September 16, 2013, Updated September 15, 2013

The Sukkot holiday in Israel is one of the year’s most culturally packed weeks. Dozens of family-oriented festivals vie for audiences from across the country.

Notice boards located outside schools and kindergartens are layered with flyers advertising one performance over another.

With a blooming arts and entertainment scene in Israel, however, it’s difficult to make a wrong choice. The Yaron Yerushalmy Magical Legends children’s theater festival in Tel Aviv is a standard during the Sukkot holiday. So, too, are the Haifa International Film Festival and Pearls of Classical Music Festival in Jerusalem.

ISRAEL21c veers off the beaten path for more Sukkot festival picks:

Acco (Acre) Festival of Alternative Theater

Celebrating 30 years, the Acco Festival of Alternative Theater infuses life into the ancient port city for five days (September 21-24) during Sukkot. The seaside city provides a beautiful backdrop while top performers in just about every field keep the crowds fully entertained. On the bill: ballet, street and open-air events, fringe theater, markets, ethnic foods, artisan fair and music.

Acco Festival

International Circus Festival, Modi’in

After a super-successful debut last year, Modi’in has taken upon itself ringmaster duties once again and is set to host the best circus artists from Israel and abroad in a three-day clowning extravaganza.

Most of the circus performances are open to the public free of charge and include acrobatic shows, juggling, clowning and dance, pyrotechnics, rope walking, an inflatable circus show, pantomime and theater.

The events will take place September 22-24 at venues throughout the city. Performances requiring tickets must be booked in advance: 972-3-966-6141.

circus festival performance

Batzir Chadash Festival for Young Contemporary Art, Yavneh

Taking its cue from European arts festivals, the third annual Batzir Chadash event spotlights dance, theater, musical performances, street theater, workshops and activities for the entire family. Most of the activities are free of charge.

Ethnix, the popular ethnic band, will kick things off at the Yavneh Culture Center on September 22. The festival runs September 22-24.

Culture at Dusk, Ein Gedi

The prize-winning Botanical Garden in Kibbutz Ein Gedi will host a three-evening happening that kicks off with a guided tour and lecture about the history of this green jewel in the desert and continues with a concert. Ester Rada, Danny Robas and Shem Tov Levi will share the spotlight with baobab trees, cacti and Queen of the Night cereus flowers, September 22-24.

International Dance Festival, Mitzpeh Ramon

The 13th annual International Modern Dance Festival takes place at the Adama Dance Art Healing Center in Mitzpeh Ramon. Choreographers from Israel, Poland, Czech Republic and Latvia will premiere works and hold workshops with festival participants. Open jam sessions focusing on world music will take place every evening during the festival, September 18-21.

Renaissance Festival, Yechiam Castle National Park, Western Galilee

Ancient music in the style of the 10th to 16th centuries comes alive at the Sukkot Renaissance Festival at Yechiam Castle National Park. Musicians play on original and replica instruments. The festival – September 22-24 — includes choir recitals as well as traditional storytelling and street performances.

International Storytelling Festival, Givatayim

The annual storytelling festival during the Sukkot holiday is promising to be one of the biggest events yet. The Givatayim Theater will host 100 storytelling shows with more than 800 performers, from September 19 to 28.

Storytelling festival

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director