Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Keeping Healthy at Summer Music Festivals

If you're off to a festival this summer make sure you take some time before hand to prepare for all eventualities. Festivals are meant to be fun but they are also an ideal place for your health to suffer.

Firstly make some room in your rucksack to pack a first aid kit. A few essentials in between the glow sticks and cans of beer won't take up much room and you'll be thankful for it if you do pick up a bug, cut or burn. If you're on any regular medication make sure you take that with you too.

You can find a great range of travel and outdoor first aid kits at First Aid Warehouse and if you want to make a DIY first aid kit check out Boots for all the bits you'll need and where you can also pick up homeopathic and other alternative remedies.

Sun Protection
Take at least Factor 15 sun cream or lotion and remember if you're out all day to apply it regularly. Even if it doesn't appear very sunny you can still get burnt from the rays that penetrate clouds. Read more in our guide to staying safe in the sun. And don't forget your sun hat - fingers crossed that you actually get to wear it!

Aloe Vera and calamine lotion are good at soothing burnt skin and Belladonna is a homeopathic remedy recommended if you get sunstroke.

Bugs And Allergies
Not only can they be very painful or itchy, insect bites can also leave the skin prone to infection so do all you can to avoid getting bitten by using a spray or diffuser. If you do get bitten an antiseptic cream will help keep out infection. Anti-histamine tablets will help treat hayfever and other allergies. Also, if you are asthmatic remember to pack a spare inhaler.

Aspirin or Nurofen will help with the inevitable hangover after a few festival ciders.

Anti-Diarrhea Tablets
Change of diet, stress and food poisoning can all bring on an upset stomach. Read more about precautions you can take to avoid food poisoning, pack some Diareze or Arret tablets and make sure if you do get diarrhoea you drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. If you get very sick visit the festival medical centre for proper treatment.

Cushioned plasters are good for preventing blisters and antiseptic plasters will help keep festival dirt out of any nicks and cuts you might get.

If you're on The Pill remember to take enough with you to last your time away. It might also be worth you skipping the normal break if you're due to have your period at a festival although check with your doctor first. And throw in a few condoms just in case - even if you don't get lucky you can always 'lend' them to your friends.

One of the best things about festivals is sampling all the different types of food on offer but if you're not careful it's also a very easy way to pick up a nasty stomach bug. However, it's important that you keep well nourished as the drinking and dancing can really take their toll on your poor body.

If you have overdone it on the alcohol a starchy meal like pie and mash, fish and chips, a jacket potato or some noodles will help replenish your blood sugars and line the stomach for the next round of drinks. Although a sugar fix may seem like the easier option you'll only get a quick boost before feeling an energy slump again.

Vitamins and minerals are essential so try and eat some fruit - you'll find lots of stalls selling fruit kebabs, watermelon slices or smoothies which not only taste delicious but are good for you. They'll also go some way to replenishing lost fluids. If you have hurt your stomach lining go easy on the acid though and avoid things like undiluted orange juice.

Fresh water should be freely available on the festival site and it's important that you drink plenty to keep hydrated particularly if you have been sick or had diarrhea. Take a small bottle that you can carry with you and use water purification tablets to avoid contamination.

If you are worried about eating food purchased on site then take a camping stove or charcoal grill with you. There are plenty of tasty and healthy meals that can be cooked outdoors. Remember to always wash your hands before handling food and make sure food is cooked through thoroughly.

It's likely that you'll do a lot more walking than you're usually used to so give some thought to your poor feet as well as those you're sharing a tent with!

Don't buy a brand new pair of trainers or walking boots without wearing them in first. You're better off taking an old pair of comfy shoes as they're likely to get pretty dirty anyway. Do wear socks - thick hiking socks are great - and if you do feel your shoes rubbing stick on a plaster before you get a blister. Vaseline can also be a godsend to prevent sores.

Try and wash your feet at least once a day and make sure you dry them properly. Not only will this keep them smelling sweet but will prevent any fungal infections. If the sun comes out wear a pair of sandals or flip-flops to let your feet breathe a bit and take a pair of clean socks for each day you're there.

Running around barefoot in the grass may seem like a groovy thing to do especially when you're trying to get into the hippy spirit but the ground at a festival is likely to be full of hidden dangers like broken glass, needles, dropped food and the odd cow pat or two. So keep your shoes on and wear sandals or flip-flops instead so you can still feel the breeze between your toes.

If it rains and the ground gets muddy then you need to take extra care of your feet. Make sure you dry them thoroughly at the end of each day and don't leave soggy socks on for long. Having constantly wet feet can lead to trench foot so if your feet get swollen or blistered seek attention at the medical center immediately.

