Enjoy Food, Festivals and Freebies During September Travel

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By Harriet Baskas

September not only offers a fresh start for students, it also offers fresh deals for travelers.

Try a Broadway Show or the State Fair

The New York State Fair is under way in Syracuse and continues through September 4. Among the highlights are the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Exhibit, 25-cent cups of milk (New York’s official beverage), food and beer competitions and unique fair foods such The Bacon Bomb and Deep-Fried Breakfast.

NYC Broadway Week runs from September 4 to 17, 2017, giving both visitors and locals the opportunity to buy two-for-one tickets to 23 top Broadway shows in New York City. While tickets for “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” are already sold out, tickets for many other popular shows are still available.

Boudin Wars takes place September 10 in Sulphur, Louisiana, where local chefs compete for the title of “Best Boudin in Southwestern Louisiana,” while visitors sample all the recipes and choose their favorites.

Food Festivals in Louisiana and Georgia

Boudin, a Cajun smoke sausage delicacy made from pork, liver, rice, onions, garlic, and lots of spices, is celebrated during Boudin Wars, taking place September 10 in Sulphur, Louisiana. Local chefs and restaurants will be competing for the title of “Best Boudin in Southwestern Louisiana,” while visitors sample all the recipes and choose their own favorites. (Tickets $10. Details here.)

Jekyll Island, Georgia, holds its 12th annual Shrimp & Grits Festival September 14 to 17, with entertainment, a craft brew festival, wildlife demonstrations and plenty of shrimp & grits — a classic southern dish — on the menu.

Back in Louisiana, the 76thLouisiana Sugar Cane Festival takes place in New Iberia from September 22 to 25, with parades, a carnival, live Cajun and Zydeco music, sugar cane exhibits and a wide range of sugar cookery contests.

Meal Deals in San Diego, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale

Orlando’s Magical Dining Month is on now and runs through October 1, offering prix fixe dinners for $35 at over 1,000 Orlando-area restaurants. One dollar from each meal goes to local charities.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Restaurant Month, Crave GFL offers three-course dinners for $37 at participating restaurants throughout the month of September. Each Crave GFL restaurant is also hosting a special event, such as a mixology class or a cooking demonstration as well.

The 13th Annual San Diego Restaurant Week rolls out September 24 through October 1 with prix fixe three-course dinners (for $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person) and two-course prix fixe lunches (for $10, $15 or $20) at over 180 participating restaurants throughout in the county.

Life Is Beautiful— in Las Vegas

Eighteen city blocks of Downtown Las Vegas become the venue for the (ticketed) Life Is Beautiful Music & Art Festival September 22 to 24, featuring concerts, performances, food, over-the-top installations and commissioned large-scale street murals. When the festival is over, the murals remain on the exteriors of buildings and businesses, so the rest of the year Downtown Las Vegas is home to one of the country’s largest, free public art galleries.

The brand new Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium includes 4D dioramas that will make visitors feel like they’re in the Arctic, the Himalayas, and the African Savannah.

Museum Grand Opening in Missouri

An attraction created by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris is being billed as “the world’s largest, most immersive wildlife attraction in the world,” and opens September 21 in Springfield, Missouri.

Among the promised “wows” in Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium are 1.5 million gallons of fresh and saltwater aquariums; 4D dioramas that will make visitors feel like they’re in the Arctic, the Himalayas, and the African Savannah; a shipwreck room; wildlife galleries; and artifacts such as a boat that once belonged to Ernest Hemingway and personal possessions from President Teddy Roosevelt. More details here.

Free Museum Day

As part of Smithsonian magazine’s annual Museum Day Live! event on September 23, more than 1,000 museums and cultural institutions around the country will be offering free admission (for two) to visitors who have downloaded a ticket from the event site.

Participating museums range from Alaska’s Smithsonian-affiliated Anchorage Museum (Regular adult admission: $15) to Florida’s Flamingo Gardens (Regular adult admission: $19.95).

Myrtle Beach Focuses on Health

And for those who want to ease into fall, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has a variety of health-focused lodging packages and complimentary activities, including free beach yoga on Saturday mornings in September and October and meditation zones focused on the five senses.