Basel's autumn fair begins Oct. 25

The residents of Basel treasure the traditions passed down by their forefathers over the centuries. Festivities particularly close to their hearts include carnival and the annual autumn fair. Beginning Oct. 25 and running through Nov. 9,  the 544th edition of the Basler Herbstmesse will draw about one million visitors over the course of its 16-day run.

Switzerland's biggest event of its kind offers amusement rides, stalls peddling a vast range of goods, games, shows and other amusements. Traditional tasty treats to be on the lookout for include the funnel cakes known as Rosekiechli or the cheesecakes called Käskiechli.

Tower of London to remembers World War I

A sight worth a look while in London is a poignant art installation marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” is made up of 888,246 hand-made red ceramic poppies filling the moat surrounding the Tower of London. Each flower represents a fatality of the war.

Following the installation's closure on Nov. 11, the poppies will be distributed amongst those who pre-purchased them at a cost of 25 pounds (about $40) each. The proceeds from their sale is to be divided amongst six charities supporting the country's armed services.

Regent street revs up Nov. 1

Motor enthusiasts in London won't want to miss the Regent Street Motor Show beginning Nov. 1, a showcase of over 300 vehicles spanning some 125 years of automotive history. Many of the classic vehicles present will be taking part in the following day's Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, a 60-mile course exclusively for cars manufactured prior to 1905. Modern vehicles will be represented by the manufacturers BMW, Infiniti, Morgan, Tesla and Renault. Top Grand Prix motorcycle racers will also make an appearance, alongside some of the bikes which propelled them to victory.

Regent Street, located in the city's West End, is a chic shopping destination offering prestigious global brands, listed architecture, galleries and other upscale establishments. On the day, the street will be closed to traffic from Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus.

Top picks for the weekend of Oct. 25-26

Elevate Festival in Graz, Austria

The festival combines elec­tronic music with discourse and activism. Topics will include so­cial, economic and technological developments within the context of democracy and civil society. The aim is to envision alterna­tives that could bring about a better future, working under the belief that a sustainable society depends on individual and collec­tive self-empowerment.

Late-night fun in Munich and Stuttgart

Its biggest bash of the year has come and gone, but the Bavarian capital has yet more fun in store for visitors on Saturday, Oct. 18, as The Long Night of Munich Museums brings enlightenment and entertainment to those seeking nightlife with a cultural flair.

About 90 museums, galleries, churches, foundations and other venues will keep the lights on late to offer guests glimpses of their treasure troves. Guided tours, lectures, concerts and interactive installations figure into the night’s activities.

Belgium's Jenever Festival, Oct. 18-19

Those who have been in Europe for a while might have attended a beer or wine fest or two. Something to which far fewer people have bragging rights is having feted the beverage known as Jenever. A visit to the Jenever Festival in Hasselt, Belgium, over the weekend can remedy that.

Jenever, a juniper-flavored spirit created by the marriage of neutral alcohol and a malt wine mash, was the precursor to gin. As a Protected Product of Origin, like Champagne or Parmesan cheese, the real deal can only be produced in Belgium, the Netherlands and just a few areas within France and Germany. Jenever is bottled in handcrafted clay jugs.

Paris Motor Show, through Oct. 14

Those who choose to attend The Paris Mondial de L’Automobile, or Paris Motor Show, shouldn’t anticipate a solitary experience: the 2012 edition of this biannual event attracted well over a million visitors, marking it as the best-attended motor show in the world.

This vast show stretching across nine pavilions is the place where the world’s foremost auto manufacturers show off what’s been rolling off their production lines and preview the models of the future. Over 100 models premiered at the show’s previous edition, which featured 270 brands from 21 countries. Scheduled debuts generating buzz in the trade press include Bentley’s high-torque Mulsanne Speed; the high-tech, lightweight Jaguar XE; and Land Rover’s laser-powered head-up display technology.

Ludwigsburg festival packs in pumpkins through Nov. 2

For many, October is synonymous with pumpkins. Those whose autumns aren’t complete without the lord of the gourds should head to an exhibit running through Nov. 2 on the castle grounds known as Blühendes Barock in Ludwigsburg, Germany, some 10 miles north of Stuttgart.

This impressive display is billed as the world’s largest of its type. Pumpkins are used as building blocks to create works around a certain theme; this year the concept of royalty is explored, with images of “kings” such as Robin Hood (King of Thieves) and Elvis Presley appearing in squash. Over 450,000 pumpkins in 500 varieties are used in the creation of these sculptures.

German fall markets

Autumn is welcomed to the uni city by the Neckar on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, when the annual event known as Heidelberger Herbst brings an artsy and creative flair to the old town.

Daytime offers endless shopping possibilities, with flea, crafts, and photography markets and numerous stands offering local fare. Musical entertainment offers a journey through cultures, from Arabian drums to French chansons to Irish folk.



About the Author

Karen Bradbury has lived and worked in Europe for more than fifteen years. She has called Moscow, Copenhagen, Rome and now a small wine-producing village along the Rhine in Germany home. When she's not working, whatever the season, she's probably traveling.

Email: bradburyk@estripes.osd.mil