Calendar of festivals

A woman being made up to look like a tree at the World Body Painting festival, which will take place this year at Klagenfurt am Worthersee in Austria.
A woman being made up to look like a tree at the World Body Painting festival, which will take place this year at Klagenfurt am Worthersee in Austria.PHOTO: WBF_BERND ULLRICH_NADJA HLUCHOVSKY


A 51/2-hour drive east of Cape Town, near a forested headland in the heart of the famed Garden Route, lies the town of Knysna.

It is home to one of South Africa's most popular festivals. Since 1983, the annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival has celebrated the region's sweet, succulent oysters with tented pop-up food halls, oyster and wine pairings, Braai (barbecue) competitions, and honorary specials at local restaurants.

This year's deals include six medium oysters and a glass of Van Loveren Sauvignon Blanc for 99 rand (S$10.50) at PiliPili Beach Bar; three large oysters with passionfruit Skyy Vodka-infused granita for 49 rand at The Drydock Food Co fine-dining restaurant; and three cocktail coastal oysters with a splash of Olmeca Extra Matured Tequila for 25 rand at Tapas & Oysters restaurant.

The festival also celebrates sports and hosts a cycling tour, obstacle course, full and half marathons, and a golf tournament.

Children will enjoy paint ball, bungee trampolines, a mechanical bull ride contest, giant slides and inflatable castles.

When: July 7 to 16


A highlight of the Balinese cultural calendar, the Bali Kites Festival starts next month, with kite events and competitions taking place around Bali every few weeks until October.

The festival marks the arrival of the dry season and was originally held to celebrate a healthy harvest. Thousands of kites take to the skies, soaring and swooping over beaches, paddy fields and thousands of spectators.

In recent years, the kite flying has taken on a competitive edge and hundreds of Balinese kite troupes and international teams showcase traditional and modern kites in all shapes and sizes. A kite can measure anywhere from 4m and some have tails that are more than 100m long.

While visitors will likely see kites flying across the island throughout the dry, windy season, the main events take place in and around Padang Galak Beach, north of Sanur, including the opening of the festival early next month.

When: July 7 to 9


The Zoroastrian influence of Persian merchants is still felt in Zanzibar, an island off the Tanzanian coast where Swahili people celebrate the Mwaka Kogwa festival in honour of the Shirazi New Year.

Best experienced in the town of Makunduchi in southern Zanzibar, the four-day celebration includes the ceremonial burning of thatched roof huts and mock fights among men who whip each other with long stalks of a banana plant. Everyone takes turns fighting, which is meant for them to air grievances and settle disagreements so that the new year can start afresh.

As the men fight, women dressed in their best dance around them, singing traditional songs. When: July 15 to 21 Info:


In the 1930s, celebrated author Ernest Hemingway called Key West, an island in Florida, home. It is where the avid sportsman is said to have found his love of deep-sea fishing and where he worked on some of his most well-known novels, including A Farewell To Arms and For Whom The Bell Tolls.

The house where he lived with his sons and wife Pauline still stands, as does one of his favourite haunts, Sloppy Joe's Bar.

Every year, in honour of his birthday, Hemingway enthusiasts gather in Key West to celebrate the author through plays, visits to his home and writing studio, a short story competition, a "running with the bulls" parade, and a deep-sea blue marlin fishing tournament that offers cash prizes of more than US$250,000 (S$347,000).

The highlight is a Hemingway Look-Alike contest, which is held at Sloppy Joe's and attracts more than 100 hopefuls every year, even though there is no cash prize.

When: July 18 to 23


Nestled in the Eastern Alps of Austria near the borders of Italy and Slovenia, the region of Carinthia is known for its Mediterranean climate, pristine landscapes and world-class body art.

This year, the lakeside town of Klagenfurt am Worthersee will host the 20th anniversary of the World Body Painting festival, where artists from 50 countries compete in the transformative art of painting elaborate scenes, characters and landscapes on naked bodies.

More than 30,000 people turn up for the family-friendly event to attend workshops and demonstrations, and admire the body-paint creations.

When: July 28 to 30

Lydia Vasko

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 25, 2017, with the headline 'Calendar of festivals'. Print Edition | Subscribe