For nine days each October, you can add vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, as one of the most beautiful islands in the world reveals some of the best leaf-peeping in North America, coupled with the sound of fiddles and bagpipes, accordions and guitars, singing voices and dancing feet.

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Cape Breton Island, on Canada’s east coast, is home to a unique combination of music and culture, inspired by 19th-century settlers from Scotland and Ireland and influenced by the aboriginal Mi’kmaq people. The Celtic Colours International Festival is a celebration of this culture and over its 19 years has become one of Canada’s premier musical events. Both the line-up and the audiences reflect its international appeal, but the welcome and hospitality is pure Nova Scotia.

Communities all around Cape Breton host concerts, workshops, dances, storytelling and other events in venues ranging from state-of-the-art performance facilities to community halls and churches.

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Many of the world’s finest Celtic performers are on the bill, along with exciting new names, but this festival is not all about headliners — there’s interaction too: Bring your instrument and head for one of the “sessions” where all-comers play together just for fun; get a taste of island life at a community supper with music and dancing; meet up with other festival goers at the nightly Festival Club; take a guided hike through stunning landscapes painted with autumn hues; or sign up for a workshop. It might just be the most fun you ever had.

The festival runs October 9–17. For tickets and more information, visit www.celtic-colours.com, or call 1-902-567–300 or 1-888-355–7744 (toll-free).

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