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The Independent Travel

14-21 Sept The Festival of the Sea takes place as part of Monaco classic week, offering an opportunity to drool at some of the most prestigious yachts currently under sail. There is also an exhibition of vintage boats, sea planes and a number of "tall ships".

West Cumbria, England

20 Sept The World Gurning Championships have long been the show stopper at the Egremont Crab Fair. This delight in the art of extreme facial contortion has been around since 1297 when the village idiot would put his head through a horse's collar and "snarl like a dog and distort the countenance" for a few tankards of ale. Nowadays, women and juniors compete alongside the toothless old men for the honour of being the most hideous.


20 Sept The Chinese Mid-Autumn festival (above) honours the Queen of the Heavens (the moon) with offerings for past and future fortune. Throughout the Chinese world people will honour their ancestors by eating moon-cakes and participating in lion and dragon dances.

San Francisco

20-21 Sept The moan of melancholy harmonicas will resound above the otherwise gay city of San Francisco, during the 25th anniversary blues festival. Performers at the oldest blues festival in America this year include Ike Turner, The Sharp Harps and Mad Guitar Murphy. Bands with sensible names need not apply.


20 Sept - 5 Oct Munich gets ready for the onslaught of 7 million beer- swilling, wurst-eating revellers this Saturday, with the start of the 164th Oktoberfest. Sixteen days filled with nuclear-strength beer and more varieties of sausage than you knew existed. Can your lederhosen stand the strain?