When you return to the comfort of you own home we recommend you give yourself a DIY pedicure. Or better still - give it to the one you love. That way you can guarantee you'll get a free festival ticket next year!

Look after your festival feet and look stylish with a comfortable pair of Converse trainers

Anna Price

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Wine Festival On Middle Rhine

Summer along the Rhine is fun time. For almost five months in the year there is sunshine, and people make the best of the weather. Winter’s drab colours are stowed away. Women and girls come out in bright dresses. Men hang up their overcoats and discard their galoshes. Walking, cycling, boating, rowing – there is tremendous movement of young and old, in their pursuit of the pleasures of summer.

The communities that live along the Rhine have a Mediterranean temperament. They are relaxed, easy and raring for fun, but by no means lazy. The river Rhine the largest European waterway, originates in Switzerland, flows through Germany and crosses into the Netherlands, where its tributaries flow into the North Sea. The part of the river that courses between Koblenz and Cologne is called the Middle Rhine, and stretches for about 126 kilometers. German, French and English writers have captured the beauty of this stretch in songs, poems and stories. On the banks of the Rhine are picture book villages, vineyards clinging to the mountain slopes in neat green lines, brooding broken down castles, ancient Gothic cathedrals, and History itself. Standing on a cliff on the east bank, one looks down on the incomparable panorama of the Siebengebirge (Seven Hills) where many legends were born.

The festival season begins with a Carnival before Lent. This is followed by a Women’s Festival in May, and the crowing of the Fountain Queen. In September, illuminations and fireworks light up the river in a glorious spectacle of the “Rhine in Flames.” The “Bonner Summer” includes dancing in different costumes and dance tournaments. There are Flee Markets and Fairs. The emphasis is on fun and merry making.

In September, the Wine Festival is celebrated with great gusto. It is the last festival before autumn sets in. The vineyards along the Rhine are supposed to be the most northerly in the world. They grow on the steep slopes of the hills, embossed into the flanks in green horizontal lines.

It was the Romans who first brought wine into Germany. There were times in history when people flocked to watch Germans drink themselves under the table. A medieval legend says that a Roman aqueduct was built from Trier to Cologne to transport wine and not drinking water.

Bacharach on the Rhine owes its name to Bacchus the Roman God of wine. An old ditty says, “It’s in Bacharach on the Rhine that you’ll find the best wine…..”

Outside the cathedral at Speyer, stands a stone basin dating to 1490. Every time a new bishop was consecrated, the basin was filled with wine so that the people of Speyer could celebrate.
Having experienced the heady power of wine, Karl Simrock the 19th century poet, admonished his son, “Mark my words son, do not go and live by the Rhine. Life there will be too sweet for you, and boldness will blossom steadily.”
But his son like the Rhenish people was convinced that “he who loves not women, wine and song, remains a fool his whole life long.”

There are four different areas where wine is made – Rheinpfalz, Rheinhessen, Rheingau, and Middle Rhine which is the smallest of the wine producing areas. The grapes are harvested in October for the wine to be ready by summer. Most German wines are white. Red wines form only about 15% of the total production. There are three basic classes of wine – Table wines which are light and wholesome and consumed with meals; Quality wines which have characteristics of a particular area, and have an official number and seal of authenticity; and Quality wines with special distinction, which have made German wines famous. The Rhine and Mossel wines are white and light and usually come in green bottles. Red wines usually from the Ahr Valley are packaged in brown bottles. German wines have always been so famous that even Queen Victoria was fond of it and imported stocks from Hocheim on the Rhine. That’s how wine came to be known as ‘hock’ in England. The winemakers of Hochheim were so pleased with her patronage that they even named their best vineyard as “Queen Victoria Hill” in 1850.

After days of preparation, the season of wine festivals began. I first witnessed it in Linz, a small village on the Rhine, in mid September. Two other neighboring vineyards joined in the celebrations. The entire pedestrian area from the Market Square to the Rhine was crowded with little booths decorated with clusters of grapes and vines. The booths had seating arrangements for people who wanted to spend a few hours tippling.

During the three-day festival, only wine was available for consumption. All other drinks were prohibited, (at least publicly) and the pubs in the area had to pull down shutters. There were food stalls selling fried wurst (sausages) and pommes (French fries) for hungry revelers.
The Mayor marched proudly to the podium with the Wine Queen on his arm. She had been chosen by the Mayor’s inner circle, and would carry the title for two years. During this time, she would have to attend several social events not only in Linz, but also in the two participating vineyards.

