By Bosede Adenekan
The days are getting shorter. The weather is becoming cooler. Your favorite television shows are advertising their season premieres. Summer is coming to a close and fall is creeping in. But this doesn’t mean you have to spend your days in front of the tube; experience the festivals and sports that animate Europe in the fall.
The grand marquis of entertainment, the Merchant City Festival (merchantcityfestival.com) in Glasgow, Scotland from Sept. 20-23, showcases theater, music, dance, comedy, film and fashion. Highlights include the BBC Scotland Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Salsa Celtic, Scottish Comedian of the Year Grand Final, and All Saints Fashion show with celebrity models. Sample Scotland’s vibrant performance scene at this free festival. (Certain events, like the All Saints Fashion show, cost money.)
For those who favor classical music, the 42nd Writislavia Canton International Festival in Wroclaw, Poland is the place to be. From Sept. 6-16, the festival features choral music from renaissance masters and German romantics as well as classical pieces by renowned composers like Beethoven and Mozart. Listen to orchestras, quartets and soloists amid the aesthetic beauty and acoustic excellence of the St. Mary Magdalene Polish National Catholic Cathedral and other churches. Prices for the concerts range from free to $53. (wratislavia.art.pl)
Another prime location for musical performances is the Royal Opera House (royaloperahouse.com) in London. This fall season is replete with a 19th-century ballet classic set in India that tells a tale of love and religious obligation, a passionate French opera, and a clever Italian opera about a love potion. One of the world’s top performance halls, the Royal Opera House not only has state-of-the-art facilities, it also has an amphitheatre terrace which offers you a spectacular view of London’s landmarks.
While in the historic city, swing by any of these events: the London Design Festival (londondesignfestival.com), Sept. 15-23; the Frieze Art Fair (friezeartfair.com), Oct. 11-14; or London Fashion Week (londonfashionweek.co.uk), Sept. 15-20. Celebrating “all that is good in design,” the international design festival offers installations and educational talks about fashion, architecture, furniture, graphic design and any other type of design you can think of. Events range from free to $75.
Perhaps these events may seem lackluster since they’re all about strolling around or sitting still. What you want is to make noise and jump. What better venue to accomplish this than the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (prixarcdetriomphe.com), in France? Heralded as the world’s greatest horse race, the “Arc” will take place at the prestigious Longchamp flat course from Oct. 6-7. Besides its challenging uphill and downhill landscape, the course has historic features like a windmill that was once part of a monastery and the Caucasian Pterocarya, two arboreal beauties. Prices range from $5-10.
Another event that is bound to get your adrenaline pumping is the Dijon International Adventure Film Festival in Burgundy, France, Oct 11-13 (la-guilde.org). Engage in debates, watch documentaries and meet directors who dare to venture into the unknown. Prizes are given to one outstanding book and some extraordinary films and people. The event is free.
The sports, arts, and music scene in Europe promises to be a treat, but let’s not forget about your appetite. For this, Italy is the spot. There’s Pizzafest (pizzafest.info) in Naples, from Sept. 10-12, and Eurochocolate (eurochocolate.com), in Perugia, Oct. 13-21. At Pizzafest, you can sample different Neapolitan pizzas and judge pizza quality and service given. There’s more to this free event than just pizza; you can dance the evening away at a cabaret, watch a magic show or attend a live concert. At Eurochocolate, indulge your sweet tooth. Take cooking classes, watch films and view the magnificent architecture and sculptures of Perugia.
Photo: Models on the catwalk at London Fashion Week.