Around the U.S. and world: Lights, poetry and action

Arizona -- Lake Havasu's Boat Parade of Lights, Dec. 6 and 7, is set against the lake's most famous landmark: London Bridge. Dozens of lavishly lighted boats will parade under the bridge and past English Village. Best viewing spots include Rotary Beach, London Bridge Beach and English Village. Contact Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau, 314 London Bridge Road, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403; (800) 242-8278,

Florida -- This year's Art Deco Weekend, Jan. 16-18 in Miami Beach, will focus on Art Deco residences built in the 1930s and 1940s. Events include 34 walking tours, four boat tours, antique auto parade and show, lectures on tropical Deco and Mediterranean Deco styles and a festival of movies with Art Deco sets. Also check out the vendors on Ocean Drive selling Art Deco furniture, accessories and jewelry. (This year, merchandise will be juried.) Contact the Miami Design Preservation League, P.O. Box 190180, Miami Beach, FL 33119; (305) 672-2014,

Nevada -- The 20th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Jan. 24- 31 in Elko, will bring back poets and musicians featured in its first festival in 1985, including Baxter Black, Don Edwards and Waddell Mitchell. The festival will include the American Buckaroo Orchestra performing the Cowboy Symphony and workshops on blacksmithing, songwriting, transforming memories, Western swing dancing and cowboy cooking. Exhibits will include "The Mongolian Horseman," on one of the last horse-based cultures in the world. Contact Western Folklife Center, 501 Railroad St., Elko, NV 89801; (888) 880-5885,

New Jersey -- The ideal time to explore the restored Victorian homes that are the pride of the seaside resort town of Cape May is during the holidays. The highlights of festivities, held through Jan. 4, are the Christmas Candlelight House Tours on Dec. 6, 13 and 20. The $20 self-guided tours take in more than 20 homes, hotels, inns and churches decorated in period fashion. Other activities include home tours by trolley; tours of the Emlen Physick Estate, a mansion built in 1879; and craft shows, brass band concerts, holiday theater and caroling. Contact the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, P.O. Box 340, Cape May, NJ 08204; (800) 275-4278,

Virginia -- The holidays are celebrated at Mount Vernon as they were in George Washington's time. The first president's mansion will be decorated in authentic greenery and table settings. During the Mount Vernon by Candlelight evenings (Dec. 5-7 and 12-14), carolers will gather around a bonfire, and hot cider and cookies made from an 18th century recipe will be served. This is the only time of year visitors are permitted to view the third floor, where Martha Washington moved after her husband's death in 1799. Contact George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, Mount Vernon, VA 22121; (703) 780-2000,

Canada -- Carnaval de Quebec, Jan. 1-Feb. 14 in Quebec City, will mark its 50th year. This year's festival includes night parades, snow baths (similar to a polar bear plunge), ice fishing, skating, concerts, an international snow sculpture show and a giant foosball game. Contact Quebec Carnival, 290 Rue Joly, Quebec, Quebec G1L 1N8; (418) 621-5555,

Bahamas -- Junkanoo, a Bahamian festival similar to Mardi Gras, will be celebrated on Boxing Day, Dec. 26, and New Year's morning -- in the middle of the night. From 4-10 a.m., thousands of costumed dancers and musicians will parade through the streets, competing for prizes. The major parade is in Nassau, but smaller processions are staged in Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Bimini and Abaco islands. Some reserved bleacher seating is available. Junkanoo is thought to have started in the 16th or 17th centuries, when slaves were given three days off for the holidays. Contact Bahamas Tourist Office, 3450 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1204, Los Angeles, CA 90010; (800) 422-4262 or (213) 385-0033,

-- Ellen Melinkoff

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