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TRAVELING IN STYLE

Turn to the Rites

March 16, 1997|Ellen Melinkoff

CHANGING OF THE GUARD, RUNNING OF THE BULLS. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. FOR A MORE UNUSUAL CULTURAL EXPERIENCE, CONSIDER TWISTING YOUR NEXT VACATION ITINERARY AROUND ONE OF THESE EVENTS:

YPRES, BELGIUM: No one throws black cats from the Cloth Hall belfry any more to thwart evil spirits. Now during the "Kattestoet," they throw cats made of cloth. And everyone's invited to catch them. May 11.

IKAALINEN, FINLAND: More than 800 accordionists and 50,000 accordion fans are expected for the Sata-Hame Accordion Festival, which celebrates one of Finland's favorite instruments. June 30-July 6.

CARLSBAD CAVERNS, N.M.: The national park offers a "Bat Breakfast" and lectures on bat lore as thousands of the critters flit back to the caves. The catch? The best time to see them return is at 5 a.m. Aug. 14.

BUN~OL, SPAIN: Thousands of pounds of ripe tomatoes will be the ammo in a town-wide food fight. Origins of the "Tomatina" are unclear. A drunken wedding? An upturned produce cart? In any event, tourists are special targets; don't wear your Sunday best. Aug. 27.

ALICE SPRINGS, AUSTRALIA: Lack of a running river doesn't stop the mates in this Outback town. Carrying their boats, teams race along a dry creek bed in the Henley-on-Todd Regatta. Oct. 4.

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