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Desert Companion

Holiday guide: Events

Holiday lightsBaby, it’s coldish outside

But don’t let that keep you away from this season’s gift fairs, festivals, lighting displays and entertainment events



Nov. 7-9

The Craft Festival

Get a jump on this year’s holiday shopping. Offering more than 50,000 square feet of displays and 200 booths representing independent artists and crafters from seven Western states, this huge indoor festival of handmade arts and crafts has been rated one of the top 20 in the country. The festival doesn’t allow the selling of mass-produced, commercial or imported items, and all work for sale is created by the artist at each booth. In addition to the crafts, a wide variety of food is available for sale and an ATM is located on-site. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., $2-$7 (one admission charge is good for all weekend), $4 parking fee. Cashman Center Exhibit Hall, 850 Las Vegas Blvd. N., steve


NOV. 13

21st Annual Holiday Cactus Garden Lighting

Ethel M Chocolates’ seasonal exhibit, displayed throughout the 3-acre Botanical Cactus Garden, features more than a half-million brilliant, colorful, twinkling lights, Santa’s house where kids can have their photos taken on St. Nick’s lap (5 p.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sun.) and live choirs performances (Fri.-Sat.). Cactus Lighting: Nov. 13, 5 p.m.-8 p.m., ticket(s) required, which can be picked up beginning Nov. 1 at Ethel M Chocolates; those who bring a new, unwrapped toy receive a family four-pack of tickets to the event. Holiday Cactus Garden: Nov. 14-Jan. 1, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. daily, free admittance. Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Garden, 2 Cactus Garden Drive, Henderson, (702) 435-2655

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Nov. 14-Dec. 24

Adventure to Santa

Presented by DreamWorks Animation, DreamPlace is a 2,000-square-foot holiday cottage in the Fashion Show Mall that melds the latest digital technology with storytelling to bring Santa Claus to life. An interactive 12-minute experience, DreamPlace takes children and their families on an adventure to the North Pole, led by the lovable ogre Shrek and his friends. The journey ends with photo opportunities with Santa. (Avoid the long lines by making an appointment by app.) Mall hours, free for adventure, Santa photos $TBA. The Great Hall at Fashion Show, 3200 Las Vegas Blvd. S.,


Nov. 14-Jan. 4

Glittering Lights

Returning for its 14th year, this drive-through light show is Nevada’s largest, drawing more than 25,000 vehicles and 150,000 visitors each year. It boasts in excess of 1 million LEDs and 400-plus animated displays stretched across a 2.5-mile course. 5:30-9 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and 5:30-10 p.m. Fri., Sat. and holidays, $20 per vehicle; $55 for season pass; $1 per person with minimum charge of $20 per bus. First 15,000 vehicles receive free gift bag. Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 7000 Las Vegas Blvd. N.,   


Nov. 17, Dec. 1, 8, 15

Pet Night with Santa

Capture holiday memories with your beloved pet this year when St. Nick’s Pet Pics visits the mall to take photos of proud pet owners and their four-legged friends with Santa Claus. Dogs and cats only. 6 p.m.-8 p.m., $TBA. Meadows Mall, 4300 Meadows Lane,


Nov. 21-Jan. 4

Magical Forest

Opportunity Village’s magical forest includes hundreds of trees twinkling with more than 3 million lights, the Forest Express passenger train, Boris the Elf’s 3-D Experience, the Avalanche Slide and the Magical Midway. Also, nightly entertainment for all ages, photos with Santa in his workshop and a gingerbread house display. 5:30-9 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and 5:30-10 p.m. Fri. and Sat., $11 and $20 (all inclusive) adults, $9 and $18 (all inclusive) children ages 12 and younger, free for children 2 years and younger. Parking is free of charge behind the Magical Forest in the CSN parking lot. Opportunity Village, 6300 W. Oakey Blvd., (702) 259-3741


Nov. 21-Jan. 4

The Rink at the Boulevard Pool

It’s the desert, but who says you can’t enjoy some seasonal culinary and cocktail offerings after ice-skating? The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas converts the largest of its three pools into a real-ice rink with special programming that includes “Date Skate,” an evening of skating and favorite holiday movies playing on the resort’s 65-foot digital marquee, and “Industry Skate on the Strip,” featuring a DJ who will turn the rink into an outdoor club scene. Times and cost TBA. The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S.,


Nov. 22-23

Pre-Black Friday Craft and Vendor Bazaar

Get a head start on your holiday shopping at this two-day event featuring a variety of gift ideas, including handmade crochet and knit items, candles, ceramics, drawings and hair accessories, as well as a great selection of doTerra essential oils, Pink Zebra scents, soaps and lotions, Scentsy candles and warmers, and more. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun., free. Galleria at Sunset, 1300 W. Sunset Road, Henderson. (702) 271-5263


Nov. 23, Dec. 7

Sensitive Santa

Santa arrives before the Meadows Mall opens to accommodate children with special needs. The chaos and crowds of the holiday season can be stressful for kids, especially for those who have autism or other special conditions. Caring Santa hours provide a quiet time for personal visits with St. Nick. 9-11 a.m. both days, free. Meadows Mall, 4300 Meadows Lane, (702) 878-3331,


Nov. 26-Jan. 1

Mystic Falls Holiday Shows

Sam’s Town’s indoor park (1) transforms into a winter wonderland decked out with a large Christmas tree, thousands of lights, wreath-adorned lampposts, poinsettias, garland and more. Also part of the holiday fