National Beer Day

National Beer Day which is observed in the US on April 7 every year, marks the day that the Cullen-Harrison Act was enacted into law. This was Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first step towards ending the Prohibition which banned the brewing and selling of beer in the US for 13 years. Upon signing the legislation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made a famous remark – “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” The law went into effect on April 7, 1933.

The Cullen-Harrison Act

Senator Pat Harrison, a politician from Mississippi from 1911 to 1919 and Representative Thomas H. Cullen, a politician from New York who has been a member of the US House of Representatives from 1919 to 1944 were the sponsors of the law. This law legalized the sale in the United States of beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% and wine of similarly low alcohol content.

How National Beer Day started

In 2009, Justin Smith of Richmond, Viginia created the first National Beer Day. He started a Facebook page that was noticed by the Colorado Beer Examiner. Justin’s promotion of the new holiday was rewarded when Untappd – a beer drinking app – created a badge for National Beer Day. The app rewarded participants that checked a beer into the app on the 7th of April. Since then, the National Beer Day trends yearly on April 7 using the hashtag #NationalBeerDay.

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San Diego Theme Parks

San Diego is the 8th largest city in the United States and second largest in California. It is often referred to as “America’s Finest City” for its great hotel accommodations, mild year-round climate, pristine beaches and abundance of entertainment.

One of the major attractions and most-loved destinations in the city are the various theme parks which feature thrilling rides, fun shows and delicious foods. Here is a list of some of those theme parks that the kids and the kids-at-heart will surely enjoy.

Legoland

Legoland California in northern San Diego County is filled with towering LEGO statues. It opened on March 20, 1999. It is composed of nine sections -The Beginning, Explorer Island, Heartlake City, Fun Town, Castle Hill, Miniland USA, Imagination Zone, Pirate Shores, and Land of Adventure. A Sea Life aquarium which opened in 2010 can also be found adjacent to Legoland. This Lego wonderland is full of fun water rides, hands-on activities and entertaining shows.

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Seaworld

SeaWorld San Diego, the first SeaWorld park, opened on March 21, 1964 is one of the best theme parks in San Diego for its thrilling water rides, entertaining shows and a variety of beautiful sea creatures. It also features a variety of educational shows and exhibits including “Turtle Reef” and the “Shark Encounter.”

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San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park San Diego, California houses around 4,000 animals of 800 rare and exotic species in a beautiful 100-acre tropical garden. It is a timeless attraction for all ages featuring spectacular bioclimatic exhibits like Monkey Trails, Absolutely Apes, Ituri Forest, Rain Forest Aviary, Polar Bear Plunge, Gorilla Tropics, Sun Bear Forest and Tiger River. The zoo also has the largest population of the endangered and lovable Giant Pandas in the U.S.

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San Diego Zoo Safari Park

 The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, formerly Wild Animal Park is a 730-hectare zoo in the San Pasqual Valley area of San Diego, California. It is one of the largest tourist attractions in San Diego County visited by 2 million people annually. The park houses a large array of over 2,600 animals, some wild and endangered. The park is noted for its California condor breeding program, the most successful program in the United States.

Photo credit: Ryan Summers (Flickr)
Photo credit: Ryan Summers (Flickr)

It’s April Fools Day!

April Fool’s Day is celebrated yearly on April 1 where people play pranks or practical jokes and spread hoaxes. This is a popular activity since the 19th century where even newspapers, magazines and other published media report fake stories which are explained the next day or below the news section in small letters.

April Fool’s Day Traditions

In UK, an April Fool joke or prank is revealed by shouting “April Fool!” at the recipient. The joking ceases at midday and a person playing a joke after midday is the “April Fool” themselves.

In Ireland, a victim is entrusted with an important letter to be given to a specific person, the person would then ask the victim to send it to someone else and so on. The letter actually contains the message “send the fool further.”

In Poland, April 1 is celebrated with so many jokes told, various hoaxes prepared by people, media and even public institutions.

