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Running of the Bulls

Spain’s Running of the Bulls arrives in the US.

On August 24, Virginia Motorsports Park in Petersburg, Virginia, will be the first of 10 US cities to host a version of Pamplona’s San Fermin festival. For those who don’t know, that’s the one where angry, hulking bulls chase rag-doll humans down a course in hopes of goring them. But not to worry—while the Great Bull Run does feature real, live 1,000-pound bulls just like the Spanish fest, the US version has a few added safety precautions (namely, kinder, gentler bulls, plus a track fence and safety nooks along the quarter-mile route). Another key difference is that the bulls aren’t slaughtered once the festival ends, so you won’t have that blood on your hands. For those lacking the cajones to make the run, the event also includes a big, day-long fiesta afterward, where thrill-seekers and their fans and families can take in live music, games, and food and drink. The party’s highlight, however, is the Tomato Royale, a scaled down version of Spain’s messy, raucous food fight, La Tomatina. After the Virginia date, the festival hits Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis, Chicago and other select cities on the East and West coasts. Check out the fest’s web site for details.

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Martina Sheehan

Martina Sheehan

Martina is a Chicago-based travel writer and editor who has written for the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Budget Travel, Forbes Travel Guides, and Time Out Chicago, among other publications. You can find her at

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