03 JAN 2013: We continue our series of events and celebrations to watch for in 2013. It's a handy reference guide for travellers, and today's feature covers the US and the UK.


75th anniversary of Palm Springs
Purely a movie-studio driven entity made as an easy desert hideaway for Hollywood stars, Palm Springs had plenty to cheer about when incorporated as a town back in 1938. “The Playground of the Stars” is prepping for year-round celebrations but the biggie is on April 20, 2013.

Walt Disney 90th anniversary
Two brothers had a dream. Walt and Roy Disney made simple cartoons. But who knew that what started as a small enterprise back on October 16, 1923 – at the height of the silent film era – would become the world’s largest media conglomerate. Watch for glitz, glamour and bold Technicolor as the famous studio rolls out a bunch of other hit classics celebrating special anniversaries. The Walt Disney Family Museum has special exhibitions planned.

Florida: Sunshine State’s 500th anniversary
When Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the shores near present-day St. Augustine, it must have been a pretty sight as he blurted “La Florida” meaning ‘place of flowers.’ Year-long festivities start on New Year’s Day with the launch of Expedition Florida 500 (XF500) led by waterman Justin Riley as he and other paddlers embark on a 365-day journey of Florida’s coastline and waterways.

Kauai Loves Elvis! And so does the rest of Hawaii
Forty years after the King of Rock’n’Roll’s most famous concert performance – Aloha from Hawaii – (it was the first globally televised concert) the island of Kauai will celebrate this memorable event with a fun, festive evening full of Elvis’ greatest hits, a silent auction and other goodies on January 18. Honolulu’s also readying for a week-long event culminating with a special 40th anniversary concert on January 14.

150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Lincoln Gettysburg Address

America’s most visited Civil War town (it boasts about 3-million visitors annually) gets double attention. Not only is it home turf to the most famous American Civil War battle but it’s also the place President Lincoln presented his now immortal Gettysburg Address. Watch for battle re-enactments, ceremonies, new attractions and activities.

150th anniversary of Idaho and Boise
There’s power in a stroke of a pen. When Abraham Lincoln signed the Idaho Territory on March 4, 1863 this historic signing changed the landscape of the Western US as we know it. Check out the Lincoln Legacy Exhibit at the State Archives and plenty of tourism tools like the Idaho at 150 campaign, the Official State Adventure Guide, and watch for events and exclusive activities organized by the state parks and others. In Boise, the big party starts with a puck drop by the city mayor at the Idaho Steelheads hockey game on January 4 with the biggest party culminating anniversary weekend on July 4-7, 2013.

New SFJAZZ Center in the Heart of San Francisco
Jazz lovers are bracing for the opening of this permanent jazz home to SFJAZZ. The first concert hall of its kind in the western US, the $60-million facility is built solely for jazz music and audiences. The 35,000-square-foot, transparent, LEED Gold Certified structure completed in under a year is designed by Mark Cavagnero (architect of the Oakland Museum of California expansion) and features a flexible, 700-seat performance hall; three rehearsal spaces; a digital music lab, and a sidewalk-level restaurant/café.
Completion Date: January 2013

375TH Anniversary of Portsmouth Rhode Island

A bunch of religious dissenters from a nearby Boston colony decided they’d start a new life in Portsmouth instead of their first choice, the Jersey shore. Another factoid: The leader of this settlement was Anne Hutchinson, the New World’s first female community leader.
Established: March 7, 1638

150th anniversary of West Virginia
The Mountain State is heralded with big fanfare this year. Watch for special anniversary events planned year-round and on June 20, 2013.

New: Bronx Opera House Hotel—60 rooms 436-442 149th Street

When the former Bronx Opera House opened in 1913 it was considered the most beautiful theatre in the borough. This fabulous Beaux Arts building in the South Bronx once played host to performers such as George Burns and Houdini. Over the years, it had many transformations but the latest incarnation is developed by The Empire Hotel Group which will certainly be the finest.
Projected opening: mid 2013

100th anniversary of the Woolworth Building
One of the oldest skyscrapers in the city, the Woolworth Building was also at the time of its opening the world’s tallest building. It was at the White House during a starry night on April 24, 1913 when President Woodrow Wilson pressed a magic button which lit up the magnificent marvel of engineering with its fancy social and health clubs, barber shop, restaurant, not to mention its unprecedented shopping arcade and observatory.

100 years of NYC’s Grand Central Terminal
Picture February 2, 1913. What opened to huge fanfare with wild anticipation, the Grand Central Terminal instantly was dubbed the largest train station in the world. The big centennial celebration starts on February 1 with a rededication of the terminal plus performances throughout the month. Watch for free lectures, daily guided tours, and more.

The Orchid Show 10th Anniversary: The New York Botanical Garden
The Orchid Show takes vertical gardens to new heights in its 10th year. The nation¹s largest exhibition of orchids offers insight into the mystery.
March 3- April 22, 2013


Natural Scotland
Scotland’s natural heritage is featured in this 12-month celebration with events highlighting Scotland’s natural landscapes, flora and fauna, historic landscapes, green tourism, urban nature and more.

David Livingstone Bicentenary

One of Scotland’s greatest explorers, a national hero and most beloved by Queen Victoria, Dr David Livingstone’s birth will be celebrated in 2013 with commemorative exhibitions worldwide. Highlights: The National Museum of Scotland will showcase ‘Dr Livingstone, I Presume?’ with objects culled from the National Museums Scotland's collection alongside loans from the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, North Lanarkshire, and more.
The exhibition runs at November 23-April 7, 2013.

600th anniversary of St Andrews University
This bastion of higher learning and most recently the Alma Mater of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will have grand events year-round at the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA).

750th anniversary of the Battle of Largs, Clyde + Largs Viking Festival
No doubt military buffs will look closely at this ancient battle which commemorates 750 years this year. Rewind to 1263. The town of Largs gets unwelcomed visitors, Viking invaders. But the Scots successfully fought them and won. Now this Viking Festival is ready for some vintage role replays. See a recreation of a Viking village, fireworks, a fun fair and battle re-enactments.

175th anniversary of John Muir

Scottish naturalist and godfather to wilderness preservation in the USA would have been 175 years old. Plenty of events planned with the big day on April 21, 2013.

500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden
Britain’s first cross-border eco-museum, The Flodden 1513 opens this year. The museum links together the connection Flodden has with 12 sites from Northumberland, the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh.

Royal Fests

There are many notables. The Will and Kate fascination has lots to chew on from this Royal fan base. Spots to hit: the Westleton Crown, a 12th century coaching inn, in Suffolk (famous spot for the Newlywed’s first wedding anniversary); a visit to the newly refurbished Kensington Palace, the couple’s new home as of 2013; or how about a tour of Cambridge, of which they hold the titles Duke and Duchess.

⋅ 175th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom
Britain’s longest reigning monarch (try 64 years) was one of the most popular and consequently had the biggest Empire the world has ever known. Date: 28 Jun 1838

⋅ 600th anniversary of the Coronation of King Henry V

⋅ 90th wedding anniversary of King George VI and Queen Mother. Royal watcher fans will sink their teeth into the renowned Royal Love Affair between Queen Elizabeth II’s late mother and father who honeymooned at Polesden Lacey. This National Trust property in Surrey will have some special events planned. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesdenlacey/

⋅ 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953

Centenary of Benjamin Britten

One of Britain’s most celebrated 20th century musical geniuses is being feted year-round and on his birthday November 22. This glorious centenary showcases his life, legacy and will surely capture the hearts of his fans worldwide. Over 100 compositions were inspired by Britten’s love of landscape and sea. Highlights: concerts, recitals set for Norwich and Suffolk, his birthplace. For event details see www.familiarfields.org and the www.britten100.org for music clips, stories and more.

150th anniversary of the London Underground

When the Tube opened on January 10, 1863, the commuter floodgates opened to a dizzying crowd of 40,000 passengers who trekked from Paddington to Farringdon Street. These days count on nearly 1 billion commuters using the intricate network annually. Watch for a special exhibition of the world’s oldest subway system at the London Transport Museum, commemorative stamps and coins, including steam train runs.

