30 Free to See Festivals and Parades in the U.S.

You can celebrate everything from clams and rattlesnakes to flowers and the new year with our list of 20 free festivals and 10 free parades in the U.S. Get a sneak peek of the lists below, then visit us online (here and here) for the full lineup:


Potato Days Barnesville, Minnesota

The humble spud is at the epicenter of this celebration that features activities you’re not likely to see anywhere else—like mashed potato wrestling, potato sculpting, potato sack fashion shows, and the Miss Tater Tot contest. Barnesville in August is also the place to watch world-class experts in potato picking, potato peeling, and potato eating—while tasting a few delicacies of your own.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Mount Vernon, Washington

Only Mother Nature can say exactly when her tulips will bloom, so the folks in Skagit Valley set aside all of April each year to celebrate this colorful rite of spring. Millions of flowers are on display during a month of street fairs, art shows, art walks and tours, plant fairs, concerts, and other events.


The Philadelphia Mummers Parade Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The costumed revelers of this unique New Year’s Day tradition have paraded the streets of Philadelphia since the 1800s and trace their roots back to even older European traditions. Elaborately costumed dancers, drillers, and musicians entertain onlookers en route to City Hall, where judges select the best Fancies, Wenches, Comics, and String Bands.

The Rose Parade Pasadena, California

If the famous football game is the “Grandaddy of Them All,” then the Rose Parade must be the great-grandaddy: Walkers in the flower-filled event first took to the streets of Pasadena in 1890. Today’s parade is bigger and better than ever and rings in each new year with a celebrity Grand Marshall, elaborate floats, and a complement of the nation’s very best marching bands.

Help us build our list! Tell us about your favorite (and free!) festival or parade in the U.S. or the world. Leave the details in the comments section below.

Photo: Manasi Amberker/My Shot

Sponsored by Toyota Venza

[Introducing Free to See]

[20 Free to See Food & Drink Events]

[20 Free to See Animal Viewing Spots]


  1. honia
    September 9, 2011, 4:30 pm


  2. Kelsey Foster
    New Orleans, LA
    September 9, 2011, 1:19 pm

    French Quarter Festival
    Po’Boy Festival
    Seafood Festival
    Barbeque and Blues Festival
    Southern Decadence
    Mardi Gras

    The list goes on! New Orleans is the most festive place on earth!

  3. Gwenn Roch
    Houston, TX
    September 6, 2011, 11:10 am

    Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania