ANSBACH, Germany (Sept. 23, 2016) -- "Was ist los in Franken?" details off-post community events and activities occurring throughout Middle, Lower and Upper Franconia.

Farmer's Market in Westheim
The Westheim (Illesheim) community is hosting a farmer's market this Sunday, Sept. 25, in the Gemeindehalle Westheim, starting at 11 a.m.

Two-city run Merkendorf/Wolframs-Eschenbach
The annual "2 Städtelauf" between Merkendorf and Wolframs-Eschenbach takes place on Sept. 24. There will be a 21.1 km half marathon, a 10 km citizen run, a 5.5 km 'hobby' run/walk, a 3 km student run and a 300m Bambini run. Registration deadline is Sept. 18, but late registration is possible on site until one hour before each race. For more details, fees and registration, go to www.merkendorf.de or www.wolframs-eschenbach.de.

Kite Festival in Heuberg
A kite festival takes place on Sept. 24 and 25 in Heuberg near Hilpoltstein; kiting pros are showing off their colorful kites doing acrobatic stunts in the sky, but everybody is invited to bring a kite and participate. Saturday starts off with kite flying at 2 p.m. followed but a night show and fireworks; a family kite event starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday. To learn more, visit http://www.hilpoltstein.de/veranstaltungen/jubilaeums-drachenfest-160514/

Tough Mudder -- Wassertrüdingen
Do you have what it takes? The "Tough Mudder" is a team obstacle race covering 16-18 kilometers of rough terrain in Wassertrüdingen (Oettinger Forst) and takes place Sept. 24 and 25; the goal of the race is not to win, but to make it to the end. For event details, tickets, parking, etc. visit https://toughmudder.de

Street Food Market in Ansbach
The first Street Food Market in Ansbach takes place on Sunday, Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. -- 7 p.m. at the Posthof Ansbach (Bahnhofstrasse 2). Visitors can sample international foods, like Italian pasta, Korean street food, Philly Cheese Steak, donuts and vegan baking goods and much more. To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1065627413491666/

Fall Market in Nürnberg
The Nürnberg "Herbstmarkt" takes place on the main market place (Hauptmarkt) downtown through Oct. 3; vendors sell household goods, pottery, clothes and arts and crafts. Opening hours are daily 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. To learn more, visit https://www.nuernberg.de/internet/marktamt/herbstmarkt.html.

Altstadtfest - Nürnberg
The traditional Altstadtfest downtown Nürnberg, scheduled until September 26, is one of the most popular highlights in the Franconian event calendar. The Hans-Sachs-Platz and Insel Schütt turn into fest grounds with wooden huts that offer local culinary specialties; the entertainment program includes cultural and traditional events, like the Fischerstechen, an event that includes boats on the river and people with long poles pushing each other off these boats. Program details and other information can be found at www.altstadtfest-nue.de.

Oktoberfest in Munich
The Oktoberfest in Munich -- the original Oktoberfest -- is one of the most famous events in Germany and is the world's largest fair with more than 6 million people from around the world attending every year. It started out as a royal wedding celebration in October 1810, when Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen; the fields, where the celebration took place, were named Theresienwiese ("Therese's Meadow") in honor of the crown princess.

The Oktoberfest, also known as the "Wies'n," takes place on Munich's Theresienwiese on Sept. 17 to Oct. 3. The midway is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (30 minutes longer on the weekends); the beer tents have the same opening hours, but the last beer will be served an hour before closure.
***Highlights: Highlights of the Oktoberfest - besides the numerous rides, attractions and tents - include the opening parade of the Wiesn-Wirte (tent owners) on Sept. 17 at 11 a.m., the traditional garb and master shooters parade (Trachten- und Schützenzug) on Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. or the traditional gun-salute on the steps of the Bavaria monument at noon on October 2. Official family days with reduced prices are Tuesdays from noon to 6 p.m. Since there is no parking anywhere close to the location, visitors are encouraged to come to town by train or take advantage of the park & ride system and leave their vehicle at a public transportation stop outside of the city, using the subway (U-Bahn) to get there.
***Security concept: The security concept of the Oktoberfest is based on decades of experience and constantly reviewed. New this year will be a "security fence" along open stretches as well as a ban of back packs and larger bags; smaller bags are subject to search. Strollers are only allowed on weekdays until 6 p.m.; completely forbidden are items like glass bottles, gas spray cans or knives. On the busier days, like the weekends, visitors are advised to refrain from bringing small children. For more information about the Oktoberfest go to www.oktoberfest.de/en.

Guided Ansbach City Tour in English -- Oct. 1
Ansbach's more than 1250 years of eventful history has left its marks: gorgeous Baroque style facades and hidden Renaissance inner court yards, the former Margrave's Royal Chapel, the crypt with its 25 sarcophagi and the Baroque Synagogue are just a few highlights that you will discover during the one-hour-guided city tour the tourist office offers on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 5 p.m.; meeting point is the horse sculpture "Anscavallo" on Schlossplatz (Promenade 27) downtown Ansbach. Cost per person is 6 euros; a preregistration at akut@ansbach.de or 0981-51-243 is preferred, but spontaneous participants are welcome as well.

State Garden Show in Bayreuth
Every year the state of Bavaria hosts a garden show in a different location; landscapes are transformed into beautiful garden scenes, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. This year the "Landesgartenschau" is located in Bayreuth, capital of Upper Franconia. The show is open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. until October 9 along the Roter Main River (Friedrich-Ebert-Straße/Äußere Badstraße). Day tickets are available for 16 euros for adults, an annual pass is 100 euros; children 7-17 years old pay 3 euros per day or 25 for the annual pass. Visitors arriving by train at the Bayreuth Bahnhof can use a free shuttle to the location and will receive a 2 euro discount on their (adult's) ticket by showing the train pass. To learn more about the garden show, visit www.landesgartenschau2016.de

Refrain from Carrying Backpacks
In light of recent events throughout Europe, visitors may be prohibited from bringing backpacks or larger bags to public events; if allowed, the bags may be subject to search. To avoid inconvenience it is recommended to carry only what's really necessary and leave larger carrying items behind.

Volksmarch Hiking Days
Volksmarches or "Internationale Wandertage" are a form of non-competitive physical fitness training, which takes the participants through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Germany. The walking distance varies from 5 to 10 or 20 kilometer routes on scenic trails through forests, along rivers and lakes or around historic sites. There is no set start time, but a window of time for hikers to start the route, and finish it at their own pace. Trails are typically marked well along the way. Many trails are stroller-friendly and provide great opportunity to explore the countryside. After the walk the local hiking clubs usually offer food and drink in a hall or tent, sometimes even at a half-way point. Avid hikers can get a hiking passport stamped each place they participate, and many clubs reward their visitors with a small token. To learn more about Volksmarches in Germany, visit DVV Wandern in the "Related Links" section.

Upcoming Volksmarch events in and around Franconia:

* September 24 and 25 in Amberg: Hiking distances are 5 and 10 kilometers. Start is Saturday 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday 7 a.m. to noon at the Turnhalle VS Ammersricht, Bruder-Konrad-Weg 1, 92224 Amberg.

* October 1 and 2 in Tiefenbach (near Crailsheim): Hiking distances are 5, 10 and 21 kilometers; includes a family hike with special tasks and games for children (hands-on skill games, soccer ball shooting, leaves collecting, playground along the hike, etc.). Starts at Turn- u. Festhalle, Steinbachstr., 74564 Crailsheim-Tiefenbach, at 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for (for 5 and 10 km) or 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for 21 km on Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.