Dateline (proposed): DAYTONA, March 5, 2030
This got me wondering, when is the next time the first Tuesday in March is also Fat Tuesday? Talk about worlds colliding! So I constructed the table below. As it happens, this confluence is a fairly infrequent occurrence.
|Comparing Daytona Bike Week to Fat Tuesday|
Daytona Bike Week is highlighted in yellow. Ash Wednesday is represented in the grey column. From 2014 to 2040, a span of 27 years, only twice (2030 and 2038) does Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday, fall on the first Tuesday in March, i.e., during DBW.
Long before the Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, race car drivers flocked to Daytona Beach to race on the well packed beach. The wide beach and smooth sands created the perfect site for testing and racing high speed automobiles. By the mid 1920s the new Pier Casino attracted many Florida vacationers, including many race car drivers. When their photographs circulated worldwide, Daytona Beach took on the catch phrase the World's Most Famous Beach.
Mention Daytona Beach, and one of the first phrases likely to pop into people's minds is "gentleman, start your engines." This famous catchphrase, often used to mark the start of a race, fits Daytona well, as it is a city with a true passion for racing, the automobile, and chasing that elusive next speed record. Graced with miles of prime beachfront, it is also a wonderful holiday destination, and has some massively popular special events.
Most famous of all of Daytona's annual events is the Daytona 500. Held every February at the Daytona International Speedway, it draws hundreds of thousands eager to see the best drivers in the world risk life and limb driving the fastest cars. Another spectacle that shouldn't be missed is Bike Week in early March, during which thousands of loud Harleys and their even louder owners take over Daytona and are celebrated for it.
At some point during all the excitement at Daytona, you may want to take a step back from the crowds and merrymakers. For a great view and the possibility of some excellent photos, climb the 200-stair Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. Another way to relax is to stop by something you could only find in the USA--the Little Chapel by the Sea, which used to be a drive-in theatre, and has now been reborn as a drive-in church.
A first word of advice--if you are going to be in town during any of the above mentioned special events, book well in advance. Also, if you are with your family and/or wish to keep the party scene at arm's length, look to stay to the west of Daytona or in New Smyrna Beach. Fine restaurants abound--for something upmarket, try Rosario's Restaurant, and for some delicious seafood (their oysters come from their own beds) a good choice is JB's Fish Camp and Restaurant.