February gets the short end of the fun stick. With frigid temperatures on top of a 28-day slate, the second month of the year seems pretty gloomy. But scanning across the calendar, there is plenty to ward of the winter blahs. Here’s a look at four events around the globe that could help make February your favorite month.
Black History Month Celebration
Maryland goes all out for Black History Month. Some of the celebrating is done in remembrance of homegrown natives like Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall and abolitionist Harriet Tubman (both are profiled at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African America History & Culture). But other events this month — highlights include Jeffrey Kent’s powerful solo art show “Preach!” at Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s “Musical Roots: From Africa to America” and CENTERSTAGE’s Martin Luther King-based play The Mountaintop — shine a light on the vast overall contributions of blacks to the United States’ foundation. All month long
In the days leading up to Lent, all rich meats, fats and sugars had to be disposed. Historians believe this collective tossing of food to be the beginning of Carnival. Of course, the revelry seen today in Brazil (Trinidad and Uruguay also have festive celebrations in early February) is vastly different from what was originally done in 1600s Italy. Natives affectionately call Rio’s colorful incarnation “The Greatest Show on Earth.” With its display of dazzling outfits, suggestive dancing and annual 2 million visitors, we’re inclined to agree. Feb. 8
The Battle of the Oranges
It’s like La Tomatina, but more extreme. Ever since the 13th century, the Northern Italian town of Ivrea, just outside of Turin, has thrown the Battle of the Oranges, the ultimate — albeit painful-sounding — food fight. Thousands of brave souls hurl 400 tons of fruit at moving targets. If you’re taken aback by the thought of being pelted by stray produce, rest easy knowing the colorful festival only lasts three days. Feb. 10-12
Stock-car racing may be the only sport in America where the biggest event of the season is also its first. Every February, titans of the turn like Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart push their cars to the limit to capture NASCAR’s top trophy and the biggest chunk of the $18 million-plus purse. Matt Kenseth won a rain-soaked race in 2012. Before this year’s winner is determined, Daytona International Speedway promises fun at the interactive Sprint FANZONE and a concert with country/folk sensation Zac Brown Band. Feb. 24
Photos Courtesy of Gio-S.p.o.t.s, luoman, Visit Baltimore and Roger McClean