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Chocolate Week, Whiskey Revival among Atlantic City's highlights

Atlantic City is a year-round playground and there’s no better time to get in the game than autumn. Plush hotels, spas, glam nightspots and sleek gaming rooms invite you to try your luck, indulge or simply kick back.

There’s plenty to keep you entertained, both inside and around the gleaming casinos. Whether you’re wild about chocolate or whiskey, want to catch a rodeo, or see a humorous puppet show, Atlantic City has it all. Here are nine fresh reasons to pack your bags and hit the boardwalk right now.

Atlantic City Ballet keeps dancers and audiences on their toes in America's Playground, with many fall openings.

Atlantic City Ballet keeps dancers and audiences on their toes in America’s Playground, with many fall openings.

(Atlantic City Ballet)

Atlantic City Ballet, Sept. 29

The Atlantic City Ballet has kept audiences on their toes since 1982. “Here Comes the Sun” could describe the company’s Sept. 29 double bill at Caesars Atlantic City. First up is “In The Eye of the Storm,” originally presented after Hurricane Sandy in 2013, which explores nature’s often devastating impact on our lives and our ability to transcend the experience. In light of the recent weather-related catastrophes, the ballet is more resonant than ever. The second program, “Impressions,” is set to instrumental arrangements from The Beatles catalog. The season continues with “Dracula” Oct. 29 and “It’s A Shore Holiday” Nov 26. Tickets, at acballet.org, range from $ 20 to $ 50.

Terry Fator, Oct. 6

Sometimes it’s okay to put words into others’ mouths. Ventriloquist Terry Fator does that hilariously. Fator brings his gang of 15 adorable puppets and unique brand of ventriloquy, impressions and singing to the Circus Maximus Theater at Caesars Atlantic City for a night of theatrical magic. Since winning “America’s Got Talent,” Fator’s career has skyrocketed. He was signed to a multi-million dollar deal with the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas and had a theater named after him. Simon Cowell referred to Fator as one of the two top entertainers on the planet. And Cowell is no dummy. Tickets, at caesars.com/caesars-ac, range from $ 55 to $ 215.

The Borgata sets the scene for “Miss’d America Pageant 2017,” hosted by "Queer Eye" alum Carson Kressley.  

The Borgata sets the scene for “Miss’d America Pageant 2017,” hosted by “Queer Eye” alum Carson Kressley.  

(Wayne Parry/AP)

Miss’d America Pageant, Oct. 7

Glitter and bugle beads take over the Borgata Oct. 7 when “Miss’d America Pageant 2017,” the glitzy drag extravaganza and competition, holds court at the hotel’s Event Center. Carson Kressley (“Queer Eye For the Straight Guy”) hosts with special guest Frankie Z. Tickets, at theborgata.com, range from $ 35 to $ 65.

Atlantic City Comedy Festival, Oct. 7 & 8

Everybody could use a good laugh today. The Atlantic City Comedy Festival, now its eighth year, will have you rolling in the aisles on Columbus Day weekend. The lineup showcases about a dozen comedy acts. Look for Sommore, Michael Blackson, Mike Epps, Earthquake and George Wallace, among others. (Check out the two-night program at accomedyfestival.com). Tickets range from $ 49 to $ 125.

Cowboys and cowgirls vie for awards at the American Finals Rodeo in October.

Cowboys and cowgirls vie for awards at the American Finals Rodeo in October.

(American Finals Rodeo)

American Finals Rodeo, Oct. 20-21

Sometimes you just need to horse around. The American Finals Rodeo at Boardwalk Hall is the perfect place to do that. Nearly 90 cowboys and cowgirls from all over the Northeast vie for awards at this capstone event of the American Professional Rodeo Association. The competitions include bull riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping and saddle bronc riding. Thrills and spills await. Tickets, available at americanfinalsrodeo.com, range from $ 8 to $ 99.

Chocoholics will love Chocolate Week at the Tropicana, where chocolate waffles at Casa Taco & Tequila Bar are just one tasty treat.

Chocoholics will love Chocolate Week at the Tropicana, where chocolate waffles at Casa Taco & Tequila Bar are just one tasty treat.

(Tropicana Atlantic City)

Chocolate Week, Oct. 22-28

How sweet it is. Chocoholics will love this event at the Tropicana Atlantic City. For a week, every eatery and bar at the resort will feature chocolate drink and dining specials. You can bask from morning to night. Start the day with a chocolate waffle breakfast at Casa Taco & Tequila Bar. Get cool with a S’mores milkshake from the Broadway Burger Bar. Even the Grilled NY Sirloin Steak with caramelized onions gets a splash of chocolate beer at the Fiesta Buffet. End the day with a Dutch Chocolate Martini at Firewaters or a Yoohoo shooter at Boogie Nights. tropicana.net

The Disco Ball: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Fever, Nov. 4

It’s 1977 all over again. Slip into those “Boogie Shoes” and smooth groves at this Disco Ballthat honors the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Fever.” KC and the Sunshine Band and The Trammps, both featured on the original motion picture soundtrack, pay homage to the John Travolta film. France Joli, Jimmy “Bo” Bohorne, Jackie Moore and other performers fill out the show. White suits and open collars rule the night. Ticket prices range from $ 59 – $ 125 for this show at the Event Center in the Borgata. Visit Theborgata.com.

Sipping and sampling is the name of the game at the Whiskey Revival at the Golden Nugget in November. 

Sipping and sampling is the name of the game at the Whiskey Revival at the Golden Nugget in November. 

(Bob Krist/Golden Nugget )

Whiskey Revival, Nov. 25

Sipping and sampling is the name of the game at this annual tasting for artisan spirit aficionados. While you’re whetting your whistle, enjoy whiskey lore and a showcase of various brands from top distillers. Expert mixologists will also teach you how to make an impressive cocktail. Barrel-aged barley beers, malts and American moonshines are also featured. Live entertainment and culinary delights add to the boozy fun at the Golden Nugget. Tickets are $ 59 at goldennugget.com.

Painting on the Pier lets you channel your hidden Picasso or O'Keeffe.

Painting on the Pier lets you channel your hidden Picasso or O’Keeffe.

(Painting on the Pier)

Painting on the Pier, ongoing

Different (brush) strokes for different folks sums up several paint-it-yourself experiences this season. Discover your hidden Picasso or Rembrandt, or just have a hoot at Painting on the Pier at The Playground-Shops at Caesars. Canvases, paint, supplies and instruction are provided. Come with your friends, imagination and own refreshments since it’s BYOB. Fridays and Saturdays, $ 30. Reservations, (609) 246-0522.

Or, for spooky fun, the Cielo Wine Bar at Resorts AC presents a Halloween Painting Party Oct. 12. $ 35. resortsac.com

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Atlantic City

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