January 3-6: The New York Boat Show takes over the immense Javits Center, showcasing everything from kayaks to luxury yachts. This 108-year-old event is one of the largest of its kind, drawing hundreds of exhibitors.
January 15-17: Bor Sang, Thailand, explodes with color during the annual Umbrella Festival. Shops in this village near Chiang Mai display paper parasols in an array of colors and sizes, many with ornately painted decorations.
January 16-19: Undaunted by the weather, top international polo players converge on France’s Val d’Isère for the Polo Masters. This unique tournament takes place on a field of snow, adding an extra layer of difficulty as the horses sometimes struggle to retain their footing. The snow polo moves to Megève January 24-27, and Courchevel January 31-February 3.
January 17-20: The Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia, hosts the annual Victoria Whisky Festival, drawing dozens of highly regarded distilleries. Participants can attend master classes, whisky dinners and, of course, several major tasting events.
January 20: Below the dramatic castle of Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, bread-hatted youths process through the streets for the annual Festa das Fogaceiras. This parade of the town’s young people — dressed in white and wearing headgear made of pastry — fulfills a 16th-century vow made to St. Sebastian to end an epidemic.
January 26: Celebrate Australia Day, Australia’s biggest national holiday, in proper style in Sydney. At 11 a.m., watch brightly decorated ferry boats race from Circular Quay to Shark Island. A sailing regatta extends into the early evening, followed by an impressive fireworks display over the harbor.
January 26: No winter coats will be in evidence at the 25th annual Taste of Cayman, a celebration of local Caribbean cuisine (and imported wine). This year’s theme is “All Things Cayman.”
January 26-28: Gourmands can sample some of New Zealand’s finest seafood, wine and beer during the annual Auckland Seafood Festival, set on Halsey Wharf. The “VIP Experience” includes Champagne on arrival, priority access to the festival, access to the VIP Marquee tent and a dedicated VIP bar. January 28 also sees the Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta.