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Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota

Wyoming, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Nevada, California

6 U.S. Summer Festivals and Events With Incredibly Passionate Followings

By: Valerie Conners

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  • States:
    Wyoming
    Pennsylvania
    South Dakota
    Nevada
    California

The USA comes alive during the summer.

The USA displays its wealth of cultures in fun and engaging summer celebrations across the country. Many are eclectic and spirited festivals, where locals and visitors immerse themselves in shared passions. Here are six incredible events that shouldn’t be missed.

Cheyenne Frontier Days — Cheyenne, Wyoming

Join rodeo fanatics, sip a cold beer and gawk at tough-as-nails, hat-wearing cowboys at Cheyenne Frontier Days, a 10-day bonanza in Wyoming’s capital city. Held every July, the celebration ranks as the world's largest outdoor rodeo. More than 250,000 people attend the festivities, including the main event, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo. Wild West culture thrives at the rodeo, and spectators should prepare for heart-pounding adrenaline rushes during bull riding, bareback bronc riding and other events.

Experience Cheyenne Frontier Days

Experience Cheyenne Frontier Days
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Battle of Gettysburg Reenactment — Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

In 1863, more than 160,000 soldiers fought in the Battle of Gettysburg, leading to as many as 51,000 casualties during the three-day battle of the U.S. Civil War. Historians say the event — and the Union's victory — was the war’s turning point. Every July, on or near the anniversary, it's possible to relive the devastating fight at Gettysburg National Military Park, 230 kilometers west of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The respectful crowd grows quiet and its anticipation is electric as thousands of official reenactors take part in skirmishes and reenactments, including Pickett's Charge.

Cavalry reenacting the Battle of Gettysburg

Cavalry reenacting the Battle of Gettysburg
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Sturgis Motorcycle Rally — Sturgis, South Dakota

Fire up your engines at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where hundreds of thousands of leather- and jeans-clad bikers and bike enthusiasts gather every August to celebrate motorcycle culture. Since 1938, the rally has taken place in the tiny town of Sturgis (population less than 7,000), 45 kilometers north of Rapid City, South Dakota. A shiny, metallic sea of bikes fills the town’s streets, and the crowd can sometimes grow rowdy as it embraces seven days dedicated to biker culture. Attendees can also enjoy laid-back exploration of winding roads throughout South Dakota's Black Hills region or day trips to Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Badlands National Park.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
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Burning Man — Black Rock Desert, Nevada

Every August, an otherwise uninhabited slice of Nevada desert, some 228 kilometers north of Reno, transforms into Black Rock City, home to Burning Man. For this nine-day event, tens of thousands of people create a temporary metropolis founded on principles of community, art, self-expression and self-reliance. Surrealist sculptures and installations spring to life while techno music blares and a creative culture like no other is born. The finale? A fiery, ceremonial burn of an installation of a man.

Sculptures made for Burning Man

Sculptures made for Burning Man
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Theresa Lord Jenkin
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San Francisco Pride — San Francisco, California

Wave your rainbow flag in San Francisco, California, which hosts the nation's largest and most colorful gay pride celebration, San Francisco Pride. The two-day event attracts more than 1 million people, and honors the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience with 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors and more than 20 community-run stages and venues. Held the last weekend of June, the celebration's highlight is the parade, a wild exhibition of color, barely-there costumes, music and dance.

San Francisco Pride parade balloon contingent

San Francisco Pride Parade Balloon Contingent
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San Francisco Travel Association/Scott Chernis

Comic-Con International — San Diego, California

Unleash your inner geek and embrace quirky comics and sci-fi culture at Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. More than 100,000 attendees — many wearing elaborate costumes — descend on downtown every July. The four-day event attracts the writers and artists as well as the world's top comic book publishers, movie studio executives and Hollywood stars. Meet your heroes and other like-minded superfans at Q&A sessions, movie screenings, autograph sessions and costume competitions.

The very best cosplay of San Diego Comic-Con 2015

The very best cosplay of San Diego Comic-Con 2015
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