Photo Credit: Killington Resort
Sure, attending a sporting event as a bystander can be fun; but nothing compares to actually getting in on the game. Luckily, there are a number of active festivals around the US that take you and your family out of your seats and into the action. Whether you’re a hardcore ice climber, love racing vintage cars or want to center yourself with some yoga, the following festivals are worth booking a trip for.
1. Michigan Ice Fest
Where: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, near Munising, Michigan
What began in 1983 as seven ice-climbing enthusiasts sharing their passion, has grown into a week-long festival bringing in 700 beginner and advanced participants. The happening features ice climbing lessons, guided climbs and 36 routes to help people better appreciate the sport — not to mention the beauty of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Another highlight is the film-screening portion, which in 2016 brought the release of the acclaimed indie movie “Michigan Ice,” bringing to light one of the continent’s largest masses of ice for climbing. Speakers, panel discussions and parties are also part of the fun.
2. Dos Equis Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge
Where: Killington Resort, Killington, Vermont
The Dos Equis Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge is one of many sports festivals put on by Killington Resort throughout the year. During the Mogul Challenge, amateur skiers are separated across 10 divisions — there’s even a 13 and under category. As you take on the moguls, you’ll be judged on your technical skills via speed, turns and airtime. From these, 32 men and 16 women across 10 divisions will go on to compete in the mogul challenge cup. Additionally, the four overall winners will have their names forever engraved on a shiny Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge trophy. Along with the competition, the event showcases live music and family-friendly games in a lively atmosphere.
3. Shakti Fest
Where: Joshua Tree Retreat Center, Joshua Tree, California
This active 5-day festival celebrates yoga, music and dance. Organized by the renowned Bhakti Fest, attendees partake in yoga and dance classes of varying intensities across four locations — including two indoor and two outdoor options. Practice your chanting (or Kirtan) under the guidance of famed Jai Uttal; attend workshops ranging from Ayurveda to spiritual nutrition to tantric energy; and experience sonic meditation in their new sound dome. Bonus: conscious travelers will be happy to know Shakti Fest donates to numerous nonprofits focused on food scarcity, education and environmental needs.
4. Watkins Glen International Tour de Marque
Where: Watkins Glen, New York
Most have heard of the Monaco Grand Prix 2017; but did you know New York has its own prestigious race? Anyone with a vintage car — specifically vintage German cars made before 1980 — can register to take part. Drivers take off from the Chateau Lafayette Reneau winery, cruising down the 85-mile Rally Route, part of which entails racing over the Cayuga Health System Lap of the Old Course dating back to 1948. The event features 11 different vintage race groups ranging from Porsche to Ferrari, with over 400 cars taking part. It’s not all driving though, as attendees will also hear early Watkins Glen racing legends speak in Lafayette Park, view vintage cars from almost every era racing the original route at sunset, listen to live music, savor local wine tastings, and take part in family-friendly activities.
5. Spokane Hoop Fest
Where: Spokane, Washington
Touted as the world’s largest 3-on-3 tournament, Spokane Hoop Fest attracts 7,000 teams each year to play ball. During the event, 45 blocks in downtown are closed off so that 225,000 players and observers can celebrate their love of sport (and try not to be eliminated!). Families can take part, too, as there’s a family division within the festival. Take a break from basketball and enjoy the festivals other amenities, like live music in Riverfront Park and tents serving up local Washington cuisine.
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