The Wine Queen looked beautiful in a gorgeous ankle-length red dress. She had a silver tiara, with a design of clusters of grapes etched into its band. The Mayor gave a short history of the origin and significance of the wine festivals. The queen then pledged to carry on her duties conscientiously during her tenure. The feast was declared open by the Mayor, and a flurry of trumpets announced the opening of the wine booths to revelers. The Mayor held a huge goblet of wine to the queen’s lips. Then it was passed around to the dignitaries on the podium. The band struck up a waltz, and the Mayor claimed the queen for the first dance, after which she danced with the vineyard owners who showered her with gifts.

For the revelers, the fun had begun. The first drink at the wine fest had to be Fiederwasser, (partially fermented wine) which was expensive and very sweet. This wine is available only during the wine festival, and must be consumed as soon as the bottle is opened, because it quickly acquires a taste like vinegar if exposed for too long.

The other specialty of the feast is Zweibelkuchen, an onion tart which is prepared only during this time. When the formality of drinking Feiderwasser was over, the revelers indulged themselves in their favourite wines. Countless glasses were consumed by drinkers who went booth hopping and making an unearthly ruckus. Barrels were emptied like water. Everywhere the sweet sickening smell of wine permeated the air. The festivities continued till midnight. For three whole days, the orgy continued. On the last night, it ended in a picturesque display of fireworks.

Here and there along the Rhine are wine cellars, with wine stored in traditional wooden casks in their vaults. Here people can taste different types of wines before making purchases. While some are genuine buyers, some go there for free sampling. They keep tasting so many varieties and munching squares of bread in between tasting, until they’ve had their evening quota of wine and a stomach full of bread.

In neighboring Leutsdorf, where five vineyards participated, the celebrations were grander. For almost half a mile, people lined the streets. Many of them wore a knitted pouch around their necks, with a glass stuck in the pouch.

Police vehicles cleared the road of traffic, and a mammoth procession made its way slowly down the road. Each participating vineyard had their own gaily decorated floats, carrying barrels filled with wine. Staff from the vineyards dressed in their own special costumes, doled out wine to whoever held out their glasses. One resourceful fellow had brought a can along, in which he emptied all the free samples he collected. Each vineyard had its own band made up of village musicians and school children, who wore distinctive costumes of the village. Here was Rhenish merriment and joie-de-vivre at its very best. The Capuchin vineyards were represented by the Capuchin priests in their brown robes, and sozzled in wine like the others.

The Wine Queen from this area stood in an open vehicle, waving and blowing kisses to the crowds. Bringing up the rear was Bacchus himself, a large wine goblet in his hand, acknowledging the greetings of the people. The procession ended at the waterfront, where cosy wayside wine booths beckoned to the laughing inebriate revelers.
Rudersheim another small town on the Rhine with its Drosselgasse is the jolliest street in the world during the wine fest. The street is lined by taverns and the drunken men keep singing songs praising the goodness of wine.

There is another small town called Unkel, where red wine is sold. The drink is called the fiery “Unkeler Funkeler,” but doesn’t have many takers.
The wine festival was over, and one drunk staggering down the road began to sing, “God made the vine; Was it a sin that Man made the wine to drown his trouble in?”

Eva Bell is a doctor of Medicine and also a freelance writer of articles, short stories, children stories. Published in Indian magazines and newspapers, anthologies and also on the web. Author of two novels, one non-fiction, two children's books. Special interest- Travel and Women's Issues.

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Spanish Festivals

Holy week (Semana Santa) in Andalucia is a personal favourite when every parish sends out elaborate floats carried by parishioners. A procession can go on throughout the night returning home early the following morning. Two weeks later Seville celebrates the April Fair which must go down as one of Europe's biggest parties.

Valencia in March is the 'Fallas' when huge papier-mache figures are burnt in the streets every night after a year has been spent building them. And in Bunyol in August it's La Tomatina, the world's biggest tomato fight. These are certainly some of the biggest annual festivals as far as foreign tourists are concerned but what about all the little festivals that take place all over the country?

Every single city, town and village in the country celebrates its own unique fiesta and it's the smaller, local festivals that can prove just as rewarding to the visitor. In Miraflores de la Sierra in the Guadarrama mountains of Madrid we used to always go to the annual village festival of San Blas in February. The whole village heads out to a local hillside where a shrine to the village's patron saint stands. Everyone is equipped with chairs, tables, food and wine and huge pots are put on open fires where 'bacalao con patatas' (cod and potatoes) is prepared for the whole village. By late afternoon all the villagers have returned to the bars which remain packed throughout the night. At the end of the Carnival celebrations the villagers bury a sardine in a nearby field (El Entierro de la Sardina) and it's time to start looking forward to the next fiesta.

There are many festivals of international interest which celebrate music and the arts notably the Granada International Festival of Music and Dance which takes place in the grounds of the Alhambra Palace. San Sebastian in the Basque Country is packed to the seams during its annual jazz and film festivals and the Benicassim Festival has become an important European music festival in a small town north of Valencia.

There are plenty food and drink related fiestas throughout the country and some bizarre festivals some of which involve donkeys and church roofs, but we won't go into that right now.

This article was written by Gerry Kerkhof of, one of the web's most popular Spain travel guides. Here you'll find city and resort guides as well as useful travel tips for anyone visiting Spain.

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Why Are Festivals So Expensive?

Festivals used to represent a good, cheap excuse to go away for the weekend. You could relax with friends, have a few drinks and watch a selection of your favourite bands. What could be better?

Somewhere along the line, things seem to have changed. These events are no longer the cheap options that they once were. Commercial interests have well and truly taken over. It seemed that they were once run by enthusiastic amateurs, but corporate entertainment companies are now in on the act.

Prices have increased, just as they have for many other music shows. As the running of the events has become more professional, it seems that changes are being reflected in all aspects. In some respects they've become victims of their own success.

You'll now find that you have to pay more for your ticket, often including an obligatory booking fee, plus postage costs. Such added extras could mean that you pay up to 20% more, on top of the face value of the ticket.

That's because many festival organisers now work closely with the ticket agencies. They feel that they have to do this in order to meet demand.

Once you're at the event site you'll find that you'll probably have to spend plenty more money. Food and drink costs are comparable with attending a major sporting event, rather than reflecting what you might spend at the supermarket.

It's probable that such costs are high because catering companies are being charged quite a large fee to be at the site.

If you want to buy a festival programme then be prepared to hand over another large sum. There's no doubt that festivals have become more expensive and the upward trend in terms of costs shows no signs of coming to an end.

More on portable toilets and Biotoi festival toilets is available, as discussed by Keith Barrett. This article may be used by any website publisher, though this resource box must always be included in full.

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Experience The Songkran Festival Or The Thai New Year

Get the chance to experience and participate on Thai people's traditional activities during the Songkran Festival or the Thai New Year, a four-day activity that happens in the month of April every year. Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike are welcome to go to the temple and witness various activities, eat, drink, and throw water. The four-day activity consists of the following:

April 12 - it is called as the Wan Sungkharn Lohng. Thai people on this day do the house cleaning and general preparation for the New Year. However, if you are in Chiang Mai, this is the day wherein the Songkran procession is held. The procession consists of Buddha images and attendant on beautifully floats with beautiful d├ęcors accompanied by the locals and minstrels. After the procession or parade, the water fight will follow.

April 13 is the day Wan Nao. This is the day where people cooked foods and preserved it for the Buddhist merit -making that is happening on the following day. On the other hand, activities happening at the Wat Prasingh temple continue and locals go to the banks of the Mae Ping River in the evening to gather sand and deposit it in piles topped with flowers in the temple.

April 14 is the third day of celebration and is called as the Wan Payawan. On this is day is when the grand New Year celebration begins at early in the morning with people doing some merit-making at the temples. Those preserved food that are cooked the other day are being offered. Other than preserved and cooked foods, offered items at the temples are fresh fruits, monks' robes and other offerings. People from home on the other hand, do the final cleaning of Buddha imaged with the use of a scented water.

April 15, the fourth and final day of the festival is also called as the Wan Parg-bpee. Homage is made during this day wherein locals paid to ancestors, elders, and other person that deserves the respect because of their age of position. This is also called as the 'Rohd Nam Songkran', which means "The Pouring of Songkran Water". While sprinkling water to the elderly, wishes of good luck are also uttered.

People in Chiang Mai during this day are celebrating the final day of celebration and are throwing water with each other. Residents of Chiang Mai on this day are dedicated to have some fun.

Having able to join with the Thailand local residents in celebrating the Songkran Festival will surely be a memorable experience for you. Songkran is one of the festivals in Thailand that you should not miss because of its abundant religious and fun activities, and it only happens in Thailand. Other places might have their own festivals as well but will be very different from Songkran. If you want to experience the Songkran Festival, plan ahead, reserve your accommodations and festival tour early so that when the day of the festival comes, you won't be having any problems with hotel reservations and festival tour packages, because for sure, many of the tourists will be coming to Thailand to witness the Songkran Festival.

