September 6-9: One of the world’s most important riding competitions, the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials also boasts one of Britain’s most impressive settings. Over these four days, riders and horses compete in dressage, cross-country and show jumping events in the shadow of the palace where Sir Winston Churchill was born.
September 7: The acclaimed Shanghai Symphony Orchestra kicks off its nine-month season with a gala concert. The fascinating program includes a Brahms violin concerto followed by a Schoenberg-orchestrated Brahms piano quartet.
September 8-22: Conductor Zubin Mehta and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet headline this year’s Dvořák Prague International Music Festival. Although the festival honors Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, he is only one of many great composers on the program. Most concerts take place in the neo-Renaissance Rudolfinum, the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral or the opulently baroque Spanish Hall in Prague Castle.
September 11-16: Yachting enthusiasts converge on Cannes for the Festival de la Plaisance, held in the Vieux Port and the Port Pierre Canto on the other side of the Croisette (shuttles ferry attendees between the two). Exhibitors present everything from small sailboats to multimillion-dollar super-yachts. Monaco hosts a similar yacht show September 19-22.
September 12-15: Buenos Aires hosts the 12th annual Vinas y Bodegas, a major wine exhibition attended by representatives of most of Argentina’s top wineries. Certain hours are restricted to the trade, but public ticketholders can taste many of South America’s best wines each day between 6 and 10 p.m.
September 21-24: Barcelona celebrates its patron saint during the Festival of La Mercè (the Virgin of Mercy) with concerts, dancing, markets and street performances. Perhaps most memorable are the castellers, who build nail-bitingly tall human towers, and the correfoc, a wild procession including firecracker-wielding groups dressed as devils, giant sparkler-breathing dragons and various other costumed revelers and pyrotechnic displays.
September 28-30: Galway’s International Oyster & Seafood Festival, reputedly the world’s oldest, takes place each September at Galway Harbour. The Guinness World Oyster Opening Championship is exciting, but the real stars of the festival are the oysters and other seafood delicacies, raised in pristine local waters.
September 28-30: Many of Chicago’s top restaurateurs set up tents in exquisite Millennium Park for Chicago Gourmet. Visitors can wander the grounds and graze on gourmet tidbits, taste a wide array of wines and spirits, and attend workshops and master classes. The Grand Cru tasting (a separate ticket) is sure to be a highlight.