Photo: Leszek Glasner/Shutterstock

Book Review: Party Across America!

by Matt Kepnes Nov 8, 2008
101 of the Greatest Festivals, Sporting Events, and Celebrations in the U.S.

As a frequent contributor to Matador Nights, it is no surprise that I love parties. The atmosphere. The excitement. The people. The drinks.

Parties are a wonderful way to have fun, get to know new people, and experience a new culture. They can be a great window into a new culture- from social habits and patterns, to set up, to food and drinks.

You can learn a lot about a place by seeing how people get festive.

So when I had the chance to read the book, Party Across America, I jumped at the chance. The book, written by Michael Guerriero, highlights the 101 best parties and events in the United States. No state, no region is left unturned in the author’s pursuit of a good time.

The book is well organized and information is presented in a fun, easy to read, and informative manner befitting a party book. All the famous (Mardi Gras, Bay to Breakers, Burning Man) and the not so famous parties are here. (Did you know there is a pumpkin throwing festival in Delaware!?)

In many ways, Guerriero’s book is a party version of “1000 Places to See Before You Die,” with its descriptions and information. There’s a good description of each event, its origins, and what makes it one of the top parties (Hint: alcohol, people, and crazy theme).

I read through the book and was intrigued by all the interesting and unique parties, the facts, the figures, but most importantly, the tips. At the end of each party, Guerriero gives a few party tips so people can blend in better with the festivities.

These little tips give a lot of insight into each event in terms of what to bring and how to behave. But I wondered how accurate was it.

I haven’t been to all 101 parties so I had no way of knowing. I flipped to the section on Massachusetts (my home state) and saw three events I knew: St. Patrick’s Day, the Boston Marathon, and Fugawi (a sailing festival).

As I read his descriptions and tips, I thought- “He got it.” The author was able to accurately give the significance of the event while describing the party pretty well.

His tips are equally as good.

For example, one of the biggest parties in Boston, the Boston Marathon, he nailed all the good places to go. The Boston Marathon is one of the biggest events of the year. World famous for its race, it’s also famous locally for its party. Marathon Monday is a de facto holiday in the city with everyone outside drinking and chanting on the runners.

Guerriero tells the story of the marathon and the festivities accurately with direct statements, easy writing, and interesting facts. (Also, he got all the good places to go right! Good job!). Given his level of detail with these events, I can only assume the rest of the book hit its mark, too.

My only complaint with this book is the lack of pictures. Nothing conveys the craziness of a party like a good photo and while there is a lot of information here, some of the “wow” factor of the parties is lost without photos to accompany them. It would have made for a more powerful book and more intriguing read.

However, even without the photos, I enjoyed reading and learning about this great country’s unique and often strange festivities. It makes for a great coffee table book- a book to peruse when you need a little inspiration to get in the party mood or looking for a new festival to go to.

Like 1000 Places to See Before You Die, it will give you excellent travel….err party…ideas for the road. And like the former, you can always get inspired by just staring at it. It might even give you a reason to host your own party. Overall, Guerriero’s book is an easy read and an excellent read for the party minded traveler.

With Christmas coming around the corner, consider it for a nice stocking stuffer- maybe tie it to a case of beer, too.

Price: $10.36 | BUY

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