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BELGIUM: It’s spring, and Andenne’s bears have roused themselves from hibernation to celebrate the annual Carnival of Bears on Sunday.

Although legend has it that in the eighth century, 9-year-old Charles Martel, a future military and political leader, single-handedly killed a bear with a hammer, it’s the animal that today is honored as the symbol of the town. From noon until 7 p.m., the bears will dance in the streets, with a procession of floats, carnival groups, majorettes and bands, all under a rain of confetti and candy. The traditional tossing of stuffed bears from the City Hall will finish the day.

See the website www. carnaval-des-ours (French with parts in English) for more on the festivities.

NETHERLANDS: More than 500 museums throughout the country will be open Saturday and/or Sunday with free or discounted admission during the country’s annual National Museum Weekend. In addition to the deals on admission, many sites will offer free entertainment or activities.

In Amsterdam, the list of participants includes more to a rematch each year.

Saturday will mark the 157th time the race has been conducted (Cambridge, last year’s winner, leads 80-75 — the 1877 race ended in a tie).

This year, the race begins at 5 p.m. at Putney Bridge, finishing at Chiswick Bridge. According to the official website, the best places to watch are the start at Putney Bridge, Putney Embankment and Bishops Park; the middle at Hammersmith and Barnes; and the finish at Dukes Meadows and Chiswick Bridge.

A festival atmosphere has grown up around the competition, with special deals in nearby pubs, a music festival in Putney, two “Boat Race in the Park” events featuring big screens, food and drink stands and other activities in Bishop’s Park and Furnivall Gardens.

For more details, check

SCOTLAND: Edinburgh is celebrating its Gaelic roots through April 16 with the Celtic Ceilidh festival, a celebration of local and international traditional music, song, dance and storytelling.

In addition to listening to professional entertainment, participants can attend workshops that teach the art of storytelling and others that demonstrate traditional dance steps so they can confidently jump into an evening ceilidh dance. For a list of events, venues and tickets (also note the Easter weekend street fair with food, drink and craft stalls) go to

The Celtic Ceilidh festival overlaps with the International Harp Festival, so you have the opportunity to hear some of the world’s most accomplished harpists at the same time.


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