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Events: October

A Fair Bet for a Great Time

September 22, 1996|ELLEN MELINKOFF

Texas

At the State Fair of Texas, Sept. 27 to Oct. 20 at Fair Park in Dallas, visitors can ride one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the country, and see six Bengal tigers, college football, P.T. Barnum's World of Wonderment & the Bizarre (fire-eaters, sword-swallowers and human pretzels), a full production of "Miss Saigon," plus performances by the Beach Boys and the Neville Brothers. Livestock competition includes an all-breed rabbit show. There's an electrical parade and fireworks nightly. For more information, contact the State Fair of Texas, P.O. Box 150009, Dallas, TX 75315; tel. (214) 421-8713.

Massachusetts

Salem, which remains witch-centric even after 300 years, expands its traditional Halloween high jinks to three weeks this year, Oct. 11 to 31. The kickoff is a torchlight parade through the historic downtown district (with special "Fright Trains" on the MTA from Boston). Local witches set up Ask-a-Witch booths in the town square. At the famous House of Seven Gables, there are nighttime candlelight tours. Other events include ghost tales in 17th century homes, midnight walks through a graveyard, a Monster Mash and Witches Ball, a psychic fair, murder mystery dinners and scavenger hunts. For more information, contact the Salem Halloween Committee, P.O. Box 8193, Salem, MA 01971; tel. (508) 744-0013.

Colorado

The Durango Cowboy Gathering, Oct. 3 to 6 in Durango, celebrates life in the Old West. The parade, featuring cowboys on horses, wagons, carriages (anything motorless), begins at the train depot and ends at the fairgrounds. Every evening cowboy poets, such as Mad Jack Hanks and Peggy Malone, gather to read their work. Also planned: a concert by Red Steagall and the Boys in the Bunkhouse, an auction of Western memorabilia, Western art shows and, of course, it wouldn't be the Old West without a shootout. For more information, contact Durango Area Chamber Resort Assn., P.O. Box 2587, Durango, CO 81302; telephone (800) 463-8726.

Florida

Although they're not saying "close, but no cigar," visitors to the first annual Key West Celebration of the Cigar Festival, Oct. 15 to 19, will no doubt be aware that the real thing is just an ocean breeze away. Capitalizing on their proximity to Cuba, as well Key West's own extensive cigar-making history,.The festival includes an exhibit on the history of the cigar industry, elaborate dinners and cigar smokes at local restaurants , and a slide presentation on old Key West cigar labels. For more information, contact the Key West-Havana Cigar Co., 1117 Duval St., Key West, FL 33040; tel. (305) 296-2680.

Iowa

Eight riverboats will converge on Davenport, Oct. 10 to 13, for the first ever Big River Rendezvous. Led by the Delta Queen, the paddle wheelers will land on the Iowa side of the Mississippi and many will offer tours and day cruises. Riverbank events include a catfish fest and entertainment. On Oct. 12 there's a musical salute to the late jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke, a Davenport native. For more information, contact Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, 102 S. Harrison St., Davenport, IA 52801; tel. (800) 747-7800.

North Dakota

The largest Scandinavian festival, Norsk Hostfest, takes place Oct. 15 to 19 in Minot. Chefs from Scandinavia fly in to cook Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish cuisines. There are authentic crafts for sale, plus a Scandinavia-themed bookshop. The entertainment is not limited to Swedish nightingales--Tom Jones, Trisha Yearwood and Waylon Jennings are on the bill. Minot is the largest city in northwest North Dakota. For more information, call Norsk Hostfest, P.O. Box 1347, Minot, ND 58702; tel. (701) 852-2368.

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