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World Festivals

The world is a fairly large region to cover but then that gives you the chance to think about festivals of all shapes, sizes and themes. With so many festivals to choose from, it's a case of if the first one doesn't appeal, move on to the next.

Are you interested in dressing up? Not in any old sort of fancy costume but that of a particular period, namely Medieval. On the first Sunday in September in the small Tuscany village of Arezzo in Italy, the whole town sees all the locals in ancient clobber. There's a special Medieval mass, a fabulous procession of Medieval characters, some spectacular jousting a la the ancient times and, of course, the prizes for best Medieval character. It's hardly the Miss Medieval Pageant but taken very seriously indeed. Special transport and accommodation packages are available.

Beer drinkers hardly need a festival as an excuse to enjoy a pint or three but the Oktoberfest, the famous beer festival in Munich is the south of Germany is one heck of a knees-up. Don't tell anyone but the festival named after the month of October is actually in September , well it starts then, but that's neither here nor there.

It started in 1810 when the public were invited to a royal wedding and 40,000 turned up. I think all their descendants make it to the festival today so if you enjoy crowds, food and beer, Munich is the place to be.

The Deep South of the USA was home to the birth of the blues and the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Arkansas every October is a time when the Mississippi banks abound with the blues. Plenty of stalls with fabulous food, bicycle tours, fun runs as well but if music is your bag, the lineup is some lineup with three stages and more minor chords than you can poke a plectrum at.

In Thailand there are many elephants but at the Surin Elephant Festival in November every year, you can see hundreds of elephants dancing; yes, dancing, as well as racing and playing soccer. The highlight is a tug of war with their human trainers. The venue is close to Cambodia and is one festival you'll find hard to forget.

If you are a fitness fan and enjoy a Fun Run, there's a festival in Newton in Wales every November [sometimes it's the first week in December] with a difference. The time is close to Christmas and the course is a challenging 7.2 kilometres. All sounds fine so far but there is one strict condition. Every runner must wear a Santa suit. That's the full suit, hat and whiskers. Those with natural padding don't need any extra stuffing! It's a celebration with a difference.

You may grow vegetables and you certainly eat vegetables but do you carve them? I mean as in pieces of sculpture? Well there are plenty of Mexicans who create artistic works strictly from plants and their handiwork can be seen at the Oaxaca Radish Festival every December . You will not believe some of the shapes a radish can become but then seeing is believing. Forget portrait prizes and the rude vegetable competition. Thousands flock to Oaxaca to see the entries and have a darn good time while they're there. And yes it is a festival for radishes.

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