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Fanfare and festivals

Courtesy Macon International Cherry Blossom Festival

Macon International Cherry Blossom Festival
Macon, Georgia
[ March 15-24 ]

Attracting more than 300,000 visitors each year, the annual Macon International Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates both community spirit and the blossoming of the city’s 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees. This 10-day festival features more than 500 events — 80 percent of which are free — where groups can gaze at giant hot-air balloons, cheer on a parade or fireworks display, tour local historic spots and catch a thrill on the amusement rides.

“The festival features nightly concerts with top recording artists from every musical genre,” said Rebecca Harris, director of development and marketing for the festival. “From fashion shows and gala balls to dancing in the streets, the festival features fun and adventure under the beautiful canopy of a pink cotton-spun paradise.”

Macon has been referred to by the Congressional Record as the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World, and for 10 days, festivalgoers can experience the beauty of these blooms along with tons of great family-appropriate events.

Denton Arts and Jazz Festival
Denton, Texas
[ April 26-28 ]

Celebrating its 33rd year of live music and local art, the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival is queuing up for another successful year of celebrating culturally diverse music and art. More than 2,700 musicians, artists and performers go to Denton during the last week of April to attract a whopping crowd of around 200,000 people at this free, two-and-a-half-day event.

Tradition has it that Denton-born band Brave Combo ends the festival on Sunday night, but each year the headliners change throughout the seven stages — six outdoor, one indoor — amidst performances by the University of North Texas’ acclaimed One O’Clock Lab Band and pop-up shows by the 50 to 100 roving musicians in attendance.

“For actual tour buses we have meal vouchers and a designated VIP area close to the main stage that’s set aside for them so when they come in they have a specific place where the group can go and sit,” said Dana Lodge, director of sales for the Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Otherwise, it’s a bring-your-own-lawn-chair/bring-your-own-blanket kind of festival. There are at least seven stages with all types of different music genres so people can choose what they want to listen to. Then, of course, we have all the artisans that have everything from jewelry to pottery to artwork, so there really is something for everybody at the festival.”

Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup
Custer, South Dakota
[ Sept. 28-Oct. 3 ]

Made up of multiple events stuffed into one jam-packed weekend, the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup has something for everyone to enjoy. For the foodie, there are chili and Dutch oven cook-offs, along with tons of fantastic food vendors; for the shoppers and art-lovers, there are more than 150 vendors selling fine arts and crafts, including many local South Dakota-made products; and, of course, for the cowboy or cowgirl, there is the buffalo roundup.

Next year marks the 48th annual roundup, where visitors can expect to see, feel and hear the thunder of more than 1,300 bison stampeding over the 71,000-acre state park.

“The festival provides a great sense of the Wild West, showcasing what frontier life at its finest is like,” said Katlyn Richter, film and media relations representative for the South Dakota Department of Tourism. “The bison are rounded up to maintain a healthy balance between the number of bison and the available rangeland forage. Once the bison are in the corrals, the park staff sorts out 300 animals to be sold, brands the new calves and checks cows for pregnancy. Watching the roundup is, of course, the highlight of the entire weekend.”