There's something about fall that inspires a craving for good, cold beer. That's what's on tap at the first annual Brew Festival, held this weekend at Dover Downs. The Brew Fest features a wide variety of microbreweries from the Mid-Atlantic, including drafts from Evolution Craft Brewing, Old Dominion and Brooklyn Brewery. Since this year's event has a Wild West theme, Todd "Almost McGraw" Sullivan, a Tim McGraw tribute artist, will be there to keep the party going. Visitors can line dance and snack on treats such as sliders, nachos and dishes made with beer.
The festival is 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday at the Rollins Center at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, 1131 N. DuPont Highway in Dover. Ages 21 and older. General admission is $25 in advance or $30 the day of the event; VIP tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the gate. Includes 10 drink tickets and a souvenir glass. Tickets for designated drivers are $15 and include soft drinks. Call 800-711-5882 or go to doverdowns.com.
With 19th-century dances and workshops, Cape May's annual Victorian Weekend is a trip back in time. Get into character during an interactive murder mystery tour at the Physick Estate, where a psychic and a scientist will go head to head in a ghostly debate. There will also be a Fudge Fantasy tasting, a Wine Cellar Tour, Tea Luncheon and a Mad Batter Beer Dinner.
The event starts Friday and runs through Tuesday at the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities, 1048 Washington St. in Cape May. Ticket prices vary. Call 800-275-4278 or go to capemaymac.org.
Halloween might be weeks away, but the Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream is open all month. The theme park has five different haunted houses — each with an ethnic flair. Among them: a German vampire haunted house, haunted Italian subway and freak show, a journey through the French catacombs and a haunted Irish tower.
If haunted houses aren't your thing, sit back and watch a musical with vampires, witches and skeletons. In "Jack is Back," a jack-o-lantern leads a group of scarecrows and pumpkins in a spooky dance party. You can also visit the laboratory of Dr. Weirdstein as he and his nurses create some creepy concoctions. Busch Gardens also has five scare zones with werewolves, killer spiders, a zombie militia and wandering scarecrows. Families can visit the gardens before 6 p.m. for children-friendly activities such as the Sesame Street Forest of Fun and amusement rides.
Howl-O-Scream is going on now at Busch Gardens, One Busch Gardens Blvd. in Williamsburg. Go to howloscream.com/williamsburg.
Here's a hairy situation: Saturday, the Beard Team USA National Beard and Moustache Championships comes to Lancaster — the heart of Amish Country, where beard-growing is a centuries-old tradition. The competition is broken down into five categories: mustache, partial beard, full beard groomed, full beard natural and freestyle — each with a $1,000 prize. Among the judges: Miss Pennsylvania, Juliann Sheldon, Current National Freestyle Beard champion Willi Chevalier, former Pittsburgh Steeler Justin Hartwig and, apparently, a live eagle. Fans can also enjoy beer and Hess's BBQ.
The contest starts at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Clipper Magazine Stadium, 650 N. Prince St. in Lancaster. The entry fee for contestants is $40 and $10 for spectators. Go to beardteamusa.org/nationals.
The Stomp Festival at Sugarloaf Mountain
To make wine, you have to mash a few grapes. Traditionally, some vintners took off their shoes, stepped into a barrel and stomped away. Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard is celebrating this mushy heritage with the Grape Stomp. Held over the course of two weekends (this is the second), it has food and wine tastings, hayrides and, of course, old-fashioned grape crushing. Set in the hills, the vineyard specializes in French-style wines, and has won awards for its Comus Reserve and pinot grigio.
Gina DeSimone & and the Moaners perform on Saturday and Shane Gamble and the Great Wide Open play Sunday. There will also be a moonbounce, hay pile and pumpkin patch.
The Grape Stomp runs noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, at Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, 18125 Comus Road in Dickerson. Ages under 21 are free, but for ages 21 and over, advance tickets are $15. Call 301-605-0130 or go to smvwinery.com.