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Belgium: Brussels’ beautiful Grand’ Place will be dotted with beer stands this weekend during the annual Belgian Beer Weekend. With more than 40 breweries represented, there will be a wide choice of the country’s best brews, from the well-known brands to new and exotic ones.

Events begin Friday with opening ceremonies at about 4:30 p.m. and beer is served at the stands between 6 and 10 p.m. The beer stands will be open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. At 1 p.m. Saturday, a parade of historical brewery carts and beer wagons will roll through the city, arriving an hour later at the Grand’ Place.

Entry to the event is free; visitors buy tokens at a desk for individual beers. Details at

France: This weekend the streets of Lille will be occupied by stalls belonging to people from throughout the city and across Europe in an annual flea market that city officials claim is the largest of its kind in Europe. La Braderie traces its origins to medieval times and today attracts sellers ranging from antique dealers to those just cleaning out the junk in their homes. Cars are banned from city streets so shoppers can browse safely from 2 p.m. Saturday to 11 p.m. Sunday. The city metro runs the entire 33 hours of the market, and a weekend Pass Braderie allows holders to use any form of public transportation for 4.70 euros. For more details, go to info-3-96-0-gb.html.

Ireland: A month of singles events begins this weekend in the spa town of Lisdoonvarna as the annual Matchmaking Festival gets under way. Loosely based on the tradition of having a matchmaker find suitable mates for the eligible sons and daughters of farmers during the fall harvest season, today’s festival has evolved into a lively party with most participants finding their own partners at the pubs, dances and sporting events. However, the one official matchmaker, Willy Daly, is still available to help with a match.

Most events take place on weekends. This weekend has a country music theme. Sept. 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27, conclude with festival dances, while the final weekend, Oct. 2-4, features the crowning of the Queen of the Burren and Mr. Lisdoonvarna.

For details on the event’s history and activities, visit the Web at

Italy: The most important regatta of Venice’s rowing season will take place Sunday. The Regata Storica, or Historical Regatta, dates to the second half of the 13th century. A historical procession on the water will open activities at 3:15 p.m. with 16th-century-style boats carrying the historical figures of Caterina Cornar, the queen of Cyprus, into the city followed by the regatta competitors. At 4:45, the races will begin with the young rowers category, followed at 5:05 with the women’s category. At 5:30 p.m. the caorline boats (six-oared gondolas) will compete and at 6 p.m. the gondolini (two-oared gondolas) will finish off the regatta. Look for details at


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