Through July 15: Midsummer, when the skies of St. Petersburg never darken beyond twilight, is one of the most popular times to visit Russia’s former imperial capital. This city of opulent palaces and elegant canals celebrates the light with the Stars of the White Nights Festival (pictured above), centered on the storied Mariinsky Theatre. Highlights include “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” choreographed by George Balanchine to music by Mendelssohn; “The Rite of Spring” by Igor Stravinsky, choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky; and all of Brahms’ symphonies and concerti, conducted by Valery Gergiev.
June 1-2: On the morning of June 1, the skies of southwest Colorado fill with hot air balloons for the Telluride Balloon Festival. That evening, the festivities move downtown, where tethered balloons are lit from within, bathing the historic center in colorful light. Saturday, June 2, brings more balloon flights over the town.
June 1-3 and 22-24: Hundreds of Australian wineries and specialty food producers gather for the Good Food & Wine Show, held June 1-3 in Melbourne and June 22-24 in Sydney (the exhibition moves to Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane later in the year). Participants can sample the best of Australia’s artisanal products and attend cooking demonstrations and master classes.
June 17: To see men in kilts throwing heavy objects, there’s no better place to be than the Aberdeen Highland Games, held each year in Hazlehead Park. In addition to the athletic competitions, spectators can enjoy pipe bands and Highland dancing performances.
June 21-24: One of North America’s most charming big cities, Montréal sparkles with music during the 10th annual Baroque Music Festival. Capitalizing on the end of the Mayan calendar, this year’s theme is “Apocalypse: Transformations & Revelations.” Highlights include the “Parade of Transformations & Revelations,” an equestrian ballet set to Lully’s “Le Carrousel du Roy” and a grand finale of Telemann’s “The Day of Judgment” held in the historic Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours.
June 24: Each winter solstice, the residents of Cusco, Peru, celebrate Inti Raymi, an ancient Incan festival honoring the rebirth of the sun. Participants in ceremonial dress parade through the city playing traditional Incan instruments, and lead a procession up to the huge fortress of Sacsayhuaman for more ritual dancing and music.
June 29: Wine flows in the streets during the Battala del Vino (Wine Battle) in Haro, in Spain’s famed Rioja region. The century-old “battle” has its origins in a dispute between Haro and neighboring Miranda de Ebro over ownership of some hills. Nowadays, there are no sides or teams; people gather at the hilltop with full wineskins and water guns and joyously squirt anyone they can. **