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We've spent the last few years tracking how private space tourism is becoming a capital-T Thingand of course now that the space shuttle program is dead, private space flight is for better or worse the only game in town.
You might also remember a post from last year about commercial space travel company Space Adventures, which inked a deal with Boeing for vehicles that could be shot into low-earth orbit. We speculated at the time that the world was still many years from regular launches, both because it takes time to build spaceships and because we still don't really have the infrastructure to launch them.
All of that aside, we're certainly getting closer. There are now contests springing up promising to send lucky winners into space, with the latest coming from the team behind the Seattle Space Needle. The iconic tourist attraction was built for the 1962 World's Fair and, as its 50th anniversary celebration approaches, organizers want to recapture some of that futuristic magic.
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Today is going to be a long day—literally—as the sun does its thing in the northern hemisphere longer than any other day this year. All that sunshine brings out the crazy and fun in people across the country, and there are plenty of festivals and gatherings to celebrate the season. Here’s just three of the best that you can attend this week and this weekend:
· Skandia Folkdance Society's Midsommarfest:
Citizens of the Seattle area are ready to celebrate the summer solstice this weekend along with their Swedish heritage at this year’s Midsommarfest. The area’s Skandia Folkdance Society is responsible for the seasonal celebration this weekend, as visitors and locals are invited to welcome the arrival of summer at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore, Washington.
The fun begins around 11am local time on Sunday, June 26 with plenty of music, folk dancing, flower crowns, and food; however, the main event happens at about 2:30 in the afternoon. That’s when the grand parade is in full swing and everyone gathers around to witness the raising of the majstång—that’s the garlanded midsommar pole and not something from IKEA. Admission to the event is free, as is parking, so if you’re in the area and want to celebrate a little summer and a little Scandinavia this is probably a must see.
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Last year we sent you down to Leavenworth, WA for some picturesque summer tubing. To which you guys responded "well sure Jaunted, that was fun, but is there anything to do in Leavenworth during the bucolic fall, the breezy winter, or the refreshing spring?" Good question.
Meet Woody Goomsba, Official Ambassador of the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth and star of the latest travel ad from the Leavenworth tourism board. His debut music video "Gitcha Goomsba Up" was quietly uploaded to YouTube last Friday and has already topped 40,000 hits, garnering www.leavenworth.org some well-deserved attention. The Bavarian town's 44th Annual Christmas Lighting Festival is in full swing, it turns out, although unfortunately their popular "Art in the Park series" wrapped up last October. How's that for research?
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Sure holiday stress can create the need for a drink or three, but there’s no need to make your selection from the convenience store’s offerings. The holiday season has brewers on the top of their game as they craft plenty of hops, malt, and seasonal spices into winter warmers in all varieties. Here’s our picks for three festivals from which to take a sip or two.
· Seattle's 2010 Winter Beer Fest:
The Washington Beer Commission is ready to pop the top off many bottles of holiday suds in just a couple weeks, as the 2010 Winter Beer Fest comes to Hale's Palladium in Seattle on December 10 and 11. Expect plenty of winter flavors and seasonal selections from over 30 Washington breweries. If you visit be sure to save us a sip of the Hot Chocolate Ale from Airways Brewing—it features cocoa nibs, spices, and a little ancho chile.
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First, life imitated art when The O.C. became the inspiration for a little reality show called Laguna Beach. Then, Desperate Housewives served as the basis for the original Real Housewives, and now it looks like The Twilight Saga may be spawning its own reality show too.
Once upon a time, Forks, WA was a sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere, but thanks to Stephanie Meyers, who set the Twilight books in Forks, the town has become the destination for fans of the franchise. There is even a documentary about the community called "Twilight in Forks," which will be released on DVD with "New Moon." So its no surprise that reality TV execs have come knockin' on Forks' door looking for the next big reality TV stars.
Become an informed consumer while still on vacation! Check out Jaunted's newest series of the best factory tours the world over.
We'll admit, today's featured factory tour may be more of our dream than yours. After all, you can ride in airplanes constantly without needing to know where they, so to speak, come from; it's that old saw about watching the sausage get made. But we've always wanted to go to the Future of Flight, and we envy the lucky travel writers who have already been to Boeing's pricey but exciting factory tour.
We thought we did a pretty good job rounding up the 5 Things You Have To Know For 2009's Fest during our 2008 Oktoberfest post-mortem, but apparently we left out the annual Fremont Oktoberfest festival up in Washington. The three day beer-soaked event, which includes over 70 brews on tap and bills itself as being "for kids and adults of all ages," includes a cigar lounge, copious amounts of alcohol, and an appropriately-named "Miss Buxom" Contest.
The festival kicks off on September 18 and goes until the 20th, with Miss Buxom being choosen at 7pm on the first night. They say you don't need to be female to enter, though we're guessing it kind of helps since the winner is chosen by audience applause. You must be wearing "traditional German attire with a Fremont twist" even to enter, which we're taking to be a euphemism for "cleavage."
Here's a breezy summer getaway: The Washington State International Kite Festival may leave you with a crick in your neck from all that looking up, but these high flyers are worth it.
Held in the southwestern town of Long Beach, WA near the Oregon border, the festival transforms the skies in the third week in August every year. Different types of kites compete each day for ribbons and demonstrate techniques like kite fighting, but you don't just have to watch: August 17, opening day, also features a workshop on making your own kites, and Wednesday the 19th offers the same class especially for kids.