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EnglandBeginning Thursday and continuing through the weekend, the Crufts dog show celebrates its 120th anniversary in Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre. From pedigree to crossbreed, 21,500 canines have been invited to participate under the theme “happy, healthy dogs.” The dogs are divided into four categories — gundog, working and pastoral, terrier and hound, and toy and utility — and each day compete against one another in agility, heeling or flyball techniques.

Throughout the event, more than 400 stands sell doggy products, a Discover Dog arena introduces visitors to 200 pedigree breeds and experts give advice on working with and handling dogs. The finale sees the awarding of the “Best of Show” to one of the dogs. Daily tickets cost 17 pounds (about $28.50) for adults, 13 pounds for children 9 to 15 years old and are free for those 8 and younger. Note that only dogs participating in the show and assistance dogs are allowed to enter, so leave your pets at home. For more details, go to www.crufts.org.uk.

GermanyThe teddy bears are out in full force this weekend at Wiesbaden’s Rhein-Main-Hallen for the annual International Show for Teddy Bears and Steiff Animals.

The trade show will have 300 exhibitors selling original handmade bears, factory bears, bear accessories, bear make-it-yourself kits and other materials. Workshops are also scheduled. The German company Steiff, known for its quality plush animals, will have a large stand selling bears, novelties and new mohair fabrics from the Steiff Schulte weaving mill. The show is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. A day ticket costs 7 euros for adults and free for children up to 10 years, while a two-day ticket is 12 euros. Find more information, in German only, at www.teddybaer-welt.de.

IrelandThis year, Dublin, following in the footsteps of Edinburgh, Scotland; Melbourne, Australia, and Iowa City in the States, has been named a UNESCO City of Literature. In celebration, Dublin has given its St. Patrick’s Day festival, March 16 to 20, a literary heritage theme. For the March 17 parade, organizers chose as its focus the short story “Brilliant” by Roddy Doyle, which tells how the city rids itself of depression and gets back its sense of humor. At noon, a parade begins with colorful street theater troupes, artists, dancers and marching bands as well as theater and pageant companies presenting chapters from the story. The organizers promise “one of the largest artistic presentations in Europe.” Also on the program are a fun fair, music, street theater, Gaelic-language events, themed walks, music and films. For all the details, see www.stpatricksfestival.ie.

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