Summer fun: 5 fab festivals - United Hub
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Summer fun: 5 fab festivals

By Bob Cooper, July 14, 2016

Travel, festivals and summertime go together like bacon, lettuce and tomato. Many of America's biggest and best festivals are in the weeks ahead in places that are also a delight to explore in the days before or after festival dates. Here are five summer festivals worthy of a trip.

View of the Art Festival on the streets in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Art festival — Ann Arbor, Michigan

It's a good thing that the 58th annual Ann Arbor Art Fair (July 20-24) happens when most University of Michigan students have gone home for the summer, because the six-figure crowds that flock to the free festival need the parking spots. Artists are spread over 30 blocks in the heart of the city at the university and on downtown streets, which you can walk or negotiate rides via free shuttle buses. Throughout the festival's four days, juried art of every kind is on display, along with concerts and street performances. Ann Arbor is a 40-minute drive from Detroit Metro Airport.

Several different beers on a table at the Beer Festival in Portland, Oregon

Beer festival — Portland, Oregon

Whether it's coffee, wine or beer, they take their liquids seriously in the Pacific Northwest — maybe because so much comes down from the sky. But there's nothing watered down about the liquids poured at the 30th Oregon Brewers Festival (July 26-30). Eighty-eight U.S. craft brewers, plus 23 more from abroad in the International Beer Garden, are represented in this celebration of suds. There's no admission charge; you only pay $7 for a souvenir mug, plus $5 per beer or $1 per taste. Live music, home brewing demonstrations and handcrafted root beer (for designated drivers) are also on tap. Attended by about 80,000, the six-block-long outdoor festival occupies a waterfront park in downtown Portland.

Multiple hot air balloons in the sky at the balloon festival.

Balloon festival — Readington, New Jersey

Over its 35 years, the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning (July 28-30) has ascended to become America's biggest summertime hot-air balloon festival, attracting about 50,000 balloon lovers per day. Besides pointing their cameras skyward to capture the spectacle of 100 sport and specialty balloons, which lift off twice daily at 6:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m., there is a plethora of other entertainment: take balloon rides, enjoy live music (2017 headliners: Jake Miller & Bobby Clark and Chris Condel), take the kids to the carnival rides and family shows, admire Friday fireworks, and lace up for the Running With the Balloons 5K on Sunday. It all happens at Solberg Airport, a 90-minute drive from either New York's JFK Airport or Philadelphia International Airport.

Lobster rolls in Rockland, Maine

Lobster festival — Rockland, Maine

Billed as “five days of feasting and fun," the Maine Lobster Festival (August 2-6) is among America's most popular summer food festivals. The feasting involves 20,000 pounds of lobster, served to festival-goers and used in the cooking contest. The fun includes nonstop entertainment (Smash Mouth and Diamond Rio are headliners), a crate race (a daring dash over floating lobster crates), a Marine Experience tent (with a touch tank for kids), a Sea Goddess pageant, a beer-and-wine-tasting event, carnival rides, a Saturday parade and a Sunday road run (one-mile to 10K). Rockland is a one-hour, 40-minute drive up the coast from Portland International Jetport.

View of Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago

Music festivals — Chicago, Illinois

Two overlapping major outdoor music festivals span most of the summer in the Chicago area, so you can easily attend both on the same trip. Classical music fans adore the Grant Park Music Festival (through August 19), an 82-year tradition with several classical concerts each week in Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago. Simultaneously in the northern suburb of Highland Park, the Ravinia Festival (through September 17) offers classical artists — including Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma and leading opera singers — as well as pop musicians ranging from Tony Bennett and Bonnie Raitt to Seal. The nightly outdoor concert series at 36-acre Ravinia Park is America's oldest, dating back to 1904.

If you go

United Airlines flies to all of these cities or cities nearby. Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your festival trip.

United Awards Free Flights for a Year to Winners of "Your Shot to Fly" Sweepstakes

Grand prize winners live in Bradenton, FL; Cleveland, OH; Goodyear, AZ; Oakland, CA and San Francisco, CA
By United Newsroom, July 29, 2021

CHICAGO, July 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced the five lucky grand prize winners of its "Your Shot to Fly" sweepstakes, who will each get to fly anywhere in the world United flies with a companion over the course of the next year. The winners of the "Your Shot to Fly" sweepstakes are:

  • Ashley Cronkhite from Bradenton, FL
  • Robert Simicak from Cleveland, OH
  • Sean Husmoe from Goodyear, AZ
  • Lauren Aldredge from Oakland CA
  • Lauren M. from San Francisco, CA

The sweepstakes was in support of the Biden administration's ongoing national effort to encourage more people to get their COVID-19 vaccination and encouraged United's MileagePlus® loyalty members to upload their vaccine records to United. In less than a month, more than one million MileagePlus members uploaded their vaccine cards to the United app and website for a shot to win one of the grand prizes. In June the airline awarded 30 first prize winners with a pair of roundtrip tickets anywhere United flies.

United First U.S. Airline to Offer Economy Customers Option to Pre-Order Snacks and Beverages

New pre-order option builds on the airline's contactless payment technology and is another example of the customer experience transformation underway at United
By United Newsroom, July 28, 2021

CHICAGO, July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Starting today on select flights, all United customers – no matter what cabin of service they're flying in – can use the airline's award-winning mobile app and website to pre-order meals, snacks and beverages up to five days before they're scheduled to travel. United is the first and only U.S. airline to offer economy customers the option to pre-order snacks and beverages, a reflection of the customer experience transformation underway at the airline.



United Airlines to Operate More than 40 Weekly Flights as England Re-Opens to U.S. Travelers

In August, United is adding a second daily flight from Washington, D.C. to London
By United Newsroom, July 28, 2021

CHICAGO, July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- With today's announcement of England reopening to fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. beginning Aug 2, United Airlines is making it easier for business and leisure customers to jet across the pond with the addition of flights to London. In August, United will have six daily flights between the U.S. and London, including a second daily flight from Washington, D.C. and increasing service from Houston to daily. United looks forward to resuming additional London service in the coming months as well as launching new nonstop service between Boston and London. Customers traveling to England must be fully vaccinated in the U.S. with vaccines that have been approved by the FDA and must take a test before departure as well as a PCR test within the first two days of arrival. Passengers vaccinated in the U.S. will also need to complete a passenger locator form prior to traveling to England and provide proof of U.S. residency.

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