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EVENTS IN AUGUST : Blues to Bluegrass, Tribal Dances to Wild Goats



W.C. Handy, the Father of the Blues, was born in Florence, Ala., in 1873. No matter that he made his fame with "St. Louis Blues"; the people here still honor their favorite son with the W.C. Handy Music Festival, Aug. 1-7. More than 100 events (80% free) are scheduled, celebrating both Handy and the blues, jazz and spiritual music he inspired. They include concerts on the banks of the Tennessee River, jam sessions and a parasol-filled Street Strut. For more information, contact the Music Preservation Society, P.O. Box 1827, Florence, Ala. 35631; (205) 766-7642.

New Mexico

Most of the events at the 72nd Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial at Gallup, Aug. 10-15, take place in the outdoor arena at nearby Red Rock State Park. Members of more than 50 tribes compete in dance contests and juried arts and crafts shows. Professional dance groups entertain Thursday-Saturday evenings, and there's an all-Indian rodeo on Saturday afternoon. One event takes place in downtown Gallup: the Saturday morning parade, billed as the "only non-mechanized parade in the country," features dance groups and Indian royalty in traditional attire. For more information, contact the Inter-Tribal Ceremonial Assn., P.O. Box 1, Church Rock, N.M. 87311; (505) 863-3896.

North Carolina

The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville, Aug. 5-7, is the oldest folk festival in the country: It began in 1927. Fiddlers, banjo pickers, dulcimer players and storytellers from all over southern Appalachia perform at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. There are contests for both bluegrass bands and pre-bluegrass country performers of the 1920s and '30s, plus appearances by 15 clogging groups. For advance tickets and information, contact the Asheville Visitor and Convention Bureau, P.O. Box 1010, Asheville, N.C. 28802; (704) 258-6107.


Mount Isa, a mining town 1,000 miles northwest of Brisbane in the dusty outback of Queensland, comes to life Aug. 6-8 when it hosts the Rotary Rodeo. It's the biggest rodeo in this cowboy-rich country, with more than 300 cowboys, including many Aborigines, competing. The event kicks off with a Mardi Gras celebration on the 6th. For more information, contact the Queensland Tourist and Travel Corp., 1800 Century Park East, Suite 330, Los Angeles 90067; (310) 788-0997.


Lord Krishna's birthday is celebrated all over India on Aug. 11. The main festivities take place at Mathura, 120 miles from New Delhi, where his birth in re-enacted at the Hindu temple. In nearby Brindaban, colorful raslilas , or song and dance dramas depicting Krishna's life, are performed day and night. In the western state of Maharashtra, celebrants break earthen pots filled with curds and butter, which have been strung high in the air between human pyramids. For more information, contact the Government of India Tourist Office, 3550 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 204, Los Angeles 90010; (213) 380-8855.


The Puck Fair, Aug. 10-12, takes place in the picturesque country village of Killorglin, a four-hour drive from Dublin. It's a town party with a 400-year-old history. The highlight is the capturing and crowning of a wild goat, the symbol of unrestrained merrymaking. The merriment that follows includes open-air concerts, dancing and music in the streets. Advance hotel reservations for the Killorglin area are suggested. For more information, contact the Irish Tourist Board, 757 Third Ave., 19th Floor, New York 10017; (800) 223-6470.

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