May is an exciting month.
Kids are counting down the days until summer vacation, and everyone is looking for an excuse to get outdoors so that they can enjoy the pleasant late-spring weather.
Festivals, holidays and special events make it possible to fill up your May calendar with excitement.
From traditional cultural fests to national holidays to concerts and even one of the world’s most famous non-human sporting events, there is plenty to look forward to during the 5th month of the year.
And, most of these events occur outdoors, so you can enjoy the amazing springtime weather no matter what you choose to do during the month of May.
Here are May’s best holidays, festivals and events…
Memorial Day (Nationwide)
Held on the last Monday in May, this holiday marks the start of summertime for many people in the US.
Parades and events are held across the country to honor the fallen members of America’s military.
Whether they attend a parade or not, most people go outdoors on Memorial Day.
Depending on where they are, people spend the day visiting the beach, hiking in a state or national park, or simply enjoying a quiet picnic in a natural area.
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes Film Festival is an international celebration of film held each year in Cannes, France.
Big names and emerging artists flock to Cannes to see quality films from around the world.
The glamor of the red carpet is in full force, with the cinema’s biggest names usually in attendance.
Being named an Official Selection can bring films and filmmakers into the international spotlight and make their careers.
The Indianapolis 500
The Indy 500, one of motor racing’s most famous events, takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway each Memorial Day Weekend.
The 500 is one of racing’s most prestigious prizes.
Since the race began in 1911, audiences have enjoyed the intricacies of racing from the infield parking area, the expansive grandstands or through their television sets.
There are a number of concerts, festivals and special events that are held on race weekend in Indianapolis each year.
Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is literally translated “the 5th of May.”
In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is one of the largest Mexican-American cultural celebrations of the year.
Festivals are held in communities throughout the Unites States.
These events offer locals a chance to gather and celebrate their Mexican heritage together.
It also offers those from other cultural backgrounds a chance to participate in Mexican-American cultural events, parades, traditional dancing and music, and, of course, to feast on well-loved Mexican dishes.
The Kentucky Derby is one of the three high-profile events that make up the coveted Triple Crown of horse racing.
Held on the first Saturday of May, guests to the Derby see the best horses in the world vie for the crown.
Elaborate hats and mint juleps abound.
Of course, serious handicappers are here too, placing bets and hoping to win big.
Whether watching from the “raucous” infield or sit in luxury in “Millionaires’ Row,” all race-goers are sure to be on the edge of their seats.
New Orleans Jazz Fest
The New Orleans Jazz Festival is a unique celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana.
Audiences gather each May at the Fair Grounds Race Course, not far from the French quarter, to experience music, food and cultural activities native to New Orleans and Louisiana.
Musicians ranging from the most famous (Aretha Franklin) to the emerging artists of today’s jazz scene perform outdoors for large audiences.
If you want a taste of New Orleans colorful culture, this is the event for you.
What are you anticipating this May?
Let us know what’s on your calendar in the comments section below…
About the Author
Josh is a freelance writer whose articles about travel and culture have appeared on Mother Nature Network, CNN.com, and, of course, the Estate Weddings and Events blog. He has traveled all around the US and East Asia, but is just as happy at home with a cup of coffee (or a quality microbrew) and reruns of Mad Men or 30 Rock. You can connect with him via LinkedIn or Google+.