Culture Guide USA - August
The ‘Dog Days’ of summer are upon us! And while August does bring with it some of the year’s hottest and muggiest weather, there is still plenty to see and do this month. Check out a state fair, a national park, an outdoor festival, or another summer movie release. Welcome to August in the USA – here’s a look back at – and forward to – some events of American past, present and future.
In 1969, almost 400,000 young people from across the country traveled to upstate New York to attend – what would arguably become – the most renowned outdoor concert in American history: Woodstock.
A celebration of music, peace, and love, the concert was staged, in part, as a reaction to America’s unpopular war in Vietnam. Held on a 600-acre farm, Woodstock featured an eclectic mix of rock, folk, jazz and blues from some of the era’s greatest musicians and groups. In all, 32 bands performed over the course of four days.
The concert – which featured some of Rock-and-Roll’s most iconic performances, from the likes of the Grateful Dead, The Who, Janis Joplin and guitar legend Jimmy Hendrix – became a cultural phenomenon.
While no concert since has quite recaptured the spirit of Woodstock, a number of summer festivals including Burning Man, Coachella, Lollapalooza, and SXSW (South by Southwest) continue the tradition of outdoor celebrations of music, art, and creation.
The Summer Olympics
Faster, Higher, Stronger – no international sporting event can match the history or prestige of the Olympics.
No, the Olympics aren’t in the U.S. this year but, that doesn’t mean you can’t get excited about them! The Olympics are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate national pride and international community. Find a TV, get your friends and co-workers together, and cheer on your home country. As a warm-up, here are a few of the greatest athletes to represent America in the Summer Olympic Games:
Jessie Owens: At the 1936 Berlin Games, Jesse Owens shocked many by outrunning and outjumping the rest of the field on his way to four gold medals. Since his landmark victory, Americans have celebrated Owens with countless tributes: everything from movies and stadiums, to awards, and asteroids have made about, dedicated to, and named in his honor.
Mark Spitz: Before Michael Phelps’ time, Mark Spitz was America’s king of the pool. At the 1972 Games in Munich, ‘Mark the Shark’ won 7 gold medals and set 7 world records – one for each event in which he competed. Before Spitz, no athlete had won that many gold medals in a single Olympic Games. The record stood until 2008, when Phelps won 8 in Beijing.
Carl Lewis: Carl Lewis was one of the most dominant track and field stars ever. Over the course of four Olympic Games from 1984-1996, he won 10 medals, nine of them gold. For 12 years, no one could run faster or jump father than Lewis, earning him the distinction of being named Sportsman of the Century by the International Olympic Committee.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee: One of the greatest female athletes of the 20th century, Jackie Joyner won six medals, three of them gold over four different Olympics. Twice, Joyner won gold in the Heptathlon – a contest made up of seven events, including hurdles, sprinting, jumping, shot put, and javelin. She still holds the world record for most points in the event from her 1988 performance in Seoul, South Korea.
Here are a few athletes from Team USA to keep your eye on this summer in London.
Michael Phelps, Swimming: With 16 medals already hanging in his trophy room, Phelps is only three medals away from becoming the most prolific Olympian of all time. With his abilities, there’s a good chance that it will happen!
Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, Beach Volleyball: Walsh and May-Treanor are two of the best volleyball players around. Check out their skills and temporary tattoos on display this summer.
Tyson Gay, Track and Field: The fastest man in the U.S. and the second fastest on the planet (behind the dazzling Usain Bolt), Gay is one of a few Americans vying for gold in the 100-meter dash. But he’ll likely have to pull out the performance of his career to make it happen.
Statue of Liberty
Standing guard over, and lighting the way into New York harbor, is America’s most recognizable monument: The Statue of Liberty. On August 5th, 1884, the cornerstone to the pedestal the statue stands upon was laid.
Modeled after the Roman Goddess of Freedom, ‘Lady Liberty’ measures 46 meters from her sandaled feet, to the torch she holds aloft. The statue was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi as a gift to the U.S. from the people of France, to mark the Centennial celebration of signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The sculpture is constructed from copper skin laid upon a framework of iron supports. While oxidation turned Lady Liberty her iconic greenish blue color around the early 1900s, the statue was initially the dull, ruddy brown of a penny. Amazingly, the entire sculpture was constructed in France, broken down into pieces, and then shipped to the U.S. to be reconstructed.
While the body is currently closed for repairs – you can still explore Liberty Island (where the statue stands) and nearby Ellis Island where millions of immigrants entered the U.S. during the beginning of the last century.
Parks of Utah
Amazing hiking and biking trails, unbelievable topography, and dozens of canyoneering routes (hiking/rappelling/swimming through narrow canyons filled with obstacles), the parks of Utah have some of the richest sightseeing and recreational offerings in America. Here’s a quick look at three of our favorites:
Zion: Designated in 1919, Zion is Utah's oldest national park. The park is known for its incredible canyons and spectacular views. Famous hikes including The Narrows, Subway, and Angels Landing attract adventure enthusiasts from around the world. Hiking possibilities are endless. With nearly three million visitors per year, Zion is Utah's most heavily used park. Most park facilities are located in the Zion Canyon area, and it attracts the most visitors.
Bryce Canyon: Thousands of delicately carved spires rise in brilliant color from the amphitheaters of Bryce Canyon National Park. Millions of years of wind, water and geologic mayhem have shaped and etched the pink cliffs at Bryce, which isn't actually a canyon but the eastern slope of the Paunsaguant Plateau.
Arches: Arches National Park contains the world's largest concentration of natural stone arches. This National Park is a red, arid desert, punctuated with oddly eroded sandstone forms such as fins, pinnacles, spires, balanced rocks, and arches. The 73,000-acre region has over 2,000 of these “miracles of nature.”
For more information or to plan your trip, visit: www.nps.gov