The author is a certified Traveler to different places in this world. He has already been to Asia, USA, Europe and more. He fell in-love with all the places he had been and decided to document it into writing and finally decided to let everybody know how wonderful every place he had visited.

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Celebrate Your Own Oktoberfest With Traditional Foods

October. What a wonderful time of the year! Fall celebrations abound. Fall fairs and harvest festivals are such wonderful family outings. However, one of the most famous, world-known events that occurs at this time of the year is Oktoberfest. Known for its beer tents, delicious foods, and the "om-pa-pa" bands, it is a celebration that occurs not only in Munich, Germany, but around the world as well.

What started as a marriage celebration for Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 18, 1810 in Munich, Germany, is still celebrated almost 200 years later and is known as Oktoberfest. In 1810, a huge horse race was the central attraction. Years later, it became a carnival. Now, it is a rocking, music-filled, "food and drink" fest that celebrates the Bavarian culture. Similar Oktoberfest activities are held world-wide with Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario's version well-known as well.

Oktoberfest has been held almost every year since 1810. It has only been canceled 24 times due to disease (plagues) or war. The nicer weather in September has brought changes to the dates, so that the celebration starts 17 days before the first Sunday in October when the party ends.

Ask almost anyone what Oktoberfest is about and they will tell you: beer and food. But, there is more than that. In 1835, a parade became part of the regular festivities. Now, approximately 8,000 people in traditional Bavarian costumes walk through the center of Munich to the Oktoberfest site. From 1950 onwards, a 12-gun salute and the tapping of the first beer keg by the Mayor of Munich signals the opening of Oktoberfest.

And yes, beer and food is the main part. Over 6 million visitors (2007 stats) to Munich's Oktoberfest feast on traditional Bavarian foods. There are many tents set up (the largest, Hofbrau-Festhalle, holds 10,000 people!) for eating and drinking. To keep these beer tents and the overall Oktoberfest "family friendly", only traditional music is played until 6 pm. After that, the louder pop music is heard.

Even if you can't go to Munich, or one of the other Oktoberfest sites, you can still enjoy the traditional Oktoberfest celebration. Start with traditional Bavarian foods. These include chicken, roast pork, grilled fish, many types of sausage including Weisswurst, pretzels, bread or potato dumplings, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, and red cabbage. One favorite is haxn or pork hocks. Many of these German recipes are hearty and easy to make at home. Then serve them up with German music in the background, decorate your table in the traditional German colors of black, red, and yellow, and celebrate your very own Oktoberfest.

Gerhild Fulson

Looking for German recipes like Mom used to make? Only quick and easy? Traditional German food that's delicious and healthy? Check out the above site to find the recipes to all your favorites.

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Cardiff Festival

The Cardiff Festival is a summer-long celebration showcasing the best in sports event, theater, live music, fun fair and entertainment for the youth. The festival, established 21 years ago, is organized and presented by the Cardiff Council. The festival is composed of smaller festivals that run from July to August of each year. Some of the more popular festivals that people take part in are the Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival, WOW on the Waterfront, Tesco Children's Festival, Admiral Cardiff Big Weekend, Welsh Proms and the Mermaid Quay Cardiff Harbour Festival and the MAS Carnival.

Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival

The Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival are held at Cardiff Bay. This festival puts the spotlight on traditional Welsh cuisine. Lavabread, for example, is a favorite offering at the festival and is made of seaweed. Food and drink from all over the globe are offered as well. This festival offers a variety of choices to satisfy even the most discriminating food connoisseur.

WOW on the Waterfront

WOW on the Waterfront is a new addition to the festival, introduced only in 2007. It is an open air show that features outstanding street theatrical performances from French street theater company Plasticiens Volants.

Tesco Children's Festival

The Cardiff Festival also has something to offer to the youth and children through the Tesco Children's Festival held at Cooper's Field located behind Cardiff Castle. This is a two-day event that features fun activities such as interactive workshops, circus shows, sports and music events and walkabout characters. Other popular events are the Sheep Show and a mountain biking event.

Admiral Cardiff Big Weekend

The Cardiff Big Weekend is the grand finale of the festival and it features an extravaganza that includes a fireworks display, free music concerts, UK's largest traveling funfair and the MAS Carnival. The live music performances run for three days and are held at Admiral Stage. The traveling fun fair offers families fun activities that are sure to delight children and adults alike. Families can head to the Civic Center to have fun at the thrilling rides and family-oriented activities. The MAS Carnival showcases elaborately designed costumes, dazzling and colorful masks and headpieces and other carnival spectacles like giant puppets.

