nency Willims is a writer whose words are fueled by the inspiration she gains from her surroundings. She also loves cooking, dancing and most of all traveling. She is a regular contributor to many acclaimed travel magazines and blogs. When she is not writing or traveling, you can often find her meddling with her guitar.
Nency Willims

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