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Summer Festivals

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Summer weather brings people together outside to enjoy music festivals, county fairs, carnivals and religious observations. I've gathered here some recent images of these celebrations, including a flaming horseman in Kyrgyzstan, Bastille Day in France, a German fun park inside a former nuclear power plant, and much more. [39 photos]

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A girl on her father's shoulders looks through a maze of sunflowers growing in a field during a three-day sunflower festival in the town of Nogi, Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, on July 24, 2011. A total of some 200,000 sunflowers welcomed guests for the summer festival, an annual draw for the small town. (Kazuhuro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)
A girl on her father's shoulders looks through a maze of sunflowers growing in a field during a three-day sunflower festival in the town of Nogi, Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, on July 24, 2011. A total of some 200,000 sunflowers welcomed guests for the summer festival, an annual draw for the small town. (Kazuhuro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)
A monk wearing a mask performs a dance on the first day of two-day festival in Hemis Gompa, 45 km (28 miles) southeast of Leh, on July 10, 2011. The Hemis Gompa is the oldest and biggest monastery in Ladakh. The annual festival celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Lamaism (an off-shoot of Buddhism) in the eighth century. The two-day festival is marked by ritual dancing in which dancers wear masks representing deities and evil spirits. (Reuters/Fayaz Kabli) #
Roy Johnson, from Etna, California, rides Strawberry Alley for a score of 68, placing him 4th after Thursday night's July 28, 2011 rides at the Last Chance Rodeo in Helena Montana. (AP Photo/Dylan Brown - Independant Record) #
Women dressed in traditional attire sing during a festival of Kyrgyz folklore and popular traditions near the Son-Kul lake, 3200 meters (10,499 feet) above sea level and some 400 km (249 miles) northeast of the capital Bishkek, on July 21, 2011. (Reuters/Vladimir Pirogov (KYRGYZSTAN) #
Brazilian children of Japanese descent perform on their drums during the Festival of Japan in Sao Paulo, on July 15, 2011. Sao Paulo has the world's largest Japanese neighborhood outside of Japan. (Reuters/Nacho Doce) #
The Eiffel Tower is illuminated during the traditional Bastille Day fireworks display in Paris, on July 14, 2011. (Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes) #
A sand sculpture based on the Magical Moments Festival of Disneyland Paris, at the Sand Sculpture Festival on July 22, 2011 in Blankenberge, Belgium. (Mark Renders/Getty Images) #
Jarvis Cocker, the vocalist from the group Pulp, sings in a heavy rain during Heineken Music Open Air Festival in Gdynia, Poland, on July 1, 2011. (Reuters/Renata Dabrowska/Agencja Gazeta) #
A visitor takes a photo inside "Mirazozo", a massive inflatable structure called a luminarium, designed by Architects of Air, on July 17, 2011 in Prague. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images) #
People dressed in traditional Breton costumes take part in the annual Fete du Goemon (Seaweed Festival) near Esquibien in western Brittany, on July 24, 2011. The festival re-enacts traditional means of gathering seaweed from the coast and burning it in open kilns to make fertilizer. (Reuters/Mal Langsdon) #
A herd of ponies makes their way towards shore during the Chincoteague Wild Pony Swim on Wednesday, July 27, 2011. The ponies swim from Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to Chincoteague Island, Virginia, to be sold at auction to benefit the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Brad Vest) #
A crowd dances to the sounds of Dutch music producer and DJ Afrojack during the second day of the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, on June 25, 2011. (Reuters/ Richard Brian) #
A young pony attempts to escape its handlers while being auctioned off during the Chincoteague Pony Auction on Thursday, July 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Brad Vest/The Virginian-Pilot) #
Revellers run from the "Fire Bull", a man carrying a metal structure loaded with fireworks on the fifth day of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, on July 11, 2011. (Reuters/Eloy Alonso) #
People walk past lanterns during the annual Mitama festival at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, on July 13, 2011. About 3,000 paper lanterns are lit to comfort the souls of dead during the annual four day festival at the shrine where more than 2.4 million war dead are enshrined. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon) #
Men hold on to a window and a fountain to avoid a bull during the "Toro de Cuerda" (Bull on Rope) festival in Grazalema, southern Spain, July 18, 2011. A bull restrained by a rope is allowed to run through the streets of the village during the annual festival. (Reuters/Jon Nazca) #
The scenery for the opera "Andre Chenier" by Italian musician Umberto Giordano is seen on a giant floating stage at Lake Constance during a photo rehearsal in Bregenz, Austria, on July 15, 2011. The opera, directed by British director Keith Warner, will have its premiere on July 20 at the annual Bregenz festival. (Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler) #
A woman splashes water with a container as she performs the Shuigu dance during a cultural festival in Jianhe county, Guizhou province July 6, 2011. The dance, which is also known as the water drum dance, has a history of over 500 years in local Miao villages. (Reuters/China Daily) #
Folk artists perform as part of their prayers inside the Jagannath temple on the eve of the Rath Yatra, also known as the "the Chariot Festival", in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, on July 2, 2011. The annual religious procession commemorates a journey by Hindu god Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, in specially made chariots. (Reuters/Amit Dave) #
Dancers take the stage at the Guelaguetza, a nine-day folkloric festival celebrating Oaxaca state's seven cultural regions through dance, parades and pageantry, in Oaxaca, Mexico, on July 25, 2011. Guelaguetza means "offering" in the Mexican Indian Zapotec language, and historians believe different versions of the festival have been celebrated since pre-Colonial times. (Reuters/Jorge Luis Plata) #
Kayapo Indians stand in a line during a ritual dance in a multiethnic village during the Meeting of Traditional Cultures of Chapada dos Veadeiros in Goias, Brazil, on July 23, 2011. The meeting is a celebration of Brazilian popular culture and the intersection between the various manifestations of traditional culture around the midwest and across the country. (Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino) #
Gabe Burrows, from Hugoton, Kansas, wrestles a steer during the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo on Thursday, July 28, 2011, at Frontier Park in Cheyenne, Wyoming. (AP Photo, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, James Brosher) #
A Chinese performer cheers on her troupe during the opening parade of the fourth International Folk Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Thursday, July 21 2011. Hundreds of performers were expected to take part in the three-day folk festival. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova) #
U.S. metal band Anthrax performs during a concert at the Slottsfjell festival in Tonsberg, Norway, on July 14, 2011. (Reuters/Vegard Grott/Scanpix) #
An Indian Muslim girl offers prayers at a graveyard during Shab-e-Barat in Gauhati, India, on July 17, 2011. Muslims visit ancestral graveyards for the salvation of the departed souls and also believe that all sins will be forgiven by praying to Allah throughout Shab-e-Barat night. (AP Photo/ Anupam Nath) #
A woman hides her face as other festival-goers spray mud at her after she infringed a game rule in a mud ring during the 14th Boryeong Mud Festival at Daecheon beach in Boryeong, South Korea, on July 17, 2011. Around 2 to 3 million domestic and international tourists visit the beach during the festival each year to enjoy mud activities such as mud slides, mud wrestling and mud massages. (Reuters/Jo Yong-Hak) #
A carnival ride turns inside of the cooling tower of a former nuclear power plant in Kalkar, Germany, near the border with the Netherlands, on May 28, 2011. The plant was constructed from 1977 to 1986, but never operated as a nuclear power plant. Now the plant has been converted to a fun park called "Wunderland Kalkar" and receives some 600,000 visitors a year. (Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images) #
Horsemen take part in a Kok-boru, or goat dragging, competition as they attend a festival of Kyrgyz folklore and popular traditions near the Son-Kul lake, on July 21, 2011. Considered Kyrgyzstan's national sport, Kok-boru is a traditional Central Asian game where players grab a goat carcass from the ground while riding their horses and try to score by placing it in their opponent's goal. (Reuters/Vladimir Pirogov) #
A "Kiliki" throws sweets from the town hall's main balcony to bid farewell to revelers on the last day of San Fermin festival's "Comparsa de gigantes y cabezudos" (Parade of the giants and the big heads) in Pamplona, on July 14, 2011. (Reuters/Susana Vera) #
Zack Fergason, 16, rests his head on Ginger, while Kalli Corrick, 11, rests against Plum in the dairy cow exhibit at the Linn County Fair in Albany, Oregon, on Friday, July 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Albany Democrat-Herald, Mark Ylen) #
Hot-air balloons take off during the first day of the Lorraine World Air Balloons festival, on July 22, 2011 in the French city of Chambley. The festival is the biggest gathering of hot-air balloons in the world and about 400,000 spectators were expected to attend the event. (Jean-Christophe Verhaegan/AFP/Getty Images) #
A dancer performs during the annual Roma Music and Culture Festival in Glinojeck, Poland, on Friday, July 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz) #
A Kyrgyz rider performs during a traditional folk festival near Son-Kul lake on July 21, 2011. (Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty Images) #
Lightning streaks across the night sky not far from the LaPorte County Fair in LaPorte, Indiana, on July 22, 2011. (AP Photo/The LaPorte Herald-Argus, Bob Wellinski) #
Mongolian archers perform during the opening ceremony of the annual Naadam Festival in Ulan Bator, on July 11, 2011. Naadam is the biggest event in the Mongolian calendar held from July 11 to 13, on the anniversary of the Mongolian revolution of 1921. (Reuters/Zeev Rozen) #
Fair Queen contestants cool off from the heat at the 184th Annual Mercer County Fair and Horse Show in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, on July 25, 2011. (AP Photo/The Advocate Messenger, Clay Jackson) #
French singer Cali surfs through the crowd during the first day of the 36th Paleo music festival in Nyon, Switzerland, on July 19, 2011. (Reuters/Valentin Flauraud) #
Fair-goers spin their way through the tea-cup ride at the O.C. Fair in Costa Mesa, California, on July 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Orange County Register, Kevin Sullivan) #
A hot air balloon rises into the early morning sky in front of the Canary Wharf financial district of London, on July 25, 2011. Seven balloons took part in the flight over London as part of a collaboration between the London Sky Orchestra project, the 30th anniversary of the London International Festival of Theatre, and the Greater London Authority which is marking a year to go before the 2012 Olympic Games. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

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