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Published: 10/14/2007 5:59 AM

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Pumpkins pop up on courthouse lawn

Thousands of decorated pumpkins will be on display Oct. 24-28 on the lawn of the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore, Ill. The Sycamore Pumpkin Festival also includes crafts, antique and art shows, a house walk, health fair, carnival, haunted house and parade on Oct. 28. (51 miles from O'Hare, (815) 895-2783, www.sycamorepumpkinfestival.com)

Be a gourmet for the weekend

Take your taste buds on an epicurean adventure during the 2007 Kohler Food & Wine Experience in Kohler, Wis. From Oct. 26-28 famous chefs from around the world will be on hand to share their talents and tastes. The event will include food and wine tastings, cooking and wine seminars, pastry demonstrations and dining with celebrity chefs at the Feast of Talent on Oct. 27. (128 miles from O'Hare, (800) 344-2838, www.destinationkohler.com)

Stitches earn riches at Wisconsin show

Top quilters from throughout the Midwest display their best in hopes of winning a piece of the more than $4,000 purse awarded during the Treasures of Tomorrow Quilt Show in Marshfield, Wis., Oct. 26-28. Visitors and competitors to the National Quilters Association Certified Judged event will be greeted by a variety of activities including seminars, workshops and a wide variety of vendor booths. (264 miles from O'Hare, (800) 422-4541, www.visitmarshfieldwi.com)

See a ghostly glow in Galena

Be on hand in Galena, Ill., Oct. 26-28 for the Galena Halloween Balloon Festival. There will be a balloon glow and trick-or-treating on Oct. 27 on the levy downtown. Balloon launches will take place behind Country Inn & Suites-Galena on Oct. 26 and 28. The 29th annual Galena Halloween Parade takes place Oct. 27. The largest Halloween parade in the tri-state area floats down Main Street. (148 miles from O'Hare, (877) 464-2536, www.galena.org)

Manitowoc artists open their studios

Head north to Manitowoc County, Wis., for the Art and About Fall Art Tour Oct. 26 and 27. This self-guided tour covers more than a dozen studios/galleries across the county. Meet the artists and learn about their creative process. (159 miles from O'Hare, (920) 684-3006, www.manitowoc.org/vcb/events.html)

Hug a duck in Waterford

Visitors are invited to interact with more than 200 animals at the Green Meadows Farm near Waterford, Wis. Guests may step right into pens through Oct. 27 to pet pigs, sheep, goats, ducks, donkeys, chickens and llamas. Other highlights include pony rides for children, tractor-drawn hayrides and cow-milking activities. (71 miles from O'Hare, (262) 534-2891, www.greenmeadowsfarmwi.com)

Scarecrows are the stars in Marshall

Thousands of guests are expected to visit Marshall, Mich., for the town's annual Scarecrow Days festival, running Oct. 20-28. Tour the town to see scarecrows, dressed up in wigs and costumes, in various scenes that dot the lawns of Marshall residents. Other festival highlights include a corn maze, haunted house and a pumpkin-carving contest. Hundreds of children, decked out in their Halloween finery, will stroll through downtown Marshall in the Children's Costume Parade Oct. 27. Bus tours are offered for scarecrow viewing. (197 miles from O'Hare, (800) 877-5163, www.scarecrowfestival.com)

Have frightful fun in Rock Island

Head to Rock Island, Ill., Oct. 25 for Fright Night 2007, featuring spooky storytellers, pumpkin-carving demonstrations and a costume contest. Start your Halloween celebration early and take a stroll through downtown, as local businesses compete in a storefront decorating contest. Guests of all ages can search for treats in a treasure hunt throughout town. (169 miles from O'Hare, (309) 788-6311, www.ridistrict.com)

Far

Terlingua is mecca for chili lovers

Each year on the first weekend of November, the Chili Appreciation Society International holds the granddaddy of all chili cook-offs in Terlingua, Texas. It's a Texas tradition of epic proportion, with an annual proclamation from the governor declaring "Chili Appreciation Society International Day" in Texas. Everyone is welcome to the 41st Annual Terlingua World Championship Chili Cook-Off Oct. 31 through Nov. 3. Come and enjoy the celebration, the unique vendors, the stage entertainment, the rugged terrain of the Big Bend area and, of course, the chili. ((888) 227-4468, www.chili.org, www.visitbigbend.com/events_study.html)

Johnny Cash will get pardon in festival

More than 40 years after the late singer Johnny Cash was arrested in Starkville, Miss., a festival takes place in his honor. The Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival Nov. 2-4 will include a ceremonial pardoning for the "man in black." According to a local version of the tale, he was arrested for picking flowers on private property. In his autobiography, Cash says he was arrested after attending a party at a fraternity house on the Mississippi State campus, which inspired a song about his drunken night behind bars. The festival includes a communitywide social with a charity auction, a showing of the biopic "Walk the Line," a downtown concert, a sermon on redemption, a jam session and an audience sing-along to "Starkville City Jail." ((800) 649-8687, www.pardonjohnnycash.com)

Coffee fest heats up Hawaii's Big Island

The 37th annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival runs Nov. 2-11 at various sites on Hawaii's Big Island. The event, which celebrates the annual Kona coffee harvest, is the only festival in the U.S. devoted strictly to coffee. Guests can attend the Cupping Competition and watch as judges sample gourmet Kona blends. Then guests can sample the high-quality brews themselves. Tour Kona farms to watch the coffee roasting and milling operations. Watch as professional chefs devise their own dishes with Kona coffee for a recipe contest. Other festival highlights include the Miss Kona Coffee Pageant, parades, outdoor concerts and art exhibits. ((808) 326-7820, www.konacoffeefest.com)

Art is twice as nice in Orlando

Orlando, Fla., is the site of two artistic events running Nov. 3 and 4.

The Fall Fiesta in the Park takes place in downtown Orlando in Lake Eola Park. More than 600 artists will be on hand to display their work in photography, wood, glassware, ceramics and other media. The event also features entertainment and plenty of food.

The 21st Annual Lake Mary-Heathrow Festival of Arts is in Colonial Town Park, near downtown Orlando. Stroll through outdoor art exhibits while viewing live entertainment and sampling some of the food available.

(Fall Fiesta: (407) 649-3152, www.cityoforlando.net; Lake Mary-Heathrow Festival: (407) 444-0484, www.lakemaryheathrowarts.com)

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