Sven Kaestner/AP
Brandenburg Gate during the Festival of Lights

Fall Getaways: Autumn Festivals

October 22, 2008
by Sarah Amandolare
Cities around the world are celebrating the height of the fall season with bright lights, artisan wines and fresh local foods, and plenty of pumpkins. The second half of October is packed with intriguing autumn events, five of which are detailed below.

Berlin Brightens

In Berlin, where fall boasts bright crimson leaves, the Festival of Lights illuminates the city from October 14–26. Historical landmarks, such as the Brandenburg Gate, shine with light and fireworks, host events, and are shadowed in projections. Cultural activities, including a photography exhibit and jazz concerts, lend a carnival-like atmosphere to the city throughout the festival.

To read more about Berlin’s dynamic youth culture, including the innovative art and fashion trendsetters who make the city tick, visit findingDulcinea’s feature, “Cultural Capitals: Berlin.”

Mexican Mole

Mole, a sauce featuring the unique flavor combination of chocolate and chilies, is on display this month in San Pedro Atocpan, Mexico. Through October 26, the Actopan National Mole Fair (Feria Nacional del Mole Actopan) offers a great opportunity to taste the traditional topping in a city touting nearly 50 mole mills. After you’ve had your fill, enjoy the rodeo and fireworks at the fair.

Pacific Northwest Cuisine

Oregon Bounty offers a chance to taste the best of the state’s food and drink. This “annual gastronomic extravaganza” features events throughout October and November, such as winemaking dinners and weekend cooking workshops. Consider a road trip around the state to try Oregon’s artisan wines, beers and spirits; heirloom apples and incomparable seafood. Brew aficionados should catch the Eugene Fresh Hops Beer Tastival, where more than 20 Oregon-crafted beers will be available for tasting on October 25.

Oregon’s Mt. Hood Railroad is up and running in time for fall foliage tours, and there’s still time to see the colorful scenery of the Columbia River Highway. The findingDulcinea feature “Fall Getaways: Oregon” outlines several autumn options.

Virginia’s Fall Wines

October is Wine Month in Virginia, coinciding with peak fall foliage. The southern state is dotted with more than 130 wineries and strewn with wine trails, making it easy for visitors to enjoy several different vineyards during their trip. Throughout the month, enjoy entertainment, live music and arts and crafts, in addition to Virginia wine and cuisine. Of note is the Monster Mash on Halloween, with haunted ghost tours, a costume party and wine tastings at James River Cellars.

Pumpkin Paradise

The Keene Pumpkin Festival is a must-see for any fan of Halloween. The annual event gives the New Hampshire town a chance to break the world record for most lit pumpkins in one place. Boston is the reigning record holder, with 30,128 jack-o’-lanterns, but Keene made a respectable attempt last year with 25,644 gleaming grins. Festival organizer William Harris said, “we just have to figure out how to push ourselves over the 30,000-pumpkin mark.” Expect pumpkins to start piling up on Main Street early in the morning of October 25, along with various vendors, parades and entertainers.

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