In Italy, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, the tradition is known as “April fish,” where people attempt to attach a paper to the victim’s back without being noticed.

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Top April Fool’s Day Pranks and Jokes

In 1962, in Sweden, there was only one television channel and it was shown in black and white. The station announced that their researchers discovered that covering the television screen with a pair of tights would cause the image in the television appear with colors. Thousands of viewers fell for the hoax where even fathers rushed through the house to find stocking to place over their tv sets.

In 1957, a news show broadcast by Panorama reported a 3-minute video footage of a family in southern Switzerland pulling pasta off spaghetti trees. Hundreds of people phoned the BBC to know how they could have their own “home-grown spaghetti.”

In 1977, the Guardian published a “special report” about a country located in the Indian Ocean called San Serriffe, consisting of several islands that form the shape of a semi-colon. The Guardian’s phones rang all day that the readers want more information about the “perfect sounding” holiday spot.

In 1998, Burger King published a full-page advertisement in USA Today about their new menu: the Left-Handed Whopper, especially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. It had the same ingredients as the original Whopper, but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees. Thousands of customers went into the restaurant to order the new sandwich while many others requested for the right-handed version

In April 1978, a barge towing a giant iceberg appeared in Sydney Harbor. Dick Smith, a local adventurer and millionaire businessman, promoted this iceberg from Antarctica saying he was going to carve the berg into small cubes and sell it to public for ten cents each. These cubes promised to improve the taste of any drink they cooled. Local radio stations provided blow by blow coverage but when it started to rain, the firefighting foam and the shaving cream which made the berg, washed out and the white plastic sheets beneath were revealed.

The Much Awaited Bangus Festival

Bangus Festival is an annual festivity held in Dagupan City Pangasinan to celebrate Bonuan bangus (milkfish) which is known for its unique taste. It kicks off every month of April and lasts for about 2 weeks to a month.

History of the Bangus Festival

Aiming to promote Dagupan City as the Bangus Capital of the World and to emphasize the local bangus industry, Former Mayor Benjamin S. Lim, initiated the celebration of the Bangus Festival in 2002. Initially, it was just a part of the thanksgiving festival Pista’y Dayat, but it further developed into a 2-week socio-economic program of activities to highlight the city’s top produce – bangus or milkfish.

Nowadays, Bangus Festival is one of the country’s most elaborate celebrations.

Activities and what to expect during the Bangus Festival

It is a tradition to commence the festival with the lighting of a thousand barbecue grills lined up to cook thousands of bangus. This activity also serves as a competition for hundreds of cooks, who compete for the tastiest and the most creative way of cooking and serving bangus. In 2003, the city won a recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest barbecue.

This year, the local government of Dagupan promises for a bigger and happier “fishfest,” which will commence on March 31, 2017 with the opening of the Bangusan Village. The village will consist of a carnival, baratilyo (street market) spots and food courts.

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The organizers will also revive the famous Beach Volleyball Republic in one of their beaches and will also launch Zumbangus and the first ever search for “Meztisang Bangus” Gay Beauty Pageant for a cause. They will also be bringing back the old traditional games with the “Galaw na Ogogaw,” for the kids to be aware of the local history and culture. Expect the Giloy-giloy ed Baley street dancing competition to be more colorful and grander this year. Watch out for the winners of the longest, the heaviest and the prettiest bangus in the Bangus Rodeo. Fun games are also in line for the festivity which include fastest bangus classifier, fastest bangus deboner and fastest bangus eater. Of course, the celebration will not be complete without the annual Bangusine, Bangus Regional Culinary Showcase more popularly known as the “101 Ways to Cook Bangus.” As a finale, 20,000 bangus will be grilled for the Kalutan ed Dalan Bangusan Street Party, which will surely be a crowd-drawer.

