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The Independent Travel
13 September

Bohinj, Slovenia

The central threshing hall in the northern Slovenian town of Bohinj will be the focus of much merriment tonight, as it is the annual Cow's Ball. This bovine bash celebrates the successful moving of the cattle herds from the high Alpine slopes to the valleys, in preparation for winter. During this local holiday, villagers come together to sell local produce such as Bohinj cheese and wooden clog-like shepherds' shoes, and for celebrations which involve the consumption of much sausage and strudel, washed down with Slovenian wines and beers.

Until 27 September

Prague, Czech Republic

The 8th Prague Autumn International Music Festival is the perfect excuse to visit this dramatically beautiful city. Prague's music festivals are growing in popularity and prestige and national and international orchestras of world-renown are invited to perform at various venues throughout the city. Among the highlights of this year's festival are performances by the Prague Chamber Orchestra and Prague Chamber Philharmonic, the London Mozart Players, and the Bonn Beethovenhalle Orchestra.

15-27 September

Pecs, Hungary

Music "inspired by the grapes and wines across the ages" is the subject of the European Drinking Song Festival, according to Hungary Tourism's brochure. Despite this boozy theme, Hungarian versions of "Danny Boy" will not be heard during this two-week folk-music festival held in the southern region of Pecs. Instead, accomplished international male choirs, national vocal ensembles and folk artists will be demonstrating their musical talents at concerts held along the region's famous Wine Path.

17-20 September

California, USA

Lovers of Americana can go California Cruisin' this week at the Route 66 Rendezvous, which takes place in San Bernardino. Visitors will be getting their kicks on San Bernardino's stretch of the famous American Highway, immortalised by the likes of Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac, when it hosts a vintage-car cruise and street fair as part of California's celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of becoming a state and the discovery of gold within its boundaries. Route 66 - also known as the Mother Road and the Main Road of America - is a 2,440-mile stretch of highway running from Chicago to Los Angeles.

18 September-5 October

Munich, Germany

Beer, Bratwurst and Bavarian bedlam - yes, it is time for the world's most famous annual booze-up. The Munich Beer Festival is the biggest of its kind and sees the consumption of some nine million glasses of beer. After imbibing potent brews like Marzenbier and Weissbier, a nibble of some traditional brezen (pretzel) is the quickest emergency option to soak up the damage, but fleisch-lovers can seal up the most beer-soaked stomachs with endless varieties of wurst (sausage) and schnitzel on offer. Throughout the site there are vast marquees seating up to 10,000 beer- crazed customers - only marginally calmer than the state-of-the-art white- knuckle rides which now provide a stomach-churning alternative to the traditional thigh-slapping fun.

19-29 September

North of England, UK

Fans of Beatrix Potter and conservation enthusiasts, rally round: it's Red Squirrel Week. The various family oriented events held during the week will aim to highlight efforts being made to save Britain's native squirrel - fabled as Squirrel Nutkin by the Victorian illustrator and author Beatrix Potter. Events are mainly held in the north of England and include a raft-race in which participants don giant squirrel costumes and go in search of hazelnuts, Squirrel Nutkin-style. For more information about the various events, call The Wildlife Trust (tel: 01522 544400).

19 September

Cumbria, UK

To the villagers of Egremont in Cumbria, having a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp is something to be greatly admired, at least on the final night of the Crab Fair, when the World Gurning Championships take place. These end-of-harvest celebrations have been a decidedly ugly affair in Egremont since 1297, when villagers first discovered the delights of extreme facial contortion. Gurning means "to snarl like a dog and distort the countenance" and is reputed to have originated from the mocking of the village idiot. The Crab Fair runs between 12 and 19 September, and other events include the Crab Apple Cart Parade, the Greasy Pole Competition and the Pipe Smoking Contest.

Sarah Barrell

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