Best Bets, Aug. 4: Spanish horse race, Champagne Route Festival
SpainSand will fly on the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the Carreras de Caballos de Sanlúcar horse races.
At 6 p.m. daily, the horses will race along a stretch of sand at the mouth of the Rio Guadalquivir, cheered on by spectators, some of whom have bet money on favorites.
The races also take place Aug. 25 to 27, and the public is invited to a party afterward.
Get more details at www.sanlucar-de-barrameda.com/beach-horse-racing.
FranceSample Champagne this weekend in the Champagne-Ardenne region at the annual La Route du Champagne en Fete (Champagne Route Festival).
Fourteen cellars in seven villages off highway A5 southeast of Troyes will offer tastings from their own vintages. The villages offer a variety of entertainment, including exhibitions, music, local crafts and food. For the tastings, pay 10 euros for a Champagne glass (la flute passeport) that can be used to taste the bubbly at all of the cellars.
See the route at www.routeduchampagne.com.
BelgiumIf you see a procession of men carrying a long tree at 2 p.m. Monday along Brussels’ rue du Marais, follow them to catch the annual Meyboom celebration.
The folkloric event is based on a 13th-century legend. One version tells of a wedding party in Brussels being ambushed by men from Louvain (Leuven, in Dutch). The good St. Lawrence intervened, however, and to show its thanks, the city plants a tree every Aug. 9, the day before St. Lawrence Day.
A friendly rivalry between Brussels and Louvain developed with the stipulation that Brussels must plant the tree before 5 p.m. or the privilege of planting it goes to Louvain.
Get more details at www.brussel.be/5518.