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May 12, 2017

Synonymous with blooming flowers and sunshine-filled, happy days, May is a great time to get out there and have some fun, wherever you may be.

From taking in a show of ships during Fleet Week in New York City to celebrating the rich heritage and smooth sounds of jazz in New Orleans, here are ten ways to thoroughly enjoy the month of May across the United States.

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Mingle with sailors during Fleet Week

Every May, 4,500-plus Navy sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen and women dock in the harbors of lower Manhattan for a week to explore a multitude of events taking place in their honor, in addition to New York City's typically action-packed lineup.

It all kicks off with the Parade of Ships, a sight to see as tall ships, warships, and historic military vessels cruise along the Hudson River. Afterwards, head over to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, where movie screenings and educational exhibits are on display all week long.

More info: www.navy.mil

Meet your new best friend at Woofstock

Find your new BFF, or just have a great time with your old one at Atlanta’s Woofstock, one of the largest pet adoption events in the southeast featuring activities for the whole family, pets included.

During the two full days of cuteness, enjoy live music, dog contests, a play area for the kids, pet vendors, arts and crafts, and a selection of delectable food truck treats. One of the over 50 non-profit rescue groups may convince you to add some love to your family.

More info: woofstockatl.com

Have an out-of-this-world experience at Joshua Tree National Park

Satisfy your extraterrestrial curiosity while enjoying spectacular stargazing at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California’s Mojave Desert.

Experience an epic weekend of engaging speakers at the annual Contact in the Desert conference, covering topics including UFO sightings, secret space programs, and government cover-up theories. It just might get you thinking about life on other planets in a whole new way.

More info: contactinthedesert.com

Eat, drink, and soak up the sun at the Nantucket Wine and Food Festival

The Nantucket Wine and Food Festival is an intimate gathering 30 miles off the coast of historic whaling capital Cape Cod.

Attend only if you love food, wine, history and breathtaking scenery, because this five-day event features over 50 events where food is prepared by renowned chefs and served with world class wines. Proceeds support local non-profits with a focus on the Nantucket Island youth.

More info: nantucketwinefestival.com

Critique some of the hottest movies pre-release

The Chicago Film Critics Film Festival offers a rare opportunity to take a sneak peak at films ranging from comedies and dramas to documentaries and short stories before they hit the big screen. Created by the Chicago Film Critics Association, the events take place at the historic Music Box Theatre, a destination in its own right.

More info: chicagofilmcritics.org

Burn calories in the City by the Bay

The Bay to Breakers 12K foot race began as an effort to unite the city after the horrific 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Outlandish costumes, local bands dotting the route, and the festive Finish Line Festival continue to embody the essence of the city — and maybe they’ll even inspire you to run a little bit faster than usual.

More info: zappisbaytobreaker.com

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Feast on creole cuisine, jazz, culture, and more jazz

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, "the country's very best music festival" according to Life Magazine, is New Orleans at its finest. Musical guests have included Duke Ellington, gospel singer Mahaila Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, and Ella Fitzgerald, to name a few.

More info: nojazzfest.com

Sing the blues with a mouth full of barbecue at Memphis in May

The Memphis in May International Festival at Tom Lee Park kicks off its almost month-long celebration with the Beale Street Music Festival, followed by the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest with three official categories: pork ribs, pork butt, and whole pig. The grand finale includes a half-marathon or 5K race to shed those extra party pounds.

More info: memphisinmay.org

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Witness the "Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” at the Kentucky Derby

Taking place since 1875 at the legendary Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, the Kentucky Derby is the crown jewel of American horse racing.

Bursting with tradition, from the ladies’ hats — some classy and fashionable, others gaudy and hilarious — to the flowing mint juleps and the rendition of "My Old Kentucky Home" performed by the University of Louisville Marching Band, make sure you don’t get too caught up and forget to place a bet on the winning horse.

Whether you can afford a seat in "Millionaire's Row" or just a general admission ticket, the "Race for the Roses" is the sports enthusiast’s experience of a lifetime.

More info: kentuckyderby.com

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Feel the need for speed at the Indianapolis 500

Advertised as the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500 automobile race, held every year over Memorial Day weekend, is considered part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport along with the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana since its inception in 1911, drivers race 200 laps for a distance of 500 miles.

Preliminary racing events and festivities start weeks before, and the IPL Festival Parade complete with celebrities, marching bands, floats, and more held the weekend of the big race should not be missed.

More info: indianapolismotorspeedway.com

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