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Unconventional summer festivals this August

The final round of summer festivals in Israel–with some non-traditional twists

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Just when you thought you recovered from Midburn, festival season is back - but with some non-traditional twists. These events still encourage dancing, drinking, and a damn good time, but come August, expect the unconventional: hot air balloons in the desert, sacred Israeli art and music across Jerusalem, and klezmer throughout the streets of Tzfat. From folk dancing in the north to Afro-Israeli art and music in the south, quirky live entertainment is abound this August, and not just in Tel Aviv! If liquor is the only entertainment you need, beer and wine festivals are coming to parks, museums, and train-station-turned-trendy-shopping-complexes in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Between animated films one weekend, and puppet theater the next, taking in the cross-country festivities might leave you exhausted, but we guarantee you'll remember it all (or at least most of it).

Expect the unexpected with these non-traditional August festivals

Akko Opera Festival

Sex, political manipulation, and dramatic music aren’t just things of television this August. The first weekend of the month, three performances are coming to the Akko Opera Festival, hosted by The Israeli Opera in the Old City of Akko. First, “Giulio Cesare in Egitto” (known in English as “Julius Caesar in Egypt”) tells the story of Julius Caesar’s tortured visit to Egypt, where he finds himself caught between Cleopatra and her brother in a dramatic family feud. Next, opera soloists sing Israeli classics of Arik Einstein, and finally, “The Magic Flute” recounts a perilous journey with love and loss along the way. All the productions were created specifically for the seaside stage of Knight's Hall, and promise a weekend of high intensity entertainment.

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Knight’s Hall , Acre Thursday August 3 2017 - Saturday August 5 2017

International Festival of Puppet Theater

Bring your child–or inner child–to Gan Hapaamon this August to witness the annual International Festival of Puppet Theater. The festival, produced by the Train Theater, is a 26-year-old tradition that combines puppetry, workshops, and street performances into an experience for the whole family. Local and international companies put on contemporary and traditional puppet theater in locations within walking distance around the park, providing laughter and smiles throughout the week.

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Gan Hapaamon (Liberty Bell Park) , Mishkanot Sha'ananim Sunday August 6 2017 - Thursday August 10 2017

Jerusalem Wine Festival

Long before the vine reached Europe, the Middle East and Mediterranean were the wellspring of wine. Every August for over a decade, the Jerusalem Wine Festival has served as a celebration of Israel’s past and present standing as a wine region. Against the backdrop of an acclaimed sculpture garden, wine-lovers and sommeliers alike sip wine from over 60 wineries across the country, snack on treats from local eateries, and relax to the sound of (live) music. In a country where wine and festivities go hand in hand, you’ll surely be raising a glass by the end of the night.

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The Israel Museum , Neve Sha'anan Monday August 7 2017 - Wednesday August 9 2017
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Karmiel Dance Festival

For 3 days and 3 nights in the summer, a small city in the center of northern Israel comes alive with dance. The Karmiel Dance Festival began 30 years ago as a celebration of Israeli folk dancing, but today features roughly 100 performances showcasing a variety of dance styles. Throughout the duration of the event, thousands of local and international dancers perform around the clock and compete in several competitions, and even more spectators flock to watch. A former winner of the Beautiful Israel prize, the city of Karmiel is an idyllic backdrop to this carefree festival of dance.

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Karmiel , Karmiel Tuesday August 8 2017 - Thursday August 10 2017

International Animation and Comics Festival

In August, the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, home to film festivals throughout the year, welcomes the 17th annual International Animation and Comics Festival. A celebration of all things animated - from comic to caricatures - the festival is a must for enthusiasts of all ages. Offering film screenings, lectures, and workshops throughout the five days, the International Animation and Comics festival will showcase work from national and international artists and experts. Come to learn from specialists, talk with other fans, and of course, be entertained.

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Tel Aviv Cinematheque , Sarona Tuesday August 8 2017 - Saturday August 12 2017

International Hot Air Balloon Festival

This August the sky of the Western Negev will be decorated in a rainbow of color. For the sixth year in a row, the International Hot Air Balloon Festival is coming to Israel, and promises a weekend of entertainment within the scenic Eshkol National Park. For the price of NIS 145 per person (or NIS 475 for a family of four), the festival includes performances and outdoor activities, a desert campsite, and of course a front row seat to watch the balloons. With illuminated balloons rising Thursday night in a spectacular night glow event, and others being released as early as 05:30 on Friday morning, the festival is a beautiful weekend escape fit for the whole family.

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Eshkol National Park , Negev Thursday August 10 2017 - Friday August 11 2017
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Israel Beer Festival

The former Tel Aviv-Jaffa train station, which reopened several years ago as a hip, beachside shopping complex, will host the Israel Beer Festival this summer. For three nights in August, the station will welcome beer enthusiasts and breweries to drink and pour over 200 types of beer. Promising local and international breweries, as well as beer inspired accessories for sale, the festival is a necessary event for any self-proclaimed beer lover. With entrance tickets of NIS 70 for five drinks (or NIS 50 if you register in advance on Facebook), the festival offers tasty street food and performances alongside cold brews. What could be better?

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Hatachana Compound , Hatachana Tuesday August 8 2017 - Thursday August 10 2017
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