Festivals Around the World
Celebrate traditional and offbeat crafts at these international events.
by Laura Kiniry
- Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, China
One of the world's premiere winter festivals, this event in Northeast China holds the current world record for the largest snow sculpture: a 115-foot-high, 656-foot-long landscape of Chinese palaces, French cathedrals, and an icy rendition of the Acropolis. Zhaolin Park's hand-carved ice lantern display is an event highlight.
- Tasmanian Circus Festival, Australia
Clowns, hula hoopers, and acrobats converge on this Australian island for a weekend event fit for anyone who's ever wanted to run away with the
circus. Workshops include tightrope, trapeze, and tips on manipulating objects.
- Venice Carnival, Italy
The masquerade parties and costume balls are extraordinary, but it's the artisan-made papier-mâché masks, a tradition dating back centuries, that earn top crafter points. Today leather, feathers, and gems are also used.
- Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil's premier festival features a smorgasbord of colorful costumes fashioned from feathers, sequins, silk, and mirrors. The most elaborate of the bunch serve as accessories to parade floats, which incorporate everything from floral displays to in-flight human butterflies.
- Impress '09, Gloucestershire, England
Printmaking rules at this inaugural event, where etchings, monoprints, screen prints, and wood-carvings are set for display. Workshops are offered, along with handmade prints, books, and cards for purchase.
- Maker Faire, San Francisco Bay Area
CRAFT magazine comes to life at this annual event, where crafters can swap and sew clothes, screen-print, make jewelry, learn how to make lace, felt, and LED embroidery, and meet other like-minded creatives.
- Blythe Beauty Contest, Tokyo
Revamped and restyled, doe-eyed dolls compete in categories like "Natural Beauty" and "Special Beauty" before a panel of live judges. The owners of the crowned winners have their original designs remade into actual Blythe dolls and dress sets.
- Oerol Festival, Netherlands
Terschelling Island becomes a ten-day stage for transforming boathouses, army bunkers, and streets into makeshift visual and performing art venues. Last year, visitors were treated to the vision of 250 steel silhouettes slowly migrating across
- Sand Sculpture Festival, Belgium
Artists sculpt stunningly realistic architectural works, automobiles, and personal images from frame-supported sand heaps. Past works have included a five-story, walk-through castle, complete with a climbable corner tower, hand-formed by 60 artists with 20,000 tons of sand.
- The Crucible Fire Arts Festival, Oakland, Calif.
An annual open-air exhibit of more than 50 fiery installations, such as the 40-foot, modular Steampunk Treehouse in 2008. Expect to feel
- Melbourne Stencil Festival, Australia
It's ten days of street art and stencil celebration. Events include live spraying demos and an auction of festival-created pieces.
- Buskerfest, Toronto
See crafty aerialists, body painters, and offbeat artisans, such as the sculptor who transforms candy into fish shapes. The lack of scheduling promotes spontaneity, but you can likely count on some type of flame show as well.
- Mid-Autumn Festival, Singapore
This harvest festival honors the moon god with ornamental dragons nibbling on mooncakes, and a celebration that combines Chinese lanterns with those resembling pop-culture icons.
- Deptford Design Festival, London
This fair showcases artistic talents with events like 24-Hour Design and Make, where teams of furniture makers, graphic artists, and textile designers create before a live audience.
- World of WearableArt Awards Show, New Zealand
More than 150 of the world's most inventive fashions - ranging from propeller-equipped bras to Lego-formed tutus to clothing made from human hair and Tchaikovsky sheet music - are worked along the runway amid an awesome display of performance art.
- 4 Weeks of FreeDesigndom, Netherlands
Last year's event featured the Sunday Adventure Club, an ode to urban pioneers that included an inner-city garden recreated as an outdoor beauty parlor, and Urban Play, a showcase for innovative ideas like movable parks and a carousel-themed traffic roundabout.
- Annual Pumpkin Regatta, Nova Scotia
Sure, there's the pumpkin weigh-off, pumpkin
carving, and pumpkin painting, but the real crafty highlight is the regatta where humongous, hollowed-out gourds are made into human-powered, floatable
works of art, then raced along Windsor's Lake Pesaquid.
- Noche de los Rábanos, Oaxaca, Mexico
Local artisans craft mariachi figures, flamenco dancers, and Christmas nativity scenes out of radishes at this Mexican vacation spot. Dried flower and cornhusk crafting competitions are all part of the century-old event.
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