Life Travel

October events take on a weird twist

KAYDI PYETTE, Special to QMI Agency

Try your hand at making Korea's national dish at the Gwangju Kimchi Festival, Oct. 13-17. KOREA TOURISM ORGANIZATION PHOTO

Try your hand at making Korea's national dish at the Gwangju Kimchi Festival, Oct. 13-17. KOREA TOURISM ORGANIZATION PHOTO

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As the air turns crisp and the leaves change colour, get set to fall for fabulous film festivals, howl for Halloween haunts, feast on scrumptious seafood, or set your sights on a "lightseeing" tour. Even wrestle up some fun with Korea's national sport.

Bavarian charm

Get out your lederhosen! Bratwurst, beer gardens and oompah bands can only mean one thing -- Oktoberfest. Visit the San Diego area for some of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations on the U.S. west coast. The traditional German holiday is a boom in La Mesa, from Oct. 5-7, and in El Cajon, Sept. 28-30 and Oct. 5-7. Visitors can enjoy dancing, German food, Bavarian bands and hundreds of vendor booths along La Mesa Blvd. in La Mesak, and Mollison Ave. in El Cajon. Both boast attractions for the whole family and admission is free. See sandiego.org.

Spooky season

Get a chill when hundreds of pumpkins cover the grounds at America's most photographed plantation, Boone Hall in Charleston, S.C. Visit throughout the month of October for family friendly events, including an 3.25-hectare corn maze, hayride down Monster Alley, pumpkin patch play area, inflatable play structures and various competitive events to win prizes. Admission is $8-$10. On select evenings starting Sept. 28, visit Boone for their terrifying Fright Nights, the largest of its kind in South Carolina. Visitors will be haunted by ghoulish performers lurking in the shadows at four haunted spaces. Prepare to be scared! Admission is $25 for all attractions and recommended for those 12 and up. See boonehallplantation.com.

Unique festivals

Enjoy the magic of Korea's fall colours this October and take in some of the country's most unique festivals. Visit the city of Busan between Oct. 11-14, to celebrate the bustling Jagalchi Festival, where vendors serve unusual seafood delicacies and sashimi -- paper-thin slices of raw seafood -- at market prices. The next stop is Gimje, on the west coast, home to the Gimje Horizon Festival, which hosts contests, celebratory performances, a street parade, Ssireum (wrestling), and traditional weddings from Oct. 9-14. Finish at the nearby Gwangju Kimchi Festival, Oct. 13-17, which celebrates what could be called Korea's national food, kimchi. Sample and make your own. Visit these major festivals by train to also see the autumn countryside. See visitkorea.or.kr.

Battle on!

Join forces at Niagara on the Lake to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 for this international event on Oct. 12-14 and the largest battle reenactment in Canada. This major event will be held on the same battlefield and the same day where British and American forces faced off in the War of 1812's first significant conflict. On the morning of Oct. 13, hundreds of re-enactors will make the historic march from Fort George to Queenston Heights. During the day there will military demonstrations, battlefield tours, music and period merchants. The dramatic re-enactment of the battle of Queenston Heights starts at 3 p.m., followed by a ceremony at the base of the monument to commemorate those who fell during the war. On Oct. 14, there will be a funeral for fallen general Sir Isaac Brock. Free. See 1812niagaraonthelake.ca.

Light it up

Visit sparkling Berlin during the Festival of Lights Oct. 10-21. As one of the largest illumination festivals in the world, more than 40 of the city's most famous sights and locations, such as the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral, and the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), will be transformed by colourful lights, projections, and fireworks, giving the city a magical glow. Cultural events, all focusing on the topic of light, complement the festival. Special "lightseeing" tours are offered by bus, boat or bicycle, and on the first Saturday of the festival many of the illuminated buildings host special events until midnight. Free admission. See festival-of-lights.de.

Pass the popcorn

Feed your independent spirit at the Woodstock Film Festival, which celebrates the best of independent filmmaking for cinephiles near and far. The festival boasts not just screenings, but A-list concerts, panels and parties from Oct. 10-14. The line-up of films and special events takes place in Woodstock, N.Y., and the neighbouring towns of Rhinebeck, Saugerties, Boiceville, Kingston and Rosendale. See woodstockfilmfestival.com.

Not finished with the popcorn? Take in the first ever OBX Horror Film Festival and Zombie Walk along North Carolina's Outer Banks. The spooky two-day event will kick off with a "zombie mixer" on Oct. 26 in Kill Devil Hills, followed by the film festival, a lurching zombie walk along the beach, and a "zombie ball" on Oct. 27 at Roanaoke Island Festival Park. Tickets are $40 for the whole package. See obxhorrorfest.com.


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