In the coming year, many annual celebrations are staging special golden anniversary editions. Check out these — and more — on our calendar of top events worth traveling to in 2020.
Jan-5: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam — Ho Chi Minh City Marathon. Runners put the Saigon River under foot via the formidable Phu My Bridge.
Jan 17-19: Miami Beach, Florida — Art Deco Weekend. Ocean Drive overflows with awesome architecture and events.
Jan 20-26: Greensboro, North Carolina — U.S. Figure Skating Championships. A fan fest is icing on the cake at America’s top skating competition.
Jan 25-26: Aviemore, Scotland — Aviemore Sled Dog Rally. One thousand dogs and 250 mushers old and young glide through the Highlands.
Jan 31-Feb. 9: Saranac Lake, New York — Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. From Arctic Golf to Snowflake Volleyball, let these winter games begin.
Feb 1-8: Galway, Ireland — European Capital of Culture Opening Event. Galway’s year of special events get cracking, with Rijeka, Croatia, sharing the reins.
Feb 8: San Francisco — Chinese New Year Parade. A 288-foot Golden Dragon stomps the streets as the Year of the Rat scurries in.
Feb 8-March 29 (weekends): Near Apache Junction, Arizona — Arizona Renaissance Festival. Maidens, mermaids and jousting knights revel in a medieval amusement park.
Feb 21-March 7: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain — Jerez Flamenco Festival. Theaters and bars reverberate with passionate flamenco music and Spanish dance.
Feb 25: New Orleans — Mardi Gras. The Crescent City sounds its final toot on Fat Tuesday.
March 19-21: Hong Kong — Art Basel Hong Kong. More than 200 galleries display East-West historical and cutting-edge works.
March 19-22: Seattle — Taste Washington. Palate-pleaser concludes when 235 state wineries and 65 local restaurants host a weekend Grand Tasting.
March 20-April 12: Washington — National Cherry Blossom Festival. D.C. blooms with a big parade and Japanese street festival.
March 21: Rena to Lillehammer, Norway — Birkebeinerrennet. Historic cross-country ski race concludes in former host city of the Winter Olympics.
March 21-May 10: Lisse, Netherlands — Keukenhof. Some 7 million tulips, daffodils and other bulbs flash their color with the arrival of spring.
April 4: Elmira, Ontario — Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. With pancakes, music and pony rides for the kids, this is a festival that sticks with you.
April 22: Worldwide — Earth Day 2020. “Climate Action” is the all-encompassing theme on the golden anniversary of this very green observance.
April 23-25: Albuquerque, New Mexico — Gathering of Nations. “North America’s Biggest Powwow” celebrates Native American heritage with dance, music and crafts.
April 23-26: Charleston, South Carolina — Charleston Race Week. Three hundred keelboats take to the water for this three-day regatta.
April 24: Plymouth, Massachusetts — Plymouth 400 Commemoration Opening Ceremony. Festivities mark arrival of Pilgrims four centuries ago.
May 8-9: Owensboro, Kentucky — International Bar-B-Q Festival. Rack-and-spit spectacle includes the Mutton Glutton Sandwich Eating Competition.
May 8-17: Rochester, New York — Rochester Lilac Festival. The “Largest lilac collection in the U.S.” is the backdrop for 135 concerts and a huge parade.
May 9-16: The Hague — Invictus Games. Wounded warriors compete in 10 sports, from archery to wheelchair rugby.
May 12, 14, 16: Rotterdam, Netherlands — Eurovision Song Contest. Performers from over 40 countries sing for the bling at 65th vocal blowout.
May 16-Oct. 4: Oberammergau, Germany — Oberammergau 2020. Passion play performed entirely by locals runs but once every 10 years.
June 12-July 12: 12 cities across Europe — Euro 2020. Brexit or no Brexit, this soccer tournament with massive worldwide audiences opens in Rome and closes in London.
June 13-20: Detroit — North American International Auto Show. A showroom for tire-kickers, rolling out myriad new vehicles, from the cool to the surreal.
June 24-28: Pilton, England — Glastonbury 50. Arts festival in the Vale of Avalon celebrates golden anniversary, with Diana Ross on stage.
June 24-July 3: Aspen, Colorado — Aspen Ideas Festival. Deep thinkers produce (sometimes) great notions on pressing issues.
June 27-28: San Francisco — San Francisco Pride Parade & Celebration. Golden anniversary edition hails the “Generations of Hope.”
