Oktoberfest in Iowa
The Oktoberfest at Iowa's Amana Colonies village may be one of the busiest fall fests in the Midwest. Be the first to finish eating a foot-long brat and win a gift certificate to the Amana Meat Shop, watch the keg toss and log-sawing competitions or try the nail-driving competition. Listen to live entertainment by the Johnny Wagner Band and The Bavarian Musikmeisters, among other performers, and take the kids to Kinderplatz Fall fun. There will be craft demonstrations, a parade on Saturday, and fall foods and drinks.
Noon to midnight Friday, Sept. 28; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30. $10 for a one-day pass and $15 for a two-day pass at Amana Colonies in Amana, Iowa. festivalsinamana.com/oktoberfest.html
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Smoke on the water
Halloween and architecture lovers should reserve their seats on Seadog Haunted Tours to experience sights, lights and frights. Discover the city's architecture at night while learning ghostly secrets about the Windy City. Costumed tour guides will highlight incidents and supernatural events from Chicago's history and the haunting stories regarding the famous buildings along the Chicago River.
6:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 12-27, and Halloween, Wednesday, Oct. 31. The one-hour tours depart from Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Tours cost $28.95 plus tax for adults, $17.95 plus tax for children ages 4 through 12, and $1 for children ages 3 and younger. Get 10 percent off tickets through Oct. 1 by using the promo code HAUNTED10 at seadogcruises.com/Chicago/chicago-haunted-tours or by calling (888) 636-7737.
Turn over a new leaf
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago has announced fall treatments and a Runner's Recovery Package in time for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Choose among manicures and pedicures from the spa's boutique, a facial or a Runner's Recovery Package for Chicago Marathon participants.
Runner's package available Monday through Thursday, Oct. 8-11, at 120 E. Delaware Place, Chicago. Call (312) 649-2340.
Strutting in the city
The Palmer House Hilton hotel has launched a new children's program, the Peacock Club, offering a host of amenities. A concierge reaches out to families prior to a trip, making sure favorite snacks, books and movies are available upon arrival. A dedicated website will help parents navigate available children's programs and activities at the hotel and neighborhood.
The Palmer House Hilton is at 17 E. Monroe St., Chicago. Rates range from $149 to $279 depending upon dates. Call (800) 445-8667 or see palmerhousehiltonhotel.com with reference to Peacock Club package, promo code P9.
Cornish come to the point
The Wisconsin Cornish Society celebrates its heritage in Mineral Point, Wis., with a festival that offers customs, food and fun of those who emigrated from Cornwall, the most southwestern part of England. The fest includes a Cornish concert, a taste of Mineral Point and a farmers market. Visitors can also tour one of Mineral Point's museums, see lace makers, spinners and storytellers or attend a workshop on crafts. Homes reminiscent of a rural English village will be open for visits.
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29; and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30. (888) 764-6894 or cornishfest.org.
The 40th annual Warrens Cranberry Fest will provide cranberry fans a chance to taste cranberry brats, cranberry salsa, cranberry chili as well as non-berry festival foods and wares along three miles of fun. The authentic small-town celebration also offers marsh tours, more than 1,000 vendor booths, lots of contests and the Largest Cranberry Craisin Whoopie Pie in the World.
7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Sept. 28-30, in Warrens, Wis. (608) 378-4200 or cranfest.com for more information.
Worth the trip
And a-one, and a-two -- it's squeeze box central at the Accordion Extravaganza in Edmonton, Alberta. Pack your instrument and get on the open stage that hosts a new performer every 15 minutes. Children, seniors, duets, impromptu groups, professionals and amateurs perform in a nonstop musical show. Attend workshops to polish your skills, concerts to hear pros and explore the accordion trade show.
Friday through Sunday, Sept. 28-30, at 9350 82nd St., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Call (877) 888-1757 or see www.edmontonaccordion.com/.