Sakura Season and Best Hanami Spots in Japan

Cherry Blossoms or more popularly known as Sakura is also considered as a national flower of Japan. For the Japanese, Sakura symbolizes the clouds because of the way they are blooming. It is also associated with mortality – on readily and gracefully accepting destiny and karma. Being symbolic, Cherry Blossom is often represented in Japan’s arts, music, films, manga and even on consumer goods.

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Best Places to Experience Hanami

Sakura blooms in springtime, mostly from late March to early May so if tourists want to see its most majestic views, they must take note of the dates and the best places for the hanami or flower viewing.

Fujigoko (Fuji Five Lakes) – At the northern base of Mount Fuji, the highest and most beautiful mountain in Japan, lies five distinct lakes. This area is the best spot to see the scenic view of the mountain and the Sakura. The flowers start to bloom in early April and blooms fully in mid April.

Photo credit: Guilhem Vellut (Flickr)
Photo credit: Guilhem Vellut (Flickr)

Tokyo – Tokyo is the best place to see Japan’s most exciting time of the year, as the Sakura spreads tranquility all over the city on springtime. The city boasts with parks, gardens, rivers, riversides and other famous landmarks perfect for hanami. In Tokyo, first bloom is expected on March 23 and peaks on April 2.

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Osaka – In Osaka, visitors can enjoy walking under the Cherry Blossoms whether on daytime or at night. They can also participate in various Cherry Blossom festivals held in different locations across the city. Some notable hanami spots in Osaka is home to 5000 cherry blossom trees. Expect the Sakura to bloom from March 23 to March 28, this year.

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Kyoto – During springtime, Sakura gives Kyoto a mind-blowing atmosphere. Local and foreign visitors bustle the city’s canals, rivers, parks, temples, shrines and other hanami spots offering picturesque landscapes. Sakura is on full bloom here by March 28 to early April.

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Hokkaido – Sakura blooms a bit late in Hokkaido, around early to mid May, but this might be the place for the most gorgeous cherry blossom season. Landmarks, parks and even roadsides offer breathtaking views of tons of cherry blossoms.

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What to do in the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided valley carved by the Colorado River in Arizona USA. This 277-mile long, nearly 18-mile wide and over a mile-deep canyon is inhabited by native Americans. According to studies, the Grand Canyon was developed 40 million years ago.

Activities to enjoy in the Grand Canyon

Casual sightseeing – the canyon does not only offer sand and rocks. There’s Havasupai Falls with red rock walls and deep blue water. The South Rim which is 7000 feet above sea level has incredible panoramic views of the canyon. The road leading up to the Toroweap Overlook might be treacherous but it’s all worth it once you reach the top which is 3,000 feet over the river.

Hiking – A day, an overnight or a week-long expedition in Grand Canyon is an experience one will never ever forget. The difficulty level of the trips range from moderate hikes to the extremely demanding trips. The South Rim and the North Rim both offer the trail hikers spectacular views of the Grand Canyon.

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River Trips – There are different river trip opportunities that last for as long as 25 days in the Grand Canyon. Motorized or non-motorized whitewater rafting which takes a minimum of 7 days can also be enjoyed.

Bicycling – Most of the trails in the park prohibit bicycling but there are still a lot of options for a great ride to see the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Biking in the Grand Canyon is an amazing wilderness experience.

Mule Rides – Grand Canyon mule rides have been famous with visitors since the 1980’s. This 4-mile 3-hour trek on narrow trails gives visitors more adventures and breathtaking views from the back of a mule.

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Camping – Camping in the Grand Canyon is a highly-desired activity for most of the visitors. Camping enables tourists see more awe-inspiring views of the canyon. The North Rim offers the most memorable camping experience.

Helicopter ride – One of the most exciting ways to see the Grand Canyon by air is through a helicopter ride. Helicopters fly approximately 1000 feet lower than airplanes touring in the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Skywalk Tour – This is a horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge with a glass walkway. The Skywalk extends 70 feet long and has a width of 65 feet. Its foundation can withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 within 50 miles.

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