There is more to February than Valentines Day. In fact, February plays host to myriad festivals and events right around the world – from those celebrating deep winter, to the advent of warmer weather and celebrations of historic and modern cultures and flavours. February is prime time to step out and see what the world has to offer.
Chiang Mai flower festival
As the cool season draws to a close and Spring begins creeping in, Chiang Mai, known as Thailand’s Rose of the North, hosts a three day flower festival at the start of February. The festival sees the city’s Suan Buak Hat Park transformed with floral displays, agricultural exhibitions, flower competitions and a parade of flower-decorated floats and dancers for the festival parade.
Chiang Mai Flower Festival, 3 – 5 February, 2017, Chiang Mai, Thailand
World famous for its elaborate masks, traditionally crafted by local artisans in Venice, the Carnival is an annual festival that has been running since the year 1162. Originally a celebration of the victory of a battle, then outlawed in 1797, the carnival made a comeback in 1979. Today Venice sees approximately 3 million mast-wearing, costumed visitors descend on the city’s streets and canals. Highlights include the most beautiful mask competition, the water parade and the Mestre Carnival Street Show.
Venice Carnival, 11 – 28 February, 2017, Venice, Italy
New York Fashion Week
Fashion shows may have originated in Paris, but New York was the first city to organise its shows seasonally, in 1943. Then in 1993, the shows were brought together to one location. Today, the fashion week showcases almost 100 designers, both American and international, over seven days. Members of the public can purchase tickets to some shows, but if you miss out on that, it’s worth visiting the venues just for the street style.
New York Fashion Week, 9 – 17 February, 2017, New York, USA
South West Craft Beer Festival
Do you like beer and fine weather? February is the perfect t time to visit the south west of Australia with the South West Craft Beer Festival in Busselton, south of Perth. The one day affair combines local craft breweries with food, music and often mighty fine weather. If beer isn’t your thing, keep going further south to the wineries of Margaret River.
South West Craft Beer Festival, 11 February, 2017, 11am – 6pm, Busselton, Western Australia
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
For two weeks in February and March, Sydney plays host to more than 80 events as part of the Sydney Mardi Gras. From art exhibitions to a showcase of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander culture, the annual pool party, an Equalitea Party, and of course the 39th annual parade, the Sydney Mardi Gras is a vibrant affair all about supporting, celebrating and creating equality for Australia’s LGBTQI culture and community.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, 17 February – 5 March, 2017, Sydney, Australia
Queensland Sunflower Fields
February is the time to head to Queensland. Not for swimming in the majestic coral sea (leave that until stinger season is over), but for heading west to the Darling Downs region west of Brisbane. Between Warwick and Towoomba, fields of towering sunflowers stretch for miles - a photographer's delight.
Sunflower Season, usually between November and March, Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia