Austria: Watch out! It’s Krampus and Perchten season in Salzburg through Dec. 21 and the two spirit groups are ready to dash through the streets of the city. A Krampus is an ugly horned spirit or demon modeled after St. Nicholas’ companion, who punishes wicked children on St. Nicholas Day by beating them with twigs (of course the good children receive gifts from the saint). A Perchten is a spirit that carries bells and loud instruments to chase off the winter. The two groups, together with witches, St. Nicholas and angels, will make their first wild run from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday in the Grigl area of the city. Other dates are Nov. 29 and 30, and Dec. 3, 5, 8 and 21. For more details and locations, see http://www.salzburg.info/en/art_culture/advent_new_years_eve/krampus_perchten/, in English.
Belgium: Shops in the charming Sablon district of Brussels keep open their doors until 11 p.m. tomorrow through Saturday during the annual Sablon Nights festival. The area is known for its quaint antique and specialty stores and restaurants, as well as its 14th-century Église Notre-Dame du Sablon. Lights will illuminate the affair, which will feature exhibitions, wine- and champagne-tastings and other events. The district’s Web site is www.sablon-bruxelles.com, which offers an English-language option.
England: Upgrade your running skills this weekend at the London Running Show, held in the Olympia exhibition center. In addition to exhibitors with the newest in running gear, nutrition ideas, holidays and training, the show offers seminars and workshops. Topics include general and marathon training, clothing and shoes, injury prevention and nutrition. Speakers include coaches and top athletes. The show is open Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets at the door cost 12 pounds (about $20). More details at www.runningshow.co.uk.
Germany: Chocolate lovers will want to head to Tübingen’s old town next month as it hosts ChocolART, touted as the country’s largest chocolate show. The festival, being held Tuesday through Dec. 6, will feature chocolatiers from France, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Ghana, the U.S., Holland, Belgium and Switzerland. There will be tastings, cooking demonstrations, films, art shows, a market and even massages. The festival is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The Web site is www.chocolart.de, in German.
Scotland: On Nov. 30 the Scots celebrate St. Andrew’s Day, which honors the country’s patron saint. More than 40 attractions throughout Scotland, including many castles, will offer free admission this weekend. To see a list of the sites open for free, go to www.historic scotland.gov.uk/index/places/events/st-andrews-day-2009.htm.