Across America, seasonal good spirits unite with civic pride to produce a wonderful array of summer festivals -- many of them quite elaborate celebrations honoring a local food, music or historical heritage. Among the many possibilities:
*Nebraskaland Days, North Platte, Neb. One of the liveliest of America's pioneer-heritage festivals, it's a full week of fun and good food with an Old West theme: a steak fry, the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, nightly rodeo dances, tractor-pulling and hog-calling contests and a western art show. Don't show up on Main Street without western garb or you could get dunked in the water trough. June 14 to 22.
*Days in Spain Fiesta, St. Augustine, Fla. Founded by the Spanish 420 years ago, America's oldest city celebrates its birthday with a gala party in the downtown plaza. Spanish food, dancing under the stars and -- recalling the military traditions of the Spanish explorers -- exciting sword-fighting demonstrations. Aug. 14 to 16.
*St. Louis National Ragtime and Traditional Jazz Festival, St. Louis, Mo. For almost a week, the music is nonstop from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. aboard the Goldenrod, an authentic Mississippi River showboat now moored in St. Louis. At times, as many as five stages on various decks are in use by some of the nation's most-talented ragtime and jazz performers. A week's pass is $80. June 8 to 15.
*Garlic Festival, Gilroy, Calif. This small community south of San Jose dubs itself the garlic capital of the world, and anyone driving through can sniff the reason why. The annual festival is a food fantasy: More than 100 booths serve all kinds of ethnic foods, each with garlic in them. July 25 to 27.
*Circus City Festival, Peru, Ind. In the heyday of the circus, the little city of Peru was winter headquarters for several traveling shows. They have gone, but Peru remembers. Each year the city's youngsters, ages 6 through 21, stage an amateur circus -- tumbling, trapeze acts, clowns, a circus band -- that rivals the professionals. Performances July 12 and July 16 to 19.
*Cheyenne Frontier Days, Cheyenne, Wyo. The heart of the 10-day celebration is the Cheyenne rodeo, one of the largest and most important in the country, and the city goes all-out to enjoy itself. There are country-western bands, dancing, parades, a hearty pancake breakfast and Indian and western crafts exhibits. Wear your best Stetson and cowboy boots. July 18 to 27.