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  1. It ain't over 'til it's over...the biggest festivals for the rest of 2012

    posted by Colm Hanratty and Tracy Lynch | 0 Comments


    The Olympics may just have finished, and favourites like the St Patrick's Day in Ireland and Queen's Day in the Netherlands may have taken place earlier in the year, but this doesn't mean all the main events of the year are behind us...far from it! The largest public festival in the world is yet to take place, as are the New Year's Celebrations! Read on while we fill you in on what festivals should be next on your calendar of events...

    1. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany: 22nd September – 7th October

    I've been to Oktoberfest three times now and each time is like the first time. For the duration of the festival I'm in awe at the amount of people that attends it (not hammered drunk which is what a lot of you were thinking I was about to say). Each of its 14 tents that fit between 4,000 and 11,000 people are packed to the rafters from morning 'til night for the festival's 16 days. Every tent is also filled with some of the most sociable people you've ever met. Admittedly, the beer (which is stronger than usual) might have something to do with it. Take it from me - Oktoberfest is one of those festivals you have to attend at least once in your life. You (hopefully) won't forget it. CH

    Book your stay in Munich.

    2. Hogmanay, Edinburgh, Scotland: 31st December – 2nd January 2013

    There are many cities around the world well-known for their New Year's Eve celebrations. Rio, Sydney and New York City are just three. When it comes to Europe though, one city reigns supreme - Edinburgh. This is thanks to the Hogmanay Festival, a New Year's celebration that takes place over three days and includes street parties, concerts, 'keilidhs' (traditional Scottish dances) and torchlight processions. If you're not sure where to ring in 2013 in Europe, look no further. CH

    Book your stay in Edinburgh.

    3. Festes de la Mercé, Barcelona, Spain: 22nd – 24th September

    Beginning on the third Thursday of every September, Festes de la Mercé is easily the biggest festival of the year in Barcelona. Landmarks like Las Ramblas, Plaza de Catalunya, Plaza Reial and more, this is a celebration of the Patron Saint of Barcelona, the Virgin Mary, is titled "María de las Mercedes", meaning "Mary of Mercies". Concerts, parades, processions are just some of the things you can expect to encounter during the festival. Make sure not to miss the human towers that will simply leave your mind boggled. CH

    Book your stay in Barcelona.

    4. Grand Final Week, Melbourne, Australia: 23rd – 29th September

    There's no doubt about it that of all Australia's states, Victoria is the sporting capital. One of the world's biggest horse races takes place here, the Australian Grand Prix is staged here and Aussie Rules football is more popular here than any other part of the country. That's why Grand Final week in Melbourne (the game is played in the city's famous Melbourne Cricket Ground) is such a big deal. This year the big game will take place on September 29, but in the run up to the game look out for events in Federation Square, parades including the battling teams and more.CH

    Book your stay in Melbourne.

    5. Christmas Market, Dresden, Germany: 30th November – 24th December

    While you can find some breathtaking Christmas Markets in Vienna, Bruges and Nuremberg as well as all across the world, this market in Dresden is one of Germany’s oldest Christmas Markets and is traditionally called Striezelmarkt. It dates back to 1434 and during these dates you will find its lights glistening and stalls bustling in the historic part of the city. A visit here will find tons of festive charm, a treasure trove of toys and gifts, and a view of the world’s tallest Christmas pyramid as well as the world’s biggest nut cracker. TL

    Book your stay in Dresden.

    6. Melbourne Cup Carnival, Melbourne, Australia: November 20th

    This popular race is often marketed as ‘The race that stops a nation’ and it couldn’t be more accurate. Every year on the first Tuesday in November, metropolitan Melbourne and some parts of regional Victoria take a public holiday to enjoy Melbourne’s premier race event. This year marks the 152nd year of this prestigious and much loved annual event. The emphasis on fashion and style is just as important as the horse racing at the Melbourne Cup so make sure you have your suit pressed or your fancy hat ready for this day out. TL

    Book your stay in Melbourne.

    7. Halloween, New York City, USA: October 31st

    For many Halloween is a fun occasion that warrants dressing up and a party, but in New York City it’s become one giant street party. The Village Halloween Parade has become an iconic event in New York City where thousands or people dress up in some of the most creative costumes you will ever see and join in on the celebrations. The parade starts at 7pm so if you want to join in be there before that. And if dressing up is not your thing then join the crowds on the sidewalks early to get a good viewing spot of the giant puppets, bands and musicians, dancers, artists and locals in their costumes. CH

    Book your stay in New York City.

    Thanks to katy-mac, puigoll., JamesDPhotography, savv and asterix611 for images.

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