A Handy Tribute to a Blues Master in Alabama

The W.C. Handy Music Festival, July 29 to Aug. 4 in Florence, Ala., pays homage to the town's famous son. The opening ceremonies will be at the Father of the Blues' birthplace and museum, followed by more than 150 blues, jazz and gospel events, 80% of them free, held all over the area from street corners to concert halls. Percy Sledge is the headliner. Florence is in the northwest corner of Alabama. For more information, contact the Music Preservation Society, P.O. Box 1827, Florence, AL 35631; telephone (256) 766-7642, Internet http://www.wchandyfest.com.


Taking a cue from New York's and Chicago's cows and Los Angeles' angels, more than 40 fiberglass lobsters, each 5 feet tall, will be displayed throughout Rockland in July. The lobsters will be hand-painted and decorated by Maine artists and placed in parks, shopping areas, museum grounds and downtown. One lobster will have a Web cam embedded in its belly. A map is available at the Chamber of Commerce office in Harbor Park. The lobsters will be auctioned at the end of summer. For more information, contact the Rockland-Thomaston Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 508, Rockland, ME 04841; tel. (207) 596-0376, http://www.rocklandlobsters.com.


Every summer, the townspeople of Pipestone, a small town in southwest Minnesota, bring to life Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "The Song of Hiawatha," which mentions the local red stone quarry, once a sacred Indian burial ground. The pageant takes place July 20 to 22, July 27 to 29 and Aug. 3 to 5 in a natural amphitheater at Pipestone National Monument and incorporates the lake into the scenery. This 53-year-old tradition has recently been improved with a new sound system and more comfortable seats. Advance tickets are recommended. Contact the Hiawatha Club, P.O. Box 1, Pipestone, MN 56164; tel. (507) 825-4126, http://www.pipestoneminnesota.com.


Mystic Seaport celebrates Herman Melville's birthday (Aug. 1) with a 24-hour marathon reading of "Moby Dick," beginning at noon July 31. It takes that long to read the classic cover-to-cover, with each reader taking a chapter; visitors can sign up to be part of the reading. Readers and listeners will gather on the deck of the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in the world, which is a permanent part of the Seaport's collection. For more information, contact Mystic Seaport, P.O. Box 6000, Mystic, CT 06355; tel. (860) 572-0711, http://www.mysticseaport.org.

New York

On Stone House Day, July 14, in the old Dutch village of Hurley in the mid-Hudson Valley, eight historic homes will be opened for public tours, the only time all year. Settled in 1661 and named "Nieuw Dorp" ("new village") by the Dutch, Hurley boasts 24 National Historic Landmark stone houses, all private residences. Tour homes include Spy House, where a British courier charged as a spy was held before hanging; Van Deusen House, once used as the state capitol; Patentee Manor, with a kitchen dating to the 1690s; and a 1790 parsonage. Guides at each site wear Colonial dress and regale visitors with tales of ghosts, spies and Indian attacks. For more information, contact Stone House Day, P.O. Box 328, Hurley, NY 12443; tel. (845) 338-2283.


At the World Championship Timber Carnival, July 1 to 4 in Albany, lumberjacks from around the world will compete for cash prizes in contests such as bucking, birling, speed climbing and ax throwing. The finale is a race to fell 100-foot spar poles. Other activities include a parade, horse pull, tractor pull and helicopter rides. Contact the Albany Timber Carnival, P.O. Box 1540, Albany, OR 97321; tel. (541) 928-2391, http://www.timbercarnival.com.

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