Harvest, as the fall season was called in the Late Middle Ages, inspired many of the world’s most historic celebrations, from the Mid-Autumn Festival in China to Thanksgiving in North America. In the northern hemisphere, early fall is also the typical harvest time for wine grapes and outdoor grows, while Germany hosts the world’s most famous beer festival. This month is also the perfect time for Vader fans to head south with LATAM Airlines’ new Disney-designed Stormtrooper Plane (see image below) connecting Orlando and São Paulo (though anyone speaking to flight attendants in a Yoda voice is likely at risk of being shot out the cargo hold). The post-summer season is an ideal time to travel thanks to moderate weather and the start of the school year helping unclog the streets.
All-Star Chef Classic
Los Angeles, California
October 2 to 5
In 2016, the All-Star Chef Classic became one of the west coast’s best food events when it unveiled a lineup that included culinary superstars like Niki Nakayama (n/naka), Wylie Dufresne (wd-50), Tatiana Levha (Le Servan) and Peruvian icon Gastón Acurio. Three years later, the annual All-Star event remains a classic with multi-course Masters Dinners featuring the likes of Akira Back, Top Chef fave Nyesha Arrington, three-time James Beard nominee Amy Brandwein, Jamie Bissonette, Daniel Boulud and returning champ Wylie Dufresne. For even more culinary talent, themed tasting events will take place on Friday and Saturday nights. The meat-centric Carneval kicks off on the weekend with an open bar and nearly 20 food stations helmed by the likes of Wes Avila (of PRØHBTD-obsessed Guerilla Tacos), Burt Bakman, Hilary Henderson, Ray Garcia and Stephanie Izard. Grill & Chill follows on Saturday night with more free-flowing spirits and food stations helmed by David LeFevre, Sang Yoon, Michelle Bernstein, Akira Back and others. This is clearly the season’s best multi-chef food event in Los Angeles.
Okanagan Wine Festival
Okanagan Valley, Canada
October 3 to 13
Sitting between Vancouver and Calgary, the 112-mile Okanagan Valley is filled with fruit orchards, vineyards, cannabis farms and a string of shimmering lakes. This makes it an ideal place to throw a wine party, and Okanagan now hosts one for each season. The summer event is the youngest at eight years, while the fall fest is the original having started in 1980. With 80 local wineries participating, the 11-day party features wine tastings, farmers’ markets, a “fall flavors” tour, a young chefs competition, a winery estate cooking class, stargazing and even a wine-paired pig roast.
The Great Midwest Harvest Festival
October 4 to 6
Don’t let the name fool you: This harvest fest has nothing to do with wine, cheese or traditional farming. This activist gathering is about the cannabis harvest and repealing prohibition, and the theme for the 49th annual event is Cannabis Prohibition Kills. On the music trivia tip, Madison is the town where Nirvana recorded most of Nevermind and the band Garbage started, and this year’s local line-up includes Civil Engineers, the Bellybutton Club and the stoner metal band Bongzilla, among others. Several state politicians and local Democratic Party chair Tammy Joy Wood will be speaking.
Austin City Limits Music Festival
October 4 to 6 and 11 to 13
Held over back-to-back weekends, ACL kills it once again with a 45th-anniversary lineup that includes Childish Gambino, Billie Eilish, Tame Impala, Cardi B, Mumford & Sons, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Kacey Musgraves, Hippie Sabotage, Judah & the Lion and several dozen others. The event also features a solid culinary lineup that pairs your standard generics with edgier purveyors like Burro Grilled Cheese, Mighty Cone, Skull & Cakebones and Salt Lick BBQ. Austin is a liberal city, but Texas is a messed-up state for cannabis aficionados, so definitely hide that hash. Bonus points for anyone who wears a Foss band t-shirt.
Alba International White Truffle Fair
October 5 to November 24
White truffles only appear for two months each autumn, and the best are found in western Italy near the border with France. Now in its 89th year, the Alba International White Truffle Fair is the most popular place to celebrate the rare white tuber. In addition to a white truffle marketplace, the Alba International includes wine and food tastings, special restaurant menus, cooking demos and the medieval Donkey Palio parade. Best of all, Michelin-starred chefs like Maurilio Garola, Davide Palluda, Francesco Oberto and Martino Ruggieri will host one-off dinners that incorporate truffles in each course. If you love truffles, you have expensive taste and can afford the plane ticket to Piedmont. Photo credit: Dave Carletti.
Bacolod City, Philippines
October 8 to 27
Born of a boat tragedy in 1980, the 40th annual MassKara Festival is the Philippines’ answer to Carnaval. Three million people will take part in this massive party overflowing with colorful costumes, street dancers, food fests, parades and even a fireworks competition. Though the party lasts three weeks, the main action takes place on the final weekend. Just remember, the staunchly anti-cannabis Rodrigo Duterte is one of the few world leaders on the same ethical level as Trump, so leave the party favors at home. Photo credit: Ceslou/Wikipedia.
Lake Perris, California
October 10 to 13
The LA Times once said Desert Daze is “no Coachella, but this Joshua Tree festival may be the music model of the future.” The 1960s-inspired event moved to Moreno Beach (so bring your swimsuit), but the spirit of the camping, drugs and music extravaganza is alive and well. The 2019 lineup includes Parquet Courts, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Flying Lotus in 3D, Pussy Riot, Animal Collective, Stereolab and Devo (as part of their farewell tour) in addition to full album sets by The Flaming Lips (The Soft Bulletin), Ween (Chocolate & Cheese) and the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers). The campgrounds have hot showers and real bathrooms, and you’ll want to camp since that’s the location of the Mystic Bazaar with workshops like Psychic Plant Spirit Communication, Earth Consciousness: Mushroom Medicine, Plant Walk and Intuitive Herbal Essences. So yeah, people will definitely be getting high. Photo credit: Dave Evanko.
New West Summit
San Francisco, California
October 10 to 11
New West Summit has emerged as a top gathering for technology, science, media and investment in the cannabis marketplace. This year’s speakers include rapper Killer Mike, actress Alicia Silverstone, Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky) and George Zimmer (Men’s Wearhouse), among others. In 2016, New West founder Jim McAlpine told us, “What we’ve done is create a show that’s focused on the future of what cannabis is versus all the other shows focused on what cannabis is right now.”
CBD Expo Mountain
October 11 to 12
Dubbed the first-ever global CBD conference, this event will make its debut at the Denver Convention Center with follow-up expos taking place across the country with CBD Expo East (Nov. 14 to 15) in Orlando and CBD Expo West (Dec. 5 to 6) in San Diego next in line. The long list of exhibitors at the inaugural event include CBD Lion, Dr. Dabber, Vital Leaf and others, while featured speakers include Kurt Levy, Dr. John MacCay and Dr. David Gordon.
October 11 to 13
Skip Vienna’s overcrowded tourist spots like St. Stephen’s and Schönbrunn and fill your days visiting places like the Abortion Museum, the Undertaker’s Museum, the Toilet of Modern Art and, of course, Cultiva Hanfmesse. The Austrian hemp expo and cannabis congress includes music, speakers, workshops and sponsors like Sensi Seeds and Barney Farms. Culinary enthusiasts will also want to make an advanced reservation at the stunningly beautiful Steirereck where dishes might include artichokes with poppy seeds. Just go easy on the poppy seeds if your day gig has drug testing coming up. Photo courtesy of Cultiva Hanfmesse.
October 18 to 27
Now in its 26th year, EuroChocolate is an annual celebration in a medieval walled town in central Italy. The event includes samples, vendors and sculptures that, in the past, included a four-ton chocolate igloo. More than a million people are expected to attend over the 10 days. The event will feature an Attacca Bottone theme that Google translates as “attack button,” which likely refers to eating chocolate buttons, though our favorite theme is still 2015’s chocolate mustache (the organizers obviously don’t know Urban Dictionary). Can we expect an edibles theme in the future? Let’s hope, and they should start with a Défoncé chocolate station!
Key West, Florida Keys
October 18 to 27
Tired of Mardi Gras in the Big Easy? Head south to Key West for 10 days of island-centric hedonism at the Fantasy Fest free-for-all. The annual event turns 40 this year with the cheeky theme “In Tune But Off Key,” and the activities include homemade bikini contests, body paintings, the let-it-all-hang-out parade and parties like Adam & Eve at the clothing-optional Garden of Eden rooftop bar. With this much nudity, you might need to break out that ʼ80s fanny pack to hold your room key, Heavy Grass pre-rolls andCeeby Dee’s. Florida is technically the South, but this is the party where the buckle breaks off the Bible belt.
All My Friends
Los Angeles, California
October 19 to 20
Justice and Black Coffee headline the two-night fest held at a dedicated creative space bordering the downtown Arts District. More than 20,000 people attended the inaugural fest, and expect even more this year with multiple outdoor stages and a long list of artists that also includes DJ Harvey, Idris Elba and Destructo. The venue itself, which formerly housed American Apparel, is a major shopping and event space that hosts the weekly Smorgasburg street food market. All My Friends apparently drink because this is a 21+ age-restricted event.
Disco Dining Club
Los Angeles, California
October 24 to 26
Disco Dining Club will bring its second annual Halloween dinner party to a private attic in Hollywood with three debaucherous nights dedicated to one of Oscar Wilde’s most iconic characters. The Depraved Attic of Dorian Gray will feature a five-course dinner by chef Laurent Quenioux, curated cocktail pairings by Happy Hour Agency, caviar bumps by East Boston Oysters and immersive Dorian-themed theatrical moments. To quote DDC, “This year experience a feast that is the very definition of exaggerated.” This event will sell out in advance so don’t delay getting tickets. Photo courtesy of Disco Dining Club.
Like Oak, Florida
October 24 to 27
The String Cheese Incident’s annual party starts around Halloween at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. Smack dab in the Alabama-esque part of the state, the event draws hippies from all over the Southeast for nightly String Cheese performances, with additional sets by Bassnectar, STS9 Anderson.Paak, G Love, Steel Pulse, Umphrey’s McGee and rock revolutionary Tom Morello (Audioslave, Rage Against the Machine), among others. The camping-only festival includes a temporary art installation with lit-up alien statues along with other trippy modern exhibits. Add that to a tradition of outlandish costumes and you’ve got the wildest weekend you could hope for in the Florida panhandle.
Day of the Dead
October 31 to November 2
Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is a UNESCO-honored holiday to honor and remember deceased loved ones, but some places turn the somber occasion into a rave-from-the-grave. The carnival-like celebrations can include candy skulls, papier-mâché skeletons, mock coffins and mariachi music, and the most elaborate event arguably takes place on Janitzio, an island on Lake Pátzcuaro between Mexico City and Guadalajara. Other top spots include San Miguel de Allende, Morelos and Mexico City.