Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

update date for Top Events USA
top 20 USA events


top kite festivals in the USA Wisconsin American Birkebeiner

late February – Hayward/Cable, Wisconsin

An event celebrating health and wellness all in the scope of cross country skiing.

Cross-country skiing is a great way to stay in shape, and the sport is accessible to all ages and fitness levels.

These enthusiasts train all year round skiing, running, bicycling, roller blading and many other healthy pursuits. Many have gone on to participate in the American Birkebeiner, a citizen’s race with something for everyone. From the Barnebirkie kid’s race to the 54 kilometer Birkebeiner Classic, more than 200,000 people have embraced the challenge and skied the adventure.

Why do so many participate year after year? Some come for the tradition, some for the personal challenge, others for the opportunity to ski with Olympic-caliber athletes on one of the most challenging trails in the world. All are rewarded with a well-organized event that gives them the opportunity to get outside and ski with like-minded fitness buffs from around the world.

The American Birkebeiner, also known as the Birkie, was launched in 1973 as a small race calling on skiers to challenge themselves against the Wisconsin Northwoods. The race was patterned after the Birkebeinerrennet Lillehammer, Norway, an event which commemorates an historic event in that nation. During a civil war in the 13th century, an invading force was about to capture an infant prince and heir to the throne. Two Viking warriors, called "birkebeiners" for the birch bark leggings they wore, took the child and skied 55 kilometers to safety. The baby went on to become a great Norwegian king, Haakon Hakonsson.

• The American Birkebeiner is the largest cross-country ski race in North America and part of the Worldloppet circuit of 15 international ski marathons held in Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, France, Estonia, Germany, Austria, Finland, Italy, Canada, Australia, Czech Republic, Poland and the United States.
• The Birkie is also part of the North American Marathon Cup series of 14 races, part of the American Ski Marathon series of 13 races, and part of the lives of citizen skiers from around the world.
• The first Birkie attracted 35 people including 34 men and 1 woman. 19 skiers participated in the shorter 22K women’s and junior’s race.
• Skiers from 48 states and 21 foreign countries gather every February to celebrate and ski the race which has become the most revered tradition in the cross country ski world.
• In 1984 wave placements were initiated to help alleviate bottlenecks and crowding at the start.
• Today there are 10 waves plus three elite wave starts; 11 food stations with support personnel and medical, waxing, and repair stations; more than 2,000 volunteers, 56 chiefs, and a year 'round office staff.

The Birkebeiner Trail, known throughout the cross country skiing world as one of the finest, has hosted the world's finest skiers through the years and makes up the course for America's premier ski marathon. The trail is maintained by the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation and is groomed and tracked on a regular basis throughout the winter season. The Birkie Trail remains open and free to the public through the efforts of the Foundation. Trail pass fees and membership fees to the Birkebeiner Foundation contribute to the preservation and maintenance of one of the most challenging and beautiful trails in the world.

• Two buildings have been constructed at the midpoint at Highway OO to help service the skiers and store equipment.
• Skiers now enjoy several kilometers of a lighted, looped trail at OO.
• State-of-the-art grooming equipment has been purchased to ensure the best possible skiing conditions for weekend skiers as well as race participants.
• The trail has been widened and corners improved without losing sight of the importance of its aesthetic beauty and athletic challenge.
• A 27K Classic Trail has been created to provide classic skiers with their own course for the first half of the event. During the rest of the winter the Classic Trail is groomed for both classic and skate skiing so all can enjoy.
You don't even have to click into skis to join in on the party. More than 20,000 spectators line many portions of the route, and it seems all of Cable/Hayward are there cheering at the finish line. Equipment demos, vendor expo, the Birkie Skiers For Cures, and shorter races and events round out the festivities.

For more information on the American Birkebeiner visit:

For more details about top events in the state of Wisconsin, take a look at:

New Top Events USA nominations

As proud as we are about the pains we have taken to make sure our lists of top events in the USA are as accurate as possible - there is no doubt that we have missed some very important events and we are always keen to hear responses and suggestions about possible additions to the site . . .

If you have any suggestions please let us know. Please take the time to share your views on the selections of the top events in the USA as presented here at Top Events USA.

For more details about the Top USA events featured at Top Events USA and what criteria should be examined before making any suggestions, please visit:  


Battle of Horseshoe Bend
Moundville Native American Festival

Bisbee 1000 Great Stair Climb
Navajo Nation Fair
Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival
World Championship Hoop Dance Contest

Bay to Breakers 12K
Coarsegold Tarantula Festival

Annual Craft Expo
Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous

Jacksonville Jazz Festival
Pensacola Beach Air Show
Tallahassee Springtime Festival
Tallahassee Winter Festival and Celebration of Lights

Savannah Music Festival
Blessing of the Fleet

Honolulu Marathon

Coeur d'Alene Resort Holiday Light Show

Indianapolis 500
Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration
Indiana State Fair
Feast of the Hunters’ Moon

Des Moines Arts Festival

Dodge City Days
Smoky Hill River Festival

American Quilter’s Society National Quilt Show
Great American Brass Band Festival
Hillbilly Days
International Bar-B-Q Festival
Jerusalem Ridge Festival
Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Festival
Mainsstrasse Village Oktoberfest
St James Court Art Show
World Chicken Festival

Lake Charles Contraband Days

Ocean City Sunfest

The Boston Marathon

Holland Tulip Time Festival
Great Lakes Folk Festival

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival

The Mississippi Delta Blues Festival

Burning Man

New Hampshire
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair
New Hampshire Maple Weekend
New Hampshire Seafood Festival
Strawbery Banke Museum Candlelight Stroll

New Mexico
Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
Santa Fe Indian Market
Santa Fe Spanish Market

New York
Oswego Harborfest

North Carolina
` • Biltmore Festival of Flowers
North Carolina Azalea Festival
North Carolina Seafood Festival

Columbus Arts Festival
The Vectron Dayton Air Show

Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival

Fall Kite Festival
Whale Watching Events

Rhode Island
Newport Jazz Festival
Newport Winter Fetival
Rhode Island International Film Festival

South Carolina
Beaufort Water Festival
Carolina Cup

South Dakota
Fort Sisseton Historical Festival
Tabor Czech Days

Dogwood Arts Fetival
Mule Day
Secret City Festival

Terlingua International Chili Championship

The Moab Music Festival

Washington DC
The National Cherry Blossom Festival

Washington State International Kite Festival
National Lentil Festival

American Birkebeiner
EAA AirVenture
Milwaukee Irish Fest
Milwaukee Summerfest

Cody Stampede Rodeo
Woodchoppers Jamboree and Rodeo