Event-o-Rama: 12 Must-Dos in October

There are amazing things to see and do all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in October:

  • Gain a new perspective on Paris at Nuit Blanche (White Night) on October 6, when the city’s countless galleries, museums, and performance halls open their doors all night to visitors — for free.
  • Go up, up, and away at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. New Mexico hosts the world’s largest hot-air balloon festival for nine days this month (October 6-14). Don’t miss the “Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension,” where balloonists from all over the world launch one at a time to the tune of their national anthem.
  • Get happy. Travel to Bacolod City, Philippines to dance in the streets wearing bright costumes and smiling masks at the MassKara Festival (October 1-21). When a sugar-industry slump coincided with a tragedy at sea that claimed close to 700 lives, the community decided to hold a festival to demonstrate their solidarity and determination to rise above adversity. The tradition bore repeating and the celebration grows each year.
  • Witness awe-inspiring natural phenomena. October is the peak of the fall migration season for birds in many parts of the world. Why do birds migrate?The simple answer is to survive — to find food, mates, and weather that will allow their progeny to live on.
  • Try out one of Nat Geo Traveler‘s “Best Fall Trips.” Stop by the 48th annual National Apple Harvest Festival on the outskirts of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the first two weekends in October and get your fill of live music, arts and crafts, tractor pulls, and amazing apple-themed culinary treats.
  • Get ready to gape. Scores of Berlin’s most famous landmarks — including the Brandenburg Gate — will be illuminated from October 10-21 at the Festival of Lights, turning the German capital into a fairy-tale city.
  • Indulge your creative side at the Melbourne Festival (October 11-27), one of Australia’s premiere celebrations of the arts. The sensory menu includes theater, dance, live musical performances, film, and visual arts.  
  • Test your taste for adventure at Bridge Day (October 20) — the “world’s largest extreme-sports event.” Watch (or join) hundreds of BASE jumpers as they hurl themselves off the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia. Read contributing blogger Ben Long’s first-hand account.
  • Feast your eyes on the Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival(October 26-30) in northeastern Thailand. Each year, the people of Sakhon Nakhon celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent by constructing elaborate castles from beeswax and parading them through the region. Arrive early to visit the temples around the city and watch artisans hard at work on their sculptures. The community also holds long boat races to commemorate the occasion.
  • Celebrate Mexico’s indigenous culinary traditions with locals and foodies from around the world at the 36th annual Festival del Mole (October 6-28) in the village of San Pedro Actópan. In addition to being a showcase for the signature rich brown sauce made from chiles, spices, and chocolate, you can also sample (and take home) pipián, adobo, and other foods. Don’t forget to pick up a clay cazuela of your own so you can make mole at home. There are also games, rides, rodeos, bullfights, and voladores (dancers that fly from high poles).
  • Hoist your sails at the Barcolana regatta (October 6-14), one of the largest boat races in the world. The annual event takes place in the Gulf of Trieste, where more than 2,000 participants — from families and amateurs to professional teams — compete for the cup, a spectacular ending to a nine-day festival that includes a nautical fair, wild parties, and exhibitions on shore.
  • Start planning your costume, because Halloween (October 31) is right around the corner. Many believe its roots can be traced back to the Celtic harvest festival, Samhain, but these days, the ancient holiday is celebrated far and wide. Here are some tips to help you come up with an eco-friendly costume this year.

What would you add to the list? Let us know what we’re missing by leaving a comment.