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Fun with fish...French frolics...Korean cook-up...rock'n'remember...beasts and beauties...
Sunday 27 September 1998
Something fishy is afoot on Scotland's west coast today. Apart from the fishing boat races, the final day of the Seafood Festival in Oban promises to be a culinary treat. A vast food hall is filled with the region's finest fruits de mer, cooked by competing professional chefs. Continuing thirsts can be quenched with a wee dram at the Speyside Whisky Festival in Dufftown from 2-5 October. Along with the International Malt Whisky Nosing Festival and visits to distilleries normally closed to the public, events include free drams on the first night, traditional music, ceilidhs and evaluations of old malts.
End September - end October
The autumn wine harvest provides one of the better excuses to explore regional France. From the end of September to the end of October, towns and villages celebrate the grape harvest with vin-fuelled festivities to honour diligent grape-pickers and the annual crop. In Burgundy, celebrations last until the beginning of November with the inaugural Chablis wine festival. Bordeaux holds special celebrations for guests at selected hotels, and Monmartre is the spot to enjoy the Paris metropolitan harvest mayhem. Maps and information from the French Travel Service in London or from France Information (tel: 0891 244 123, calls cost 50p per minute).
The South Cholla province in south Korea has historically been blessed with abundant harvests due to its fertile mountains and rich rivers. As a result, the region has developed some of the most elegant cuisine in the country. The Namdo Food Festival in Nagan Upsongolk village holds numerous culinary contests and eating contests, with exhibitions of traditional culture and arts such as Kanggangsuwollae - female dance - and races with competitors balancing a water-jug on their heads. The festival is in the village's 16th-century fortress.
The town of Chippenham in Wiltshire has the morbid pleasure of hosting the annual Eddie Cochran memorial rock'n'roll weekend. The Minnesota-born singing legend, who penned such mould-breaking ditties as C'mon Everybody and Summertime Blues, was 21 when he died in a crash at Chippenham on his first UK tour. This is not a sombre event, with a classic car and motorbike cruise-by, jive classes and memorabilia stalls, plus a memorial service today. Top of the bill will be Bobby Cochran - Eddie's nephew who played with him on Three Steps to Heaven - and The Crickets. Tickets cost pounds 22 from the Chippenham Tourist Information Centre (tel: 01249 706333).
The water buffalo is a mainstay of the Thai farmer, dignified and placid, ploughing the fields. But once a year at the Chon Buri Buffalo Races, the quiet beasts kick up their heels. Thundering buffalo forge muddy tracks through fields dragging young charioteers on wooden sledges, watched by vast crowds of Thaisay-trippers. The standard "who can drag a plough the quickest" race dominates events, and there is even a beauty queen contest where local girls in national dress aim for stardom.
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