Welsh Proms

The Lloyds TSB Welsh Proms is a grand celebration that has featured orchestral symphony concerts, a World Music Prom, concerts for the youth and proms featuring the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Cardiff Philharmonic. Other activities for the 2008 festival include the Children's Prom, Romantic Favorites Prom, Russian Ballet Prom, Grand Classics Prom and the Organ Prom to name a few.

Mermaid Quay Cardiff Harbour Festival

The Mermaid Quay Cardiff Harbour Festival is a family-oriented celebration revolving around a nautical theme. Visitors can enjoy fun-filled entertainment that includes water-based activities, workshops, nautical music and a pirate costume competition.

Other events are the Everyman Open-Air Theater Festival which will stage an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet at the Cardiff Castle grounds, the Cardiff Outdoor Action Show where visitors can take part in sports activities and watch exhibitions, the Fringe@Cardiff Festival featuring presentations from Bute Theater and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

For accommodation in Cardiff please visit: For more options

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Food Festivals Are Good For the Soul

Whenever you are in need of culinary inspiration you are bound to find it by visiting a food festival or market. From humble farmers markets to regional food festivals you are destined to discover a wealth of gastronomic delights to be savoured. A couple of weeks ago my husband Simon and I visited the Exeter Festival of South West England Food and Drink, which was held in the centre of Exeter around Northernhay Gardens and the Exeter Castle Courtyard.

This is the 6th year running for the Festival, which is the largest of its kind in the region, and its best yet. There were over 100 stalls by local producers, cooking demonstrations by top chefs and even live music on the Friday and Saturday nights. The Festival was inspired by local Michelin star chef Michael Caines, who kept things organised in the cooking demonstrations where there were a number of head to head cook-offs between local head chefs, including a special guest appearance by Matt Dawson - the winner of Celebrity Master Chef.

Apart from the exciting cooking demonstrations there were so many other wonderful sights, sounds and smells to savour. The numerous food and drink stalls showcasing local producers were a sight to see, and better yet most of them offered samples of their products giving you the chance to try before you buy. I was of course on the lookout for cows' milk free products and I was not disappointed - several stalls catered for goats' and sheep cheese and, when asked, most stall owners were happy to discuss the ingredients and manufacture of their products with me, giving me peace of mind.

So next time you see a regional food festival advertised I would definitely recommend taking some time out of your day to visit it - you won't regret it. And also don't forget about the more humble, but just as insightful, local farmers markets for your weekly dose of soul food.

For more information on cows milk free products visit our website.

Colleen Finn
Dairy Free Directory

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Sun Peaks Food and Wine Festivals in Okanagan Wine Country - All Year Round

For wine lovers and foodies, Sun Peaks in British Columbia is a must, with food and wine festivals, vineyards and restaurants catering to gastronomes from all over the US and Canada. There are festivals and events throughout the year celebrating the wonderful fruits of Okanagan Wine Country in British Columbia.

Fall Wine Festival - October

Followed closely by the Autumn Bounty Festival (see below), the Fall Wine Festival is a chance to celebrate the grape harvest (and perhaps pitch in with some of the work). Vineyard tours, meals in fine Sun Peaks' restaurants, workshops, art and music: All of the finer elements of Sun Peaks' cultural life are included in more than 165 events over ten days. The Fall Wine Festivals are scheduled for Oct 1st-11th, 2009 and Sept 30th-Oct 10th, 2010.

The Autumn Bounty festival - October

Sun Peaks Resort hosts this year´s third annual Autumn Bounty, which offers up the best of the region´s art, wine and food in a three day showcase.

As well as sneak peeks of the new vintages being produced by local boutique wineries, there are also more relaxed events catering to a young professional crowd, with the best in local wines being teamed with tapas prepared by some of the area's finest chefs. Five-star finger food teamed with five-star wines - a must for unwinding after work. The Autumn Bounty Festival will be held October 9th - 11th 2009.

Winter Wine Festiva (Formerly Icewine Festival) - January

This unique festival blends Sun Peaks spectacular ski fields with the area´s equally notable wine-making traditions. Enjoy the region´s finest blends in the crisp mountain air of a snow-covered Sun Peaks Resort, being hosted, guided and taught by some of Sun Peaks' best chefs, sommeliers and wine-makers. The Festival has also been expanded to a week long event. The 12th Annual Winter Wine Festival will take place from January 16 to 24, 2010 and will include seminars, Winemasters' Dinners, the Taste of Sun Peaks, the Progressive Tasting, along with new events, such as Mixology.

