Prime outdoors time is full of festivals


Cashman Photos, courtesy of One Drop

Cirque Du Soleil's Brandon Pereyda (right) participates in the 2015 Walk for Water

The soul-crushing heat has ended, and the countdown to nose-nipping chill begun. That means Southern Nevadans have, oh, three weeks and two days to enjoy optimal outdoors time. To help them plan accordingly, Desert Companion offers this selection of cultural, philanthropic and seasonal traditions. Starting … now!


Oct. 7-8, Rise lantern festival, Moapa River Reservation

If making a wish and symbolically releasing it into the night sky is your thing, then this could be your event. And haters heed this: Rise takes pains to point out its leave-no-trace policy; even if a lantern or two gets missed in the cleanup, they’re made of biodegradable materials, so they’ll become one with the desert … eventually.

Oct. 7-9, Lebanese American Festival, St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church

Go for the homemade shawarma and namoora; stay for the belly dancing. In between, donate some platelets at the blood drive, or learn the history of the Maronite Catholic faith (which started in Lebanon) during a free tour of the church.

Oct. 8, Fall Festival, Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway

Support comes from

The Southern Nevada Conservancy and U.S. Forest Service are throwing a kid-oriented party to teach about the changing of the seasons. If Smokey Bear isn’t enough of a lure to get your tykes to Mount Charleston, perhaps free s’mores will do the trick?

Oct. 14-30, Fall Harvest Festival, Northwest Las Vegas

One of the city’s oldest sources of fresh eggs and raw honey is also the location of a fall jamboree featuring hayrides, pony rides and a maze. Proceeds of the event benefit Barn Buddies Rescue, a nonprofit that cares for abandoned farm animals.

Oct. 15, Walk for Water, Springs Preserve/Smith Center

Nonprofit One Drop teamed up with Barrick Gold this year to raise money and awareness for the problem of worldwide water scarcity. The 2.7-mile walk between the Smith Center and Springs Preserve reminds participants of the daily trek too many people must make daily to fetch clean water for their families. An autumn festival follows the walk at the Springs Preserve.

Oct. 15, Vegas Valley Book Festival, Downtown Las Vegas

Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff and Walt Longmire mystery series creator Craig Johnson are among the literary stars in the lineup of this year’s book festival. New this go-round is VVBF After Dark, reading and conversation events taking place Friday and Saturday evening at The Writer’s Block bookstore and Inspire Theatre, respectively.

Oct. 22-23, Las Vegas Pride, Sunset Park

Sin City's version of the annual LGBT celebration is so diverse that it even welcomes pets. At its new home, the shindig will have two stages, along with grassy fields to lounge on while visitors enjoy snacks and beverages from the food court.


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