Weekly US agenda: Grammys and Westminster Kennel show

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The Independent Travel

This week, toy and dog shows pick the best while music gets honored at the Grammy Awards.


108th Toy Fair 2011
February 13- 16
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York City, New York

One of the largest annual toy fairs, the Toy Fair New York attracts over 1,000 exhibitors and 25,000 attendees and is home to around 7,000 new product launches each year. The event is also home to the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards; billed as the "Oscars of the toy industry," these awards honor the most outstanding new products in 12 categories and crown one the overall toy of the year. Though the event attracts fewer visitors than the Nuremberg event, the Toy Fair New York, where Barbie first appeared, is widely respected and the TOTY awards are generally recognized as the industry standard.

53rd Grammy Awards

February 13
Los Angeles, California

This celebrated award for musical artists is voted on by the recording industry, covering a wide spectrum of genres, from classical and jazz to pop, rock, hip-hop, country and Latin. The Grammys televised live event features performances by nominees. The top awards crossing all genres are Album of the Year, Record of the year for the best song, Song of the Year to the writer/composer and Best New Artist. Other music awards include the AMA and People's Choice which fans vote for. The UK equivalent is the Brit Awards.

135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

February 14-15
New York, New York

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the second longest-running sports event in the US, judges 2,500 purebred dogs for the Best in Show championship of hounds, toys, terriers, sporting and non-sporting breeds. The sold-out shows are held at New York City's Madison Square Garden and telecast live on USA Network, with highlights streamed on the web. The most important of the American dog shows, including the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving, and the equivalent, Crufts in Birmingham, England, the largest, most prestigious in the world with 22,973 dogs on display. http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org

Mardi Gras
February 25-March 8
New Orleans, Louisiana

While much of the world celebrates Carnival, the tradition of Mardi Gras takes over
the streets of New Orleans. The partying before Lent, begins with parades of floats
around the French Quarter, decorated by club members who dress in elaborate costumes with masks and toss beads, masks, and trinkets to spectators on the route. At night these clubs, from Rex to Bacchus and Excalibur, host gala balls. Local Zydeco and Dixieland music abounds with the fun leading up to Fat Tuesday, March 8.

10th South Beach Wine & Food Festival
February 24-27
Miami Beach, Florida

A four-day feast for foodies and wine connoisseurs on Miami's South Beach with celebrity chefs and vintners conducting tastings, workshops and demonstrations. Presented by the Food Network, participants include Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Emeril Lagasse and Martha Stewart, Chef Ming Tsai hosts Dim Sum & Disco and Domaines Barons de Rothschild is offered by the Baron. The television network throws another fest in October in New York. Similar culinary events also occur in New Orleans, Aspen, Vancouver, and Washington DC.


83rd Academy Awards
February 27, 5:30 pm PT
Hollywood, California

The iconic Oscars ceremony is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to honor excellence in films and its professionals. The oldest and most revered film awards show is televised live from the Kodak Theatre in more than 200 countries and viewed by up to 55 million. Voting consists of industry peers for categories from acting to documentaries, with the ultimate prize for Best Picture. The BAFTAs are Britain's equivalent. The Spirit Independent Awards, scheduled the day before, are mounted as an alternative to pay tribute to less mainstream Hollywood fare.


February 28 - March 4, 2011
Long Beach, California

TED, an acronym for Technology Entertainment Design, brings together scientific pioneers, visionaries, musicians and provocateurs from around the world for its famous 18-minute talks. Presentations feature tech demos, video and TEDUniversity sessions. The program extends into evening art exhibits and comedy. Since 1990, the gatherings have continued to grow, extending to a TEDGlobal in a different country annually. Since 2007, talks are online for free and have been viewed 290 million times.