Calendar Highlights: October 2008

Go Creole Crazy Creole culture stretches across the globe, embracing myriad customs and defying definition. But once a year all is united at the Creole Festival (Oct. 24-31) on the idyllic Seychelles islands. First explored by the French in the 18th century, this Creole melting pot serves as the backdrop for events like "Dimans Kreol bor Lanmer," or a Creole-style beach party, with raft races and tree-climbing contests. Learn local crafts at "Bazar Artizanal" and attend "Fon Lanmal," a fashion show. Still not Creoled out? Enjoy poetry readings, traditional games, street processions and more. The Creole keeps on coming.

Paint a Smile At the Masskara Festival, or Festival of Smiling Faces (Oct. 18-19), help the Philippines island of Negros celebrate happiness over grief with three days of dancing, food fairs and carnivals. The people of Bacolod City started the festival after a shipwreck off the island — combined with the declining value of their signature crop, sugar — threatened to pull down the typically upbeat atmosphere of this "City of Smiles." Today, festival-goers don smiling masks and elaborate head-dresses and sing Sigue Lang; Sigue Na. Bacolod, Bato Kita. "It's OK; it's all right. Bacolod, fight on." It's enough to keep a smile on anyone's face.

Find the Flavor The perfect recipe: Take a weekend of Caribbean relaxation, add pounds of fresh fish and a handful of internationally renowned chefs, and you have the Nevis International Culinary Heritage Exposition (Oct. 17-19). Spend your days touring local farmers' markets full of Caribbean produce and your nights at premier restaurants, where famous chefs — including Bruno Correa — will whet your appetite with cooking demonstrations (and tastings, of course). Learn to prepare dishes like Nevisian spiced chicken with chiles using Pinney's Beach spice mix, semi-ripe Nevisian plantains and red habanero chiles. Bon appetit!