Have you ever missed a special, one-of-a-kind event because it didn’t cross your radar screen and consequently wasn’t on your calendar? Well, no more, at least not in 2010. And though we’ve already seen such events as the Olympic Games and theAmerica’s Cup, the year holds much more. So, for those who want to spend a week or even a weekend participating in great moments of those special happenings occurring with the most resonance at world level – take note.
WORLD EXPO, SHANGHAI
Taking place May 1-October 31, this event is expected to generate 70 million visitors, the largest in world fair history. The theme “Better City – Better Life” will be reflected at more than 20,000 events held in at least 32 venues. Readying itself for debut on the world stage, China’s largest metropolis has undergone a transformation from a gritty industrial hub to a showcase of glittering skyscrapers. Learn more, click here.
FIFA WORLD CUP, SOUTH AFRICA
Held every four years and heralded as football’s premier international tournament, the 19th FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football) World Cup represents its first time hosted by an African nation. Scheduled June 11-July 11 it will take place in an assortment of stadiums in nine cities throughout the country. The Cup’s dramatic conclusions are renowned, most recently Italy’s win over France for the last world crown. More details, click here.
OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY, GERMANY
The history of the Passion Play is passionate in itself. In 1633 Bavarian villagers vowed to stage a “passion play” every 10 years if God would spare them from the region’s ravaging bubonic plague. The promised result is a five-hour show that has been carried forth for centuries. Over 2,000 villagers (about one-half ofOberammergau’s residents) bring the story of Jesus of Nazareth to life on an open-air stage with a sky and mountain backdrop May 15-October 3. Click here, for more details.
FLOWER “FESTIVAL,” HOLLAND
It’s not an official festival but Keukenhof Gardens showcaseHolland’s best known springtime commodity – flowers. Featured in unison, imagine 7,000,000 tulips, narcissi, hyacinths and multitudes of other flowers in bloom. No imagination is required if you travel an hour from Amsterdam between March 18-May 16 (full bloom is typically the end of April and beginning of May). Tip: The mid-April Flower Parade spotlights a procession of about 20 floral-covered floats along a 40-km. route.More information.
OCHO RIOS INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL, JAMAICA
If cool Caribbean music, hot tropical nights, savory jerk chicken and incomparable music beckon, head to Ocho Rios June 13-20. Celebrating its 20th year, the island’s international jazz fest defines Jamaica’s musical landscape – a landscape punctuated by notables such as the late Bob Marley who introduced reggae to the world and always acknowledged his soulful music’s connection with the Caribbean isle. The 2010 theme: “Reflections: White Classics, Black Classics.” Visitthis site for more details.
EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE, ISTANBUL
This European concept was introduced in the 1980s by former actress Melina Mercouri, then serving as Greek Culture Minister. To celebrate the distinctive 2010 title, the East-meets-West Meccaof Istanbul has free concerts, art exhibitions, dance performances and more.
In preparation for the year-long party many historic buildings and mosques were restored, including the Spice Bazaar and Hagia Sophia. Don’t miss: !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival (February 12-22). For more information, click here.