A relatively recent addition to the literary scene, this weekend of events in East Lothian has built a decent reputation over the last five years, this time 12 months ago hosting the only Scottish appearance by JK Rowling promoting post-Potter novel A Casual Vacancy. This time, guests include the likes of Richard Dawkins, William McIlvanney, and Kate Mosse, politicians Douglas Hurd and Alan Johnson, broadcasters Peter Snow, Jeremy Paxman and Kirsty Wark, and comedians Rory Bremner, John Sessions, and John Lloyd.
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2 Glowing Giants at Benmore
Benmore Botanic Garden, near Dunoon, Friday and Saturday
In 1863, 50 Californian redwood trees were planted at what is now the entrance to Benmore Botanic Garden, which have subsequently grown to form an imposing avenue. To celebrate the anniversary, Benmore's redwoods are being spectacularly illuminated after dark on Friday and Saturday to provide a magical backdrop for live music, food, entertainment and exploration, featuring giant puppets and aerial performances. Sessions are at 5.30pm and 8.30pm on each night, with tickets costing £5-£7.
3 Winter Viewing Nights
Coats Observatory, Paisley, from tonight
The oldest public observatory in Scotland is offering free evening viewing sessions over the winter months, starting this week. Aimed at anyone with an interest in astronomy, the sessions run every Tuesday and Thursday until the clocks go forward at the end of March. As well as the chance to try the Observatory's powerful telescopes, there's also a Pre-viewing Planetarium Show on Thursdays, which uses high resolution digital technology to bring distant wonders of the universe into sharper focus. Entry is from 6.30pm-9pm, with last admission at 8.45pm.
4 Aberfeldy Festival
Aberfeldy, from tomorrow
Taking place over three days for the first time, this Perthshire autumn arts festival offers a mix of music, poetry, art, and street entertainment. Friday's musical line-up includes Conquering Animal Sound and Randolph's Leap; Saturday has King Creosote, Lomond Campbell, and Meursault; Sunday night features Saint Motel, and James Yorkston. Elsewhere, there are poetry and spoken word performances, vintage and local trader markets, a talk with Ian Rankin, outdoor acoustic music and street performers, and a fireworks display on Sunday from 5pm. Day tickets are £15-£20, with weekend passes available for £45.
5 Dundee Science Festival
Two weeks of lectures, workshops, talks, exhibitions and demonstrations celebrating scientific innovation and discovery get underway across Dundee from Saturday. Weekend highlights include a food and drink event examining the science behind taste at Chambers Coffee House, and a free family friendly day of demonstrations, workshops and interactive exhibits at Dundee Science Centre. Further ahead, the programme also has events exploring engineering, nature, and the history of scientific innovation in the city at venues including Ninewells Hospital, Mills Observatory, and Dundee University.
6 The Skye Swing Jazz Festival
From today, Isle of Skye
Take a step back in time and get your glad rags on for four days of big band music, jive dancing and austerity chic in south-west Skye. Opening tonight with a Hallowe'en concert from Gateshead 10-piece Jambone, tomorrow night's show pays tribute to little known band leader Raymond Scott, whose madcap music was used to great effect in the Looney Tunes cartoons. Saturday night features a Home Front-themed big band show with Rick Taylor Big Band and The Bevvy Sisters, while Sunday offers an afternoon of mellow music with The Brian Molley Quartet.
7 Candy Belle Vintiques Christmas Cracker
Caledonian Hotel, Aberdeen, Sunday
More retro fun, this time up in Aberdeen with this vintage festive fair, presenting an early chance for stylish and organised types to make a start on the Christmas shopping. Heritage fashion, homeware and gifts are the order of the day, with a side plate of vintage-themed activities, including festive tea tasting, mulled wine, a novelty photobooth, and a Santa's grotto for children of all ages. Underway from 11am-5pm, entry is free.
8 Panic: Scotland's Fright Farm
Muddy Boots Farm Shop and Cafe, tonight to Saturday
We covered a handful of early Hallowe'en events last time, but since today's the day and tonight's the night, and there's still plenty going on to discuss. This US-style scare attraction is set, perhaps slightly incongruously, on a haunted farm in Fife (by day, the much more welcoming Muddy Boots near Cupar). Created with teenagers and young adults in mind, Panic brings together five different bone-chilling walk-through installations populated by crazed clowns, murderous surgeons, and watchers in the dark. Enter at your own risk... Tickets are £9-£16.
9 Close Fest
The Real Mary King's Close, Edinburgh, from tonight
Edinburgh's original haunted attraction has waited until the day itself to kick off their week of Hallowe'en festivities in the hidden underground streets beneath the Royal Mile. Featured over the next few days are a terrifying make-up workshop, a resilience-testing sleepover in aid of children's charity When You Wish Upon A Star, plus a psychological drama about serial anatomy murderer William Burke. Next week has a book reading by author Philip Caveney, a live performance from Edinburgh-based indie rockers Shooting Stansfield, off-kilter comedy cabaret from Mr Twonkey, and a wartime-set murder mystery evening.
10 Hallowe'en Fright Night
Glasgow Science Centre, tomorrow
Billed as Scotland's biggest and best family Hallowe'en party, this three-and-half hour event turns Glasgow Science Centre into a giant house of horrors for the evening. Among an astonishing variety of grisly-sounding activities, spooky experiments and creepy workshops, programme highlights include ghost stories in the Planetarium, an explosive Potions show, gruesome dissections, and a Halloween Bush Tucker Trial. There are also fancy dress competitions, monster party games, crafts for younger kids, and an appearance from Star Wars Stormtrooper costume group UK Garrison. Suitable for children and adults, tickets are £5.50.