Take your pick of US festivals this year -from barbecue to blues

Memphis, Tenn. - MAY 20-22

Memphis in May Barbecue Sample ribs and pork at the world's largest barbecue contest, where more than 240 international teams compete.

San Francisco, Calif. - June 5

Black and White Ball The Civic Center turns into a set from a glamorous black-and-white film for this symphony fund-raiser.

Chicago, Ill. - June 3-6

Chicago Blues Festival About 60 acts take to four stages in Grant Park, just off Lake Michigan.

Charleston, S.C. - May 28 - June 13

Spoleto This giant performing arts celebration combines talents of poets, painters, dancers, musicians, and actors.

Minneapolis, Minn. - July 16-25

Aquatennial Watch the Milk Carton Boat Races or catch some other off-beat entertainment at this celebration of rivers and lakes.

Albuquerque, N.M. - Oct. 2-10

Balloon Fiesta Take a balloon ride or watch nearly 1,000 multi-colored balloons ascend into the Southwestern sky.

Washington, D.C. - Oct. 8-11

Taste of D.C. Sample from a variety of local eateries that set up tasting booths along Pennsylvania Avenue and listen to free concerts.

Galveston, Texas - Dec. 2-5

Dickens on the Strand At one of the largest Victorian Christmas celebrations, visitors don period clothes and celebrate the literature and culture of 19th-century England.

Carmel/Monterey, Calif. - Aug. 27-29

Concours d' Elegance This vintage auto show draws car buffs from nationwide and is set against the Pacific at the Pebble Beach Golf Course.

Cheyenne, Wyo. - July 23 - Aug. 1

Cheyenne Frontier Days Watch cowboys wrangle, ride, and rope cattle at this Wild West rodeo show.

Note: Dates are subject to change. Be sure to check with your travel agent before planning your trip.

Source: 'The Fun Also Rises,' by Alan Davis (Greenline).

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