Il Palio – Siena, Italy
July 2 and August 16
This heart-stopping event revolves around a bareback horse race run around the Piazza del Campo in Siena. The notoriously violent race features jockeys from Siena’s 17 neighbourhoods (traditionally rivals) who are thrown to the ground with alarming regularity. And while the Palio itself may be over in 90 seconds, the impact makes history.
World Bodypainting Festival – Pörtschach, Austria
Every year on a lake in the quiet, conservative Austrian town of Pörtschach, the World Bodypainting Festival draws colourful characters from all over the globe. International music bands and fireworks delight the punters, while the pros get their kicks competing in make-up contests.
San Fermín Festival – Pamplona, Spain
This week-long celebration involves traditional and folkloric events, including the famous running of the bulls. Known locally as Sanfermines, it’s held in honour of Saint Fermin, the co-patron of the region of Navarre, but is far from saintly, widely-acknowledged as one of the world’s wildest street parties.
Gertrude Street Projection Festival – Melbourne, Australia
The Gertrude Street Projection Festival lights up Melbourne’s bleak winter nights with the work of local and international projection and street artists. Buildings, laneways, footpaths and tree trunks light up with site-specific, curated projections, while local shops, pubs and eateries also get in on the action, dishing out street food and entertainment.
Boryeong Mud Festival – Boryeong, South Korea
Originally conceived as a marketing effort for mud cosmetics in Boryeong, South Korea, this nine-day long summer festival sees millions of people flock to the city, swelling its population of a scant 100,000 to millions. Events include mud wrestling, a mud king contest, mud fireworks fantasy and mud sliding.
Hamburg Pride/Christopher Street Day – Hamburg, Germany
July 24 – August 2
This year marks Hamburg Pride’s 35th birthday, and there’s many an exciting event afoot to celebrate. The week of cultural and political events will culminate with a Pride Parade on August 1, surrounded by a slamming street festival around the Binnen-Alster.
Durrow Scarecrow Festival – Durrow, Ireland
July 26 – August 3
Hundreds of scarecrows are erected around the little Irish town of Durrow for this one, with festival highlights including the All Ireland Scarecrow Championships (in which over 120 scarecrows from the four corners of Ireland and even further afield compete), live music and craft workshops.
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