A bouquet of festivals awaits

WHERE will the cultural hot spots and festivals be this year? Here is a sampling of 10 events.

Hong Kong, Feb. 18

Chinese New Year Parade. Flower displays, floats and dragon dancers dominate as revelers in the Tsim Sha Tsui area welcome in the year of the pig. Closer to home: San Francisco puts on its own night-illuminated parade for Chinese New Year on March 3;

New Orleans, Feb. 20


Mardi Gras. It’s Fat Tuesday, the last blast before Lent; Farther afield: Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Feb. 17-20;

Brussels, March 25

50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. Jazz in Europe features top musicians as part of extensive celebrations to mark the establishment of the European Community. Celebrations include exhibitions, fireworks and festivals throughout the year in EU member states;

Mexico City, March 15-31

Festival de Mexico en el Centro Historico. The event is one of Latin America’s top festivals, which includes opera, concerts, theater, art exhibits, dance productions and gourmet fare;

Lisse, Netherlands, March 22-May 20

Keukenhof Gardens. Touted as the world’s most famous spring-bulb garden, with over 7 million tulips and other flowers blooming; Closer to home: the National Cherry Blossom Festival, March 31-April 15, in Washington, D.C.;

Louisville, Ky., May 6


Kentucky Derby. Grab your fancy hat and your racing form and head to historic Churchill Downs racetrack;

Wimbledon, England, June 25-July 8

The Wimbledon tennis tournament. Pros square off on grass courts; Also: July 6, the Tour de France kicks off in London;

Washington, D.C., July 4


Celebrations include the National Independence Day Parade, a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra and a spectacular fireworks show; There are also big doings in Boston;

Detroit, Aug. 17-19

African World Festival. Three days of ethnic cuisine, entertainment, an African Family Village and Diaspora Marketplace that draw about 500,000 visitors annually;

New York City, November


The lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center;

-- Amy Hubbard