14. Florida Keys Underwater Music Festival – July 9
This unique event draws several hundred divers and snorkelers to enjoy the sound of music in the Keys… underwater. The submerged songfest typically features ocean- and water-themed selections ranging from the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” to humpback whale songs and “water music” created by local musicians.
Divers and snorkelers interested in participating can reserve space on boats run by Lower Keys dive operators or launch their own boats from public ramps and marinas in the area. Past festivals have seen participants like The Snorkeling Elvises, a longhaired mermaid with a harp, an offbeat Alice in Waterland tea party, and an underwater band complete with tuba.
15. Colombian Joropo Festival – June 29 to July 3
Image: Sergio Fajardo Valderrama/Flickr
Joropo is a uniquely Colombian form of tap dancing blended with ancestral dance roots based firmly in Flamenco. Villavicencio, the capital of the department of Meta, is known for its cowboy heritage and Wild West feel. The whole town becomes an enormous “joropodrome,” where 1,600 couples from Bogotá and surrounding towns take part in joropo-infused competitions.
While it’s good fun to watch the dancing and parades, visitors can really get involved and try their hand at the “toro coleado” competition. Not for the fainthearted, the volunteer in question has to grab a bull and pull it by its tail in attempt to tip the bull over and escape before the antagonized longhorn attempts retribution.