50th anniversary of public visits to Hever Castle

Add this castle to the castle tours. Not only was it the childhood home of Anne Boleyn but the wealthy Astors from the US lived there. A special permanent exhibition Upstairs, Downstairs at Hever Castle will mark the 50th anniversary occasion.

New Stonehenge Visitor Centre

For the first time, the fascinating story of Stonehenge will be presented on site at the new visitor centre located 2km from the Stone Circle. Highlights: artifacts on loan from local museums plus 3 Neolithic houses, recreated using rare evidence of domestic buildings from prehistoric England recently unearthed near Stonehenge.

Jane Austen’s novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ celebrates 200th anniversary

Our growing thirst for litera-tours continues in this bicentennial look (January 28, 1813) of Austen’s famous story of romance, society and marriage in 19th century England. A huge worldwide fan base, countless adaptations, and remakes are still made. Watch for a bunch of Jane Austen festivals especially in Hampshire, her birthplace; Bath for the Jane Austen Festival (September 13-21, 2013) and the tiny village of Chawton where the writer spent her final eight years.

100th anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show
Nothing like an English Garden and garden enthusiast clients will definitely want to sniff out this one. Insiders swear its one of the largest flower shows in the world.
Date May 21-25, 2013 www.rhs.org.uk

The View from the Shard
London’s newest landmark, designed by Master Architect Renzo Piano is finally opening. Highlights: Head to the viewing platform on Level 69 (244 metres high). This is the only place you can see all of London, all at once. Those who dare will be able to go up to Level 72 the highest habitable point of The Shard to stand in the open air 244 metres above ground.
1 February

Downton Abbey Tour Experience, Highclere Castle
A new Downton Abbey Experience in collaboration with P&P Tours will get fans of Downton Abbey to fully immerse themselves in life above and below stairs. The small group tours will take in all of the main locations featured in the popular TV show, offering experiences of Edwardian life in a Downton-style setting.
14 April

150th anniversary of Steam

Steam engine fans are blown away by this special anniversary taking place at the Ffestiniog Railways where the oldest surviving steam locomotive known as Prince will make a rare return. The Ffestiniog Railway is one of the 10 “Great Little Trains” of Wales.

80th anniversary of the Gregynog Festival
The oldest classical music festival in Wales celebrates a milestone. Founded by the Davies sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret in 1933 and held at their lavish home set in the beautiful Welsh countryside outside Newtown, the inaugural concert was attended by George Bernard Shaw among other luminaries. Today, the world’s leading musicians assemble at this location. Highlights: This year’s theme is Great Britten, marking the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten who performed at Gregynog in 1972.
Dates: June 20 – 30, 2013

The Gathering

On the heels of last year’s big Titanic celebrations comes Tourism Ireland’s biggest tourism initiative to date. Called The Gathering Ireland 2013, it’s a time of “Welcomes” as you go home or visit the Emerald Isle for these year-round ceilis and once-in-a-lifetime events. The huge crowd pleaser no doubt is St. Patrick’s Day’s People Parade in Dublin where Irish and non-Irish alike are invited to partake in this massive street party. Watch for fun themed events like the Redhead Convention, the Left Hand Festival, and of course you can’t forget about the Twin Fest, and no you’re not seeing double.

Puck Fair 400th anniversary
Ireland’s oldest festival celebrating livestock goes way back judging by a 1603 charter inked by King James I for a fair located on the world famous Ring of Kerry Road in the wee-town of Killorglin. Plenty of stories are woven around the early days of 1613 when locals for a lark paid homage to a male goat known as a “Puck,” a pagan fertility symbol. Today you get pet shows, horse fairs, coronation parades plus street shows, a circus, bonny baby competitions and more.
August 10-12, 2013

The UK City of Culture for 2013: Derry-Londonderry

This Lonely Planet anointed city now ranked among the top 10 places in 2013 is hosting a year-round cultural party celebrating the five arts plus some sporting events for good measure. The Cultural programme features the Turner Prize (first time the prize is held outside England), London Symphony Orchestra, Royal National Ballet, Lumiere, Hofesh Shechter and others.


Derry~Londonderry’s city walls are being honoured with a series of activities to
explore the city walls history and celebrate them as a present-day national
heritage landmark.

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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