Spring Wine Festival - May

With more than a hundred events, the Spring Wine Festival is a gastronome´s delight. Designed to blend the unique flavors of both wine and food produced in Sun Peaks and surrounds, the festival is a great way to celebrate the beginning of growing season. The Spring Wine Festival will be held from Apr 29th-May 8th, 2010.

Summer Wine Festival - August

For anyone interested in the wine-making process (and in sampling the end product!), the Sun Peaks Summer Wine Festival is a must. As well as leisurely events at local restaurants, enjoying the best food, wine and art the region has to offer, festival-goers can attend seminars and workshops that give a fascinating behind-the-scenes understanding of wine-making, or a crash course in wine appreciation. The Summer Wine Festival also includes activities on the mountain, giving a new appreciation for what is otherwise known as a ski resort. Think wildflowers and sunshine - bliss. The next Summer Wine Festival is scheduled for Aug 5th-7th, 2010.

Sun Peaks Wine and Culture Festival - July

Held over three days, the Wine and Culture Festival combines arts, crafts, music and wine in a packed schedule of events and workshops. The main themes of the festival are classical music, art exhibitions and - of course - tastings from the best in regional wines accompanied by tapas. Public participation is strongly encouraged, with chairlift rides begin followed by sumptuous banquet dinners, tours of local restaurants where artists are exhibiting their work and tour guests can dine and drink their way through some of the areas finest, or simply relax to the sounds of the classical quartets, quintets and orchestras playing in the Village Square.

Sun Peaks Accommodations can offer you the best accommodation options at a price to fit your budget - within shouting distance of all of the Sun Peaks summer activities. While you are at the site be sure to register for the seven night stay at Sun Peaks, BC, courtesy of Sun Peaks Accommodations.

Ryan Sparks established Sun Peaks Accommodations, the first professional property management company focused on the new Sun Peaks Resort. As a full time resident and property owner at Sun Peaks, Ryan is a big promoter of the entire Sun Peaks community. Ryan and his wife Tracy are full time residents and property owners at Sun Peaks and look forward to raising their son Stirling and daughter Shea there too.

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Cape Town Festivals and Events

South Africa's capital is a spectacular destination to visit at any time of the year, combining natural splendour and vibrant local culture, a buzzing nightlife with a fascinating recent history. But it is also notable for the sheer number of festivals and events that take place all throughout the year. Here are a few of the highlights to watch out for on your Cape Town holiday...

For Sports Enthusiasts...

There's one event that a sports nut on holiday in Cape Town won't want to miss out on. The Cape Argus Cycle Tour is the world's biggest cycle race, with over 40,000 amateur and professional cyclists taking part each year. Starting in the centre of town, the 109 kilometre route passes through the highlights of the local scenery, including False Bay, Chapmans Peak, and Suikerbossie Hill, before finally ending up in the Green Point district. It is one of the most beautiful cycle rides in the world, held on the second Sunday in March every year - book your place early if you want to take part!

If you are a runner rather than a cyclist, the Two Oceans Marathon could be your event of choice. Taking place on Easter Sunday and following the stunning scenery of the Peninsula, this is known as "the world's most beautiful marathon." The main event is a 56 kilometre ultramarathon that runs from Greenlands to the university, but there is also a half marathon and a number of fun runs for those who want to run a shorter distance.

For the Party Crowd...

One New Years' Celebration not enough to you? In this city, they celebrate the New Year two days in a row! Taking place on the 2nd of January, Tweede Nuwe Jaar (also known as Kaapse Klopse) is a celebration unique to the city. Originally a celebration held by freed slaves, the event has evolved into a colourful carnival, featuring live music, dance, food and drink stalls, as rival troupes from different parts of town compete to put on the very best show.

For the Fashionistas...

If you you are planning on having a Cape Town holiday and know your Gucci from your Gautier, try and time your visit with Fashion Week. Held in late August, it showcases the best local design talent in a proudly African week of fashion, eschewing the big name international designers and focusing instead on homegrown talent and practical fashion.

For Gourmets...

If good food and fine wines are your thing, make sure you start you South African holiday in Cape Town. The Cape Times V&A Waterfront Wine Affair, held over three days in early May, is a showcase of over 70 vineyards, held in a picturesque waterfront location, giving visitors to sample the very best South African wines.

Another essential event is the Cape Gourmet Festival, a fortnight of culinary events focusing on wine, spirits, and traditional South African food that concludes with The Good Food and Wine Show on the last weekend of the festival.

Whether you are a sports nut, a discerning gourmet, a fashion fan, or are just looking for a good party, your are sure to find a festival to suit your taste, so make sure you time your holiday to coincide with one of these great events.

Rachel Hill is a specialist consultant with Southern Africa Travel, a company offering Cape Town holidays, as well as holidays to other destinations in Southern Africa. Our experienced consultants will help you design your very own luxury holiday, and will be happy to provide you with a free quote.

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The Best Food in Cornwall

Traditionally the autumn time is not usually associated with festivals, but Cornwall has never been one to follow trends. The Falmouth Oyster Festival is testament to that, and over the last 13 years the foodie fest has become one of Cornwall's most significant calendar dates - and one of the region's best celebrations of all things seafood.

Held at Event's Square in the centre of the town, the festival has grown year on year and now sees endorsement from local businesses and national celebrity chefs, as well as sponsorship from Falmouth's smaller restaurants and the biggest Cornwall hotels.

This year sees celebrity chef Mat Follas (of The Wild Garlic and BBC Masterchef 2009 fame) open the event with a cookery master-class on the 15th October, before a cookery demonstration, live music and a five course gourmet dinner. Much of the same follows over the next three days ending with a boat race on Sunday 18th October, as well as a Sunday lunch.

Falmouth is the perfect location for the festival. The town overlooks the third deepest natural harbour in the world and has a rich maritime heritage which can be explored at the National Maritime Museum. Although the docks still have major contributions to the local economy today, during the summer the town is popular among tourist who flock to make the most of the area's beaches: Gyllingvase, Swanpool and Maenporth.

Of course much of the town's heritage is based on its vibrant nightlife of pubs and restaurants. Local Cornish ale (brewed up the road by Skinners in Truro) is the drink of choice - and is served in most bars. The town also has a rich and varied food scene with a particular focus on seafood including lobster and mussels caught fresh off the south coast - but for those who want to try something else there are tapas, Indian and Nepalese, as well as Chinese establishments.

The town is also popular with those interested in recreational sailing and other water sports. The waters are predominantly fairly sheltered, and offer prime yachting and canoeing opportunities up the River Fal, the Helford and around the Roseland Peninsula. Much of the surrounding area is also best explored by foot, with coastal walks and trails covering the Carrick region.

Sarah Maple writes about short breaks in Cornwall and luxury Cornwall hotels.

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Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival - Sample Flavors From Around the World

Are you a foodie? Do you like to try new or different foods? If you are like most people, the answer is yes but you likely do not have the opportunity to sample new dishes as often as you might like.

Our family has found an easy, fun and exciting way to learn about and to be exposed to many international foods without having to travel half way around the world. We like to visit Disney world during Epcot's annual International Food and Wine Festival. This festival is a food lover's paradise that provides the perfect opportunity to introduce your family to international cuisine they might not otherwise have the chance to try.

There are usually 25-30 countries represented at the festival. Each of which has a kiosk or booth set up on the World Showcase promenade that sell small sample size portions of food. Each country also sells wine or beer representative of the country only the sizes are not samples. The serving size is normal for a glass of wine or for a beer. The prices for the food samples range between $2 and $7.

We like to eat and drink our way around the World Showcase. We share the sample size portion of food to give everyone a taste. Our children will usually take at least one bite of a food before they decide if they like a dish or not. Even if someone decides that they did not like a particular dish at least they tried something new. The festival provides a fun, nonthreatening way to try new foods. Last year one of our daughters decided she liked the cheddar cheese soup from Canada; her sister liked the Greek salad from Greece. Our teenage son liked just about everything (go figure).

Another way to enjoy the festival is to make reservations for one of the many special seminars and food demonstrations. For example, Sundays are known as Sweet Sundays during the festival because each Sunday a celebrity pastry chef hosts a breakfast/brunch and cooking demonstration. Two years ago we surprised our oldest daughter for her birthday with tickets to see Colette Peters during a Sweet Sunday presentation. This was a special treat for her because she wants to be a pastry chef (at Disney) when she grows up. It was a fun and informative day and we even got to eat everything the chef cooked during the demonstration. The experience was definitely sweet!

So if you would like to introduce yourself and your family to the different flavors of international cuisines, try visiting Disney World during the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot.

Dana Medlock and her family of five love to vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort. Everyone in the family loves Disney World and they share this passion on their web site.

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