July 4: Bristol, Rhode Island — Bristol Fourth of July Celebration. Nation’s oldest July Fourth event sounds the trumpets in “America’s most patriotic town.”
July 17-Aug. 4: Cooktown, Australia — Cooktown Expo 2020. Celebration of the arrival of iconic explorer James Cook 250 years ago includes a rock music festival.
July 23-26: Key West, Florida — Hemingway Look-Alike Contest. The sun also rises on Papa’s 40th get-together, featuring arm wrestling and a running of the bulls.
July 24-Aug. 9: Tokyo — Games of the XXXII Olympiad. Summer Olympics adds new twists with medals in baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding.
July 29-30: Chincoteague, Virginia — Chincoteague Pony Penning. Carnival and raffle accompany annual wild pony swim from Assateague Island.
Aug 1-8: Tregaron, Wales — National Eisteddfod of Wales. Ceredigion County showcases all things Welsh, including Cymanfa Ganu, a sacred music festival.
Aug 7-16: Sturgis, South Dakota — Sturgis Rally. The 80th motorcycle romp features a scenic Black Hills run from Deadwood to Custer State Park.
Aug 13-23: Edmonton, Alberta — Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. Cutting-edge performers fill 50 venues in the theaters and alleys of the Canadian city’s historic district.
Aug 14-Sept. 6: Utrecht, Netherlands, to Madrid — Vuelta a Espana. Top athletes tackle the 75th running of one of the three Grand Tours of world cycling.
Aug 30-Sept. 7: Black Rock Desert, Nevada — Burning Man. The transitory art community ponders the multiverse and more.
Sept 5-7: Denver — A Taste of Colorado. Half a million fans jam Civic Center Park to rock in the Rockies.
Sept 11-20: Bath, England — Jane Austen Festival. Fans don silks and satins at scores of Regency costumed events.
Sept 16-19: Canton, Ohio — NFL Centennial Celebration. Pro football gives itself a party spotlighting 100 years on the gridiron.
Sept 19-Oct. 4: Munich, Germany — Oktoberfest. Tents are pitched and beer barrels tapped for “the largest folk festival in the world.”
Sept 22-27: Haven, Wisconsin — Ryder Cup. American and European golf teams clash at Whistling Straits.
Oct 8-18: Perry, Georgia — Georgia National Fair. Full-fledged fair combines midway rides and concerts with livestock exhibits and quilts.
Oct 9-12: Augusta, Bangor and statewide, Maine — Maine Statehood Bicentennial Grand Finale Weekend. The 200th birthday bash commemorates “the Maine thing.”
Oct 9-17: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia — Celtic Colours International Festival. Fiddlers, bagpipers, clog dancers and Gaelic singers join in “an island-wide ceilidh.”
Oct 9-18: Stockholm — Stockholm Jazz Festival. Swedish swing in 60 venues with emphasis on improvisational and world music.
Oct 17: Fayetteville, West Virginia — Bridge Day. Three hundred BASE jumpers take the plunge from the 876-foot New River Gorge Bridge.
Nov 6-15: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii — Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. The 50th annual coffee-bean bash on Hawaii’s biggest island has its perks, including seed-to-cup farm tours.
Nov 15: Toronto — Toronto Santa Claus Parade. One of the world’s oldest and jolliest holiday processions is decked out with Celebrity Clowns.
Nov 20-22: Milwaukee — Holiday Folk Fair International. Dancers representing over 30 nations usher in the festive season.
Nov 26: Dallas — Turkey Trot. Thanksgiving walks and runs serve as warm-ups to turkey day.
Nov 28-Dec. 6: Guadalajara, Mexico — Guadalajara International Book Fair. 2,280 publishers from 47 countries make this Latin America’s largest page-turner.
Dec 4-6: Galveston, Texas — Dickens on the Strand. The Victorian reincarnation promises a dickens of a time with parades, costumes and bed races.
Dec 7: Milan, Italy — Opening Night of La Scala. See and be seen as the famed 1778 opera house raises the curtain.
Dec 12: San Jose, California — Beethoven Birthday Bash 2020. The party honors “the greatest orchestral composer of all time” on his 250th.
Dec 14: Chile and Argentina — Total Solar Eclipse. Moon blocks sun across a 56-mile-wide band of Earth in this astronomical showstopper.
Dec 14-Jan. 5: Throughout the Americas — Christmas Bird Count. Mass tabulation depends on sharp-eyed citizen census takers.
Dates are subject to change. Check in advance to confirm details.
Margaret Backenheimer is a freelance writer.
By MARGARET BACKENHEIMER