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Three participants stop to play a game of chess during Tomatina. (Photograph by Fly Dime, My Shot)

Event-o-Rama: 12 Must-Dos in August

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world this summer. Here’s just a taste of what you can do and see in August:

  • Tiring of the Olympics? Travel to Wales for the World Alternative Games (August 17-September 2) instead. Events include gravy wrestling, office chair racing, bog snorkeling, and worm charming.
  • Get messy at the world’s biggest food fight, La Tomatina (August 29). Join tens of thousands of people who are heading to Valencia, Spain to hurl more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes at each other. The results are fairly grisly, but full of toothy grins.
  • Confront the past at the Hiroshima Lantern Floating Memorial (August 6) in Japan. Thousands of cube-shaped paper lights drift down the Motoyasu River to honor those who died in 1945. The event is held every year on the anniversary of the bombing to promote world peace.
  • Race a camel at the Maralal Camel Derby (August 17-19) in Maralal, Kenya. This annual race brings together “the finest camels in the north” as well as both amateur and experienced riders.
  • Wax nostalgic in a thoroughly British way at Rewind: The 80s Festival (August 17-19). With live music, movie screenings, and huge parties, you’ll leave Henley-on-Thames, England wishing it was 1985.
  • Satisfy your appetite for Grade-A cuisine at South Africa’s Good Food & Wine Show (August 23- 26). Improve your cooking chops by watching some of the best chefs in the world go to work. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s a whole theater dedicated to chocolate demos.
  • Trek out to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to be a part of one of the world’s largest pop-up communities. To cap off the week-long Burning Man Festival (August 27-September 3), a 40-foot effigy is torched in front of more than 50,000 spectators. You have to see it to believe it.
  • “Make Air, Not War” at the Air Guitar World Championships (August 22-24) in Oulu, Finland. According to air guitar proponents, wars would end, climate change would stop, and all bad things would disappear if everyone in the world took up this “instrument.”
  • Pay tribute to the King of Rock and Roll. The 35th annual Elvis Week (August 10-18) in Memphis, Tennessee will feature concerts, film screenings, and tours of Graceland. And, of course, lots and lots of impersonators.
  • Try racing, Fred Flintstone style at Australia’s Henley-on-Todd Regatta (August 18). Teams run on land in bottomless boats, a spoof on the somewhat staid atmosphere that surrounds English river races. Only in Australia.
  • Indulge in some of the best seafood around at the Maine Lobster Festival (August 1-5). Featuring a huge parade, the crowning of a Sea Goddess, and more than 10 tons of lobster, it’s one of New England’s biggest — and quirkiest — events.
  • Put on your dancing shoes at the Buenos Aires Tango Festival (August 14-28). Thousands will come to see watch world-renowned tango dancers compete in the Dance World Cup, as well as enjoy live music and good eats.