February Festivities

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

As you dive farther into the month of February, it’s time to notice that there are a ton of events going on this month. For those of you who love dogs, you can concentrate on the 2013 Dog Show that is going on today and tomorrow. For the party people out there, Mardi Gras is on Tuesday so I’m sure you’re ready celebrate that occasion! Now, to all the couples and single people who have dates, Valentine’s Day is on Thursday, so don’t waste any time preparing for that special someone!

America’s Dog Show

“The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a celebration of the wonderful canine spirit, reflecting our emotional and spiritual attachment to our dogs.” Established in 1877, The Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. Even today, people still think very highly of this dog show. According to the kennel club’s website, under the section ABOUT THE WKC: America’s Dog Show, “It is still the greatest collection of dogs assembled each year in the same place at the same time. From the opening moments when the 2,500-plus champions begin to compete in 173 different breed and varieties, to the final crowning of the Best In Show dog, it is the great sport of dogs at its very best.” This year marks the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and for the first time ever, the Westminster show will take place in two different venues. “Breed judging, benching and Junior Showmanship preliminary competition will take place during the days Monday and Tuesday at Piers 92/94 in New York, located at West 55th Street and the West Side Highway (12th Avenue). Group and Best In Show judging, as well as the Junior Showmanship Finals, will be held at Madison Square Garden on Monday and Tuesday evenings, as has been the case virtually every year since the show began in 1877.” Here are some fun facts about the show’s history:

  • First held in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is America’s second-longest continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby..
  • Westminster pre-dates the invention of the light bulb and the automobile, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument, the invention of basketball and the establishment of the World Series.
  • The first telecast of Westminster was in 1948, three years before “I Love Lucy” premiered.
  • There have been a total of 303,756 dogs entered in Westminster’s 136 shows through 2012.
  • In 1884, The Westminster Kennel Club became the first member of the American Kennel Club.

For a complete list of facts, see: Show Information. To see highlights from the 2012 Westminster Dog show, watch this video:

Fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, which is the night before Lenten Season begins. People generally use this night to eat the last of their richer, fatty foods, before they begin a ritual fasting on Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras Season, or Carnival Season, is celebrated by wearing masks and costumes, attending parades, dancing, having sports competitions, and etc. The festival season varies from city to city because some people celebrate it more as a season, rather than a three day period. Also, the celebrations are bigger in some cities than they are in others. New Orleans, for example, is home to one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations. According to Mardi Gras History and Traditions, “Mardi Gras is music, parades, picnics, floats, excitement…and one big holiday in New Orleans! Everyone is wearing purple, green, and gold, and adorned with long beads caught from the beautiful floats. They sit on the ground throwing balls, playing music, having a picnic, and watching the crowds walk by between parades.” Here are the top 10 Mardi Gras Traditions in New Orleans:

  • Mardi Gras Indians – Most tribes simply act out a scene when passing other tribes.  Someone is designated to be the Spy, the Flag boy and the Big Chief and these tribes led processions through the streets. Indians do not follow any schedule or parade route and a rare thing to see on Mardi Gras.
  • The Flambeaux – The Flambeaux put on their own show in front of the riders, dancing and doing tricks with the torches.
  • Mardi Gras Balls – An elaborate, formal ball, during the carnival season. Some are private invitation only and some allow anyone to purchase a ticket.
  • Masked Riders – Masked riders pass by on the floats, which gives the parades a mysterious, if not slightly ominous, air. This tradition isn’t exactly a tradition. It actually dates back to a law passed by the city of New Orleans that stated any float rider was to wear a face mask during a parade.
  • King Cake – Traditionally, a King Cake is an oval shaped coffee cake, braided and covered in icing and purple, green and gold sugar.
  • The Golden Nugget – Coconuts that are the most sought after throw in any Mardi Gras parade.
  • Doubloons – Doubloons predate Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. They were actually the first type of coins minted in America and go back as far as the early 1700s.
  • Beads and Throws – The tradition of throwing beads and small trinkets from the parade floats dates back almost as long as the parades themselves. Today, you can catch almost anything from a masked rider- stuffed animals, plastic cups, small toys and even bags to hold all your goodies.
  • The Mardi Gras Colors (Purple, Green and Gold) – The purple, green and gold seen everywhere during carnival season can be attributed to Rex, the original daytime Mardi Gras krewe. In 1872, members of Rex took inspiration from a visit by the Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff to New Orleans. Purple stands for justice, green for faith and gold for power. Today, the Mardi Gras colors are seen on everything from costumes, to beads to throws.
  • Krewes and Their Royalty – A Krewe is the word for an organization that creates the balls and parades during Mardi Gras. Each Krewe has several members and a captain. Krewes are practically a secret society in New Orleans. Throughout the year, the Krewe builds floats and holds meetings in secret, on the day of their parade they ride as masked riders.

For more information on these traditions, see: Top 10 Mardi Gras Traditions. If you’re going to be somewhere else besides New Orleans, you may be wondering how to celebrate Mardi Gras. Well, the My Explore Hertz NeverLost Mobile Companion supports 12 cities and can be your guide! Check out events, explore neighborhoods, and find the tour that is right for you! Enjoy the festivities! I think I’ll use the app to decide where in Dallas I should celebrate this year! Check out these pictures of me and my friends from Mardi Gras 2011 and Mardi Gras 2012.

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Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is this Thursday, February 14th, 2013. Are you prepared for this special day? I sure hope so! Whether you’re playing it safe or going all out for an extravagant date, the day will be remembered for a while. Do you ever think about taking a vacation for this romantic holiday to step up your game a bit? Even if you can’t make it happen this year, you could always work towards it for next year’s plan. According to the Romance and Honeymoons section on the TravelChannel, two places to visit for a sweet and sexy Valentine’s Day adventure, are New York and San Francisco. These cities (which are both supported by My Explore), are perfect for romance because they each offer such unique experiences. For example, New York offers everything from “horse-drawn carriage rides through Central Park to Eskimo kisses on the ice rink at Rockefeller Center.”  You can even get tips on how to spend your Valentine’s Day in New York by reading the article “Romancing The Apple With Hertz NeverLost My Explore,” by Destinations Travel Magazine. If you would rather try out your luck with romance in California, then I suggest you “Woo your Valentine with chocolate, champagne and some canoodling penguins in flirty San Francisco.” You could also stroll around town and take a food tour with Gourmet Walks. Whatever you decide, I’m sure romance will be in the air! For more information on what places to visit and what to do when you get there, see the article, “Valentine’s Day Vacations: Plan a Romantic Getaway.” I hope everyone has a good time with that special someone this Thursday! Also, if you’re living the single life this year, don’t get discouraged because you can enjoy this time of the year as well.  Check out 8 tips on How to Enjoy Life as a Single Person on Valentine’s Day! To get in the spirit of romance, watch this Disney Animated Short Film, called “Paperman.” (It’s adorable!)

Now that you know what events are taking place this month, I hope you can find some time to enjoy the festivities!!

Melissa Woodring 🙂


2 comments on “February Festivities

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    June 20, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the
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