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Published: 10/7/2007 12:48 AM

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Step back into French fort of 1700s

Attend a late-18th-century re-enactment of Illinois life on the frontier prairie during the Fort Massac Encampment at Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis, Ill. On Oct. 20 and 21 there will be blanket traders, merchants, military units, fife and drum corps and period-style food with more than 20 food vendors. (374 miles from O'Hare, (618) 524-4712, http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Education/interprt/frtmass.htm)

Chow down on taters in Rice Lake

In spite of its name, Rice Lake, Wis., is known for another starch in the human diet: potatoes. From Oct. 19-21 the Tater Fest Fall Festival includes a half marathon, tater feed, antique show, pancake breakfast, spaghetti supper and kids fest. (357 miles from O'Hare, (715) 234-8888, www.ricelaketourism.com)

Festivals focus on old cars and homes

Quincy, Ill., is the setting for two festivals with a touch of nostalgia. From Oct. 19-21 street rods fill the streets during the Early Tin Dusters Fall Color Run. Only pre-1949 autos are part of the show. On Oct. 20, the Quincy Preserves Annual Architectural Tour includes a look at six of Quincy's private homes or buildings of architectural or historical significance. (287 miles from O'Hare, (800) 978-4748, www.seequincy.com/Calendar/month.php?date=20071001)

Southwest Wisconsin artists open studios

Take a scenic drive through southwest Wisconsin and get a rare look into the world of some of the area's finest artisans as they open their doors for the annual Fall Art Tour Oct. 19-21. Many of the studios in Baraboo, Dodgeville, Mineral Point and Spring Green, Wis., are only open during this event, providing an unusual opportunity to meet the artists and purchase their work. Artisans include potters, sculptors, painters, weavers, jewelers, photographers and woodworkers. (180 miles from O'Hare, (608) 356-7805, www.fallarttour.com)

Recalling folk ways of Mark Twain

Hannibal, Mo., will host its 31st annual Autumn Historic Folklife Festival Oct. 21 and 22 in the heart of the city's downtown historic district. The festival re-creates the lifestyle of the river town in the days of Mark Twain. Artists, artisans and craftsmen will demonstrate historic crafts and traditional arts. There also will be street musicians playing traditional tunes, food cooked on wood stoves, cider fresh from the apple press and a children's area. More than 100 Midwest artists and artisans will exhibit and sell their original works in wood, fiber, pottery, candle making, jewelry making, painting and drawing. Regional musicians will share their talents on the banjo, hammered dulcimer and guitar. Storytellers, dancers and vocalists will perform. (309 miles from O'Hare, (573-221-6545, www.hannibalarts.com)

Go gallery hopping in Milwaukee

More than 50 galleries, museums and shops open their doors in Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 19 and 20 for Gallery Night & Day. This premier art event features free gallery hopping that includes venues in the Historic Third Ward and East Town districts as well as the Milwaukee Art Museum. Enjoy free parking in the Historic Third Ward and hop aboard the free Gallery Night Xpress on Friday night. (80 miles from O'Hare, (414) 273-1173, www.historicthirdward.org/events/gallerynight.php)

Circleville is Ohio's pumpkin city

The Circleville Pumpkin Show in Circleville, Ohio, is the state's oldest and largest festival, dating back to 1903. The early shows covered about three city blocks; the most recent ones go on for eight blocks. This year's show is set for Oct. 17-20 and will include 25-30 amusement rides and more than 300 food booths, games and craft vendors, all of which are expected to draw more than 400,000 visitors. They come to see the giant pumpkins, the world's largest pumpkin pie, parades, entertainment and attractions and to try various pumpkin-flavored delicacies. More than 40 floats and 50 bands participate in the seven Pumpkin Show Parades. Family entertainment includes musical groups, stage acts, band concerts and contests, including pumpkin pie eating, pumpkin toss, big wheel race, egg toss and hog calling. (396 miles from O'Hare, (740) 474-7000, www.pumpkinshow.com)

See 19th-century life down on the farm

From the sounds of horse-drawn wagons filled with the autumn harvest to the smells of Old World cooking, visitors to Old World Wisconsin, a living-history attraction in Eagle, Wis., are instantly transported to the 19th century. Costumed interpreters give them a firsthand look at what it was like to live and work during the harvest season in early America. Autumn on the Farms, Oct. 20 and 21, is filled with demonstrations of farm chores, tradesmen and family life. (85 miles from O'Hare, (262) 594-6300, www.wisconsinhistory.org/oww)

Far

West Hollywood is party city on Oct. 31

The largest Halloween street party in the world happens in West Hollywood, Calif. The 20th Annual West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval on Oct. 31 is expected to draw more than 500,000 people to Santa Monica Boulevard to enjoy the crazy, eccentric costume creations. Visitors will find live entertainment, food vendors, pumpkin-carving contests and children's activities throughout the week prior to the big event. ((800) 368-6020, www.visitwesthollywood.com)

• Event details are subject to change; contact organizers for updated information.