It may feel hot right now, but fall is just around the corner so its time to start planning those quick autumn getaways. Here are a few fun festivals and events to inspire you.
What: The Key West Poker Run
Where: Key West, FL
When: September 18-21
What: Cohocton Fall Foliage Festival Tree Sitting Competition
Where: Cohocton, NY
When: October 3-5
There is a 40 year-old tradition in this small town in the Finger Lakes region of New York that makes this fall foliage festival a little different from the others. It involves climbing up a tree and staying put for a few days. The official winner of the competition is the person who stays in the tree for the longest time with the least amount of equipment, such as food, water, or a hammock. Time is deducted for any out-of-the-tree bathroom break and participants are disqualified if they drop anything. While all this tree sitting is going on (for about 48 hours), there are plenty of activities to keep ground-bound visitors entertained like a soccer tournament, a bake sale, an Arts, Crafts, Antique and Flea Market, a petting zoo, a chicken barbecue at the Firehouse, historical exhibits, a parade, an evening dance, a pancake feast, an antique tractor pull race, a kids' candy run, and live musical performances. A schedule of events is available at www.fallfoliagefestival.com.
What: Issaquah Salmon Days Festival
Where: Issaquah, WA
Nowhere else is this humble fish celebrated in such style and grandeur. Each autumn the people of the town of Issaquah, located at the base of the Cascade Mountains, 15 minutes east of downtown Seattle, honor the fish's return to their local waterways by throwing a two-day festival. Special fishy attractions include tours of the local hatchery to see the Coho and Chinook salmon, a grand parade with floats, food stands, golf tournaments, and races. Thousands of pounds of fresh salmon is consumed, as well as a variety of other Northwest specialties. See the official festival website for more information at www.salmondays.org.
What: Fantasy Fest
Where: Key West, FL
When: October 17-26
Head back to Key West in October for the highlight of their event calendar: the annual Fantasy Fest. This 10-day Bacchanalian extravaganza is a treasure-trove of events, parties, parades, and revelry. It's also definitely an adult festival -- with a lot of skin and some pretty raunchy behavior. Highlights include human art airbrushing contests, masquerade balls, costume parades (for humans and pets), a pimp and ho costume contest, a pajama and lingerie party, a wet T-shirt competition, a toga party, a make your own bikini contest, a headdress ball, and street fairs. Some events are free whilst others have a moderate entry fee. For a full schedule of activities, see the official festival website at www.fantasyfest.net. Accommodation tends to go quickly during this period so book early.
What: American Sandsculpting Championship Festival
Where: Fort Myers, FL
When: November 5-9
This is no regular pail and shovel day at the beach. See North America's finest sand sculptors at work creating architectural and artistic masterpieces using the fine white sands of one of Fort Myers' most beautiful beaches, outside the Outrigger Beach Resort. Master sculptors come from as far away as Canada to compete in this prestigious event (now in its 21st year) but amateurs can also compete to try their luck. There are several activities and a program of entertainment on hand to keep adults and kids happy including the sand magic village with stalls set up by local businesses and restaurants. For more information, visit www.sandfestival.com/index.php.