Summer fun that is close to home

Staff Writer

Summer is prime vacation season when travelers take trips to every corner of the world. While faraway destinations abound, those looking for fun can also find enjoyable activities much closer to home.

Many communities come alive during the warmer weather, hosting an array of locally driven events. People looking for a day of entertainment or an evening of excitement may be able to find an event that's just a short car ride away. Pick up a local newspaper or log on to your town's official website to browse a listing of events in your community this summer. Here are a few events you're bound to find.

· Carnivals and fun fairs: Open land or empty parking lots can be transformed into bustling carnivals in a matter of days. Carnivals or fairs may be sponsored by private businesses or local religious organizations looking to raise funds. Some fairs are established by the county and attract participants from near and far. Carnivals often boast a wide array of entertainment, from amusement park-style rides to games of chance to music.

· Summer concert series: Summer concerts series typically begin when the weather warms up, and music may not stop playing until Labor Day. Concerts may range from more intimate affairs that attract a few dozen people to a town square to larger events at beaches and boardwalks that draw thousands of visitors.

· Food festivals: Various towns close down their Main Streets from time to time to accommodate food festivals that feature a variety of cuisines. Some food festivals may feature one ingredient, such as garlic or cheese, while others may delve deeper and offer broader menus. Food festivals allow visitors to sample many different treats and may serve to advertise for neighborhood eating establishments.

· Street fairs: Street fairs also may close down thoroughfares in town. These events usually bring together a variety of vendors selling their wares in an open market setting. You can make a day of touring all of the vendor booths and buying handmade items from local artisans.

· Outdoor movies: Local parks frequently host summer movie nights when participants can view a movie on the big screen while under the stars. This can be an informal way to get the entire family together for a fun flick. Films are typically family-friendly and schedules are available well in advance. Bring a blanket and some snacks and enjoy an inexpensive evening together.

Many people need not travel far for a little summertime fun, as many communities host fun events throughout the warmer months.

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