Mardi Gras, Notting Hill, Pride, Oktoberfest – we all know about the biggest and best carnivals in the world. At Travangelo, however, we can’t resist something a little quirkier. If you fancy doing something a little bit different on your travels, take a look at some of our favourite weird and wonderful festivals and carnivals around the world, all of which take place in July. Plan a sneaky last-minute trip, or get planning for next year to make sure you don’t miss out on any of these fabulous – if slightly baffling – events.
Festa del Redentore 2017 – The Redeemer’s Feast
Where: Venice, Italy
When: 15th July 2017
Venice’s Festa del Redentore (The Redeemer’s Feast) dates back to the mid-16th Century. Originally a celebration of the end of the plague, the traditional fiesta is a stunning showcase of traditional Italian culture. The festival starts with a traditional Mass; gondola parades, gala dinners, large-scale al-fresco dining and street acts culminate in a spectacular pyrotechnic display, the fireworks lighting up the Venetian night to dramatic effect.
Not surprisingly, accommodation and dining opportunities sell out fast – book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Hemingway Days – Florida
Where: Florida Keys, USA
When: July 18th – 23rd 2017
Ernest Hemingway lived on Key West Island for a decade and was a much-loved character at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where he would spend his time talking to the clientele and downing daiquiris. Unsuspecting tourists may be a little dazzled as hundreds of bearded men head to the island for the annual look-alike competition; even those in the know are likely to be equal measures disconcerted and comforted by the sight of hundreds of “papas” wondering the streets.
Make sure you get a programme of events: the festival includes a host of activities, designed to pay homage to Hemingway’s predilections, including: a Running of the Bulls, complete with fake bulls; a Blue Marlin fishing tournament (serious stuff – the cash prizes run into 6 figures); tours of Hemingway’s home and studio; a play about the writer’s life; and, of course, wrestling.
World Body-Painting Festival
Where: Carinthia, Austria
When: July 28th – 30th 2017
In its 20th year, the World Body-Painting Festival does, we admit, sound downright odd. However, it is much more than a bit of face painting. Artists from around the world come to showcase their talents – and they are certainly talented. This is serious movie-set stuff, where imagination and skill are rewarded. Thousands of people flock to attend the trade show and to be dazzled by the array of jaw-dropping competitions, from “Special Effects” to the “World Fluor Award”, which celebrates glow-in-the-dark body artistry. There are DJs, outdoor stalls, a body-paint ballet and, wait for it, a body-paint bungee, which sees models bungeeing over a 165-metre-high dam (yup. Naked. And painted). The World Body-Paint Festival is bizarre yet entirely compelling – and a must-do if you are in the area.
Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta
Where: Darwin, Australia
When: July 9th 2017
When you think of typical life in Darwin, beer-drinking will undoubtedly be somewhere on the list. And with beer drinking, comes cans. Lots of cans. In the 1970s, the Darwinians came up with a cunning way of utilising the by-product of Darwin’s staple drink. Faced with a veritable mountain of beer cans – the result of construction workers who were unaccustomed to Darwin’s brutal temperatures, so turned to beer to cool them down – the locals decided to hold a beer can regatta. Today, the race is still going strong. Contestants apply themselves with diligence in emptying their cans and designing creations, which range from vast ships to simple rafts (depending on their drinking prowess). There is plenty of entertainment, stalls, mini competitions and even a mini soft-drink can regatta for children. A truly baffling, yet utterly delightful event.
Where: Pape’ete Tahiti
When: 7th – 23rd July 2017
Feathers? Check. Flower garlands? Check. Slightly intimidating indigenous dancing? Check! Tahiti’s Heiva is a celebration of French Polynesian culture, and celebrate they do, with drums, fabulous costumes and frenetic parades. It is up to you whether you watch or get stuck in with dancing, traditional sports and the newest addition: Miss & Mr Tahiti. Contestants aren’t all longing for world peace, however, the winners must win rounds of traditional skills, from coconut cracking to leaf weaving, stone lifting to palm tree climbing. Heiva is celebrated in numerous places, but Pape-ete’s carnival is the biggest, best, loudest and, we admit, most surreal.