Santas Gone Wild [Preview]

There’s no question that everyone celebrates the holiday season differently. Some gather with family as often as possible; others have White Elephant parties with eggnog and mulled wine; some watch Christmas movies from Thanksgiving to New Years. Personally, I started listening to Christmas songs a month ago. But if you’re looking for something less traditional, while still wanting to dress up as Santa, I have some nice – and naughty – suggestions for you.

Santarchy / Santacon PDX 2007. Photo by jesse.millian. CC BY 2.0

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8 Tips for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade [Preview]

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade | Thursday, November 24, 2011 | New York

Breathe it in: the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Does anything announce more loudly and cheerfully that the holidays have arrived? For me, the answer is “No.” Every Thanksgiving, I’d wake up to the sounds of the parade from the TV and the smell of delicious food from the kitchen. I loved everything about the event: the big balloons floating through the skyscrapers, the musical numbers, the people dressed in big coats, hats and scarves. As a kid in sunny Los Angeles, I always thought to myself, “Yes, now that’s what the holidays are all about.”

Kung Fu Panda in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo by Kent Miller.

It should come as no surprise then that when I was a college sophomore in Boston with nowhere to go on Thanksgiving, I grabbed my then-boyfriend (now-husband), packed up a bunch of warm clothes, boarded the Chinatown bus and  traveled to New York City. I didn’t care that we didn’t have enough money for the trip nor that we were going to be in NYC during one of the most touristy times of the year. I didn’t care at all because we were going to see the Macy’s Day Parade.

So, if you are like me, and the time has come to see the Macy’s Day Parade in person, here are some tips to ensure that the event is as magical as you always imagined it would be:

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Get Your Pink On: The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re highlighting the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a fundraising event that takes place in nine different cities across the United States. To be a walker, you have to sign-up, raise $1,800, train and then walk a marathon and a half (39.3 miles) in two days. You can also participate by volunteering or just showing up and cheering on the walkers. I did this walk in 2009 in San Francisco, and one of my closest friends, Yasmin Firouzi, did the walk this past summer in Santa Barbara. To give you a sense of what one of these walks is like, I got a hold of Yasmin to have a chat.

Yasmin Firouzi. Photo by Yasmin Firouzi.

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6 Tips for Attending San Francisco’s Vintners Market [Preview]

If you’re like me, you have a difficult time thinking of anything better than drinking wine all afternoon. You like wine when it’s hot outside. You like wine when it’s raining. You want to drink it before, with and after a meal. (Yes, any meal.) You feel the need to stockpile it because you know you’re going to need it in an emergency. If you identify with any of these characteristics, a great event is coming up for you this weekend: the San Francisco Vintners Market. I can tell you it’s great because I went in April, and walked away with, well, too many bottles of wine.

Photo courtesy of SF Vintners Market.

Taking place at Fort Mason, this showcase hosts about 150 wineries from all over California, including some from Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, etc. You’re given a souvenir glass at the entrance and then set loose amongst the booths, given the opportunity to try the wines and buy them. It’s a wonderful way to expand your palate and to be exposed to wines that you ordinarily would not come across.

In order to make the day particularly successful, here are a couple of tips from my experience:

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Unusual Events #2: North American Wife Carrying Championship

Yes. You read that title correctly. This means that a. there is a sport called wife carrying and b. it is so popular that North America gets its own championship. True and true. The North American Wife Carrying Championship takes place every fall at idyllic Sunday River Resort in Newry, Maine. This year’s festivities take place on October 8th, with the winner of this event going on to the World Championships in Finland. From there, they will compete for the prize of the wife’s weight in beer. Also true.

Rocco Andreozzi from Bethel, Maine, and Kim Wasco from Farmington, Maine, winning the final heat of the the 11th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship, which took place on October 9 at Sunday River Ski Resort located in Newry, Maine. Photo courtesy of Sunday River Ski Resort.

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Unusual Events #1: The Devil’s Chase 6.66 Miler

Welcome to the inaugural post of the Unusual Events series, a column that aims to find the most unique/strangest/silliest events taking place around the world. We hope that through this column, and its partner, Bands with Unusual Names, you will be introduced to artists and events that you’ve never heard of.  I know that our staff certainly has.

Without further ado…our first unusual event: The Devil’s Chase 6.66 Miler, a Halloween-weekend race in Salem, Massachusetts that promises to be just as fun for the spectators as it is for the runners. And while the name suggests it’s all devilry, there’s actually a very angelic backbone to it: a portion of the proceeds go to The Plummer Home for Boys, a local group home for boys between the ages of 12-18.

Image courtesy of B&S Fitness Event Management

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Hard-Won Oktoberfest Advice

So, you and your friends are going to Oktoberfest, Munich’s traditional Bavarian festival and harbinger of fall. You plan to drink dunkel beers while wearing lederhosen and dirndls. You’ve heard that you can’t get hungover from German beer because there are no preservatives. You’ve already eaten a pretzel at the Munich airport because you are THAT excited. I’m with you. I went in 2006 with a group of my closest friends. And we all want to go back because 1. it was amazing and 2. we made a handful of very amateur mistakes that we would like to rectify. If you don’t want to end up like me and my friends, take heed! Follow my 12 pieces of advice, and I guarantee a smooth – still boozy – Oktoberfest experience.

Photo by Alexa Dooseman.

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