Germany • At 975 years old, Bremen’s Freimarkt claims to be the country’s oldest folk festival, and its widespread celebration in the city has earned it the title of “Bremen’s fifth season.” Running Friday through Oct. 31, the lively festival includes a market on the city market square, a medieval market between the town hall and the Liebfrauenkirche, and high-tech amusement rides amid a carnival atmosphere on the Burgerweide.

On Oct. 23, a colorful carnival-like parade with 140 groups and wagons marches through the city streets at 10:30 a.m. Various venues throughout the city have special programs of music and dance. Get details at

• In October 1813, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte battled the combined forces of Britain, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Prussia, Russia and Austria near Leipzig in an attempt to re-establish a hold in Germany. The result, the Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations, was one of the biggest and bloodiest battles in European history, one in which Napoleon suffered a decisive defeat.

Friday through the weekend, the city re-creates those violent days on the 197th anniversary of the event in the Agra-Park Markkleeberg in Leipzig. Historical bivouacs will be set up at the Dölitz and Markkleeberg gatehouses, opening at 1:30 p.m., and authentic battle re-enactments at the Mönchereiplatz will start at 2 p.m. Tickets cost five euros for adults and three euros for children. Find more information at, in German only. Leipzig’s website is

Italy• “Zip Trip Flash in Chocolate” is the theme of this year’s Eurochocolate Festival in Perugia, which runs Friday to Oct. 24. In addition to tasting more than 150 brands of chocolate made in Italy and elsewhere, visitors can enjoy a healthful chocolate-based treatment at the Chocofarm and attend chocolate-themed exhibitions, workshops, talks and competitions. Mexico is this year’s guest of honor, an invitation that recognizes both the importance of cocoa and chocolate in Mexican culture, as well as the socio-economic issues of Third World chocolate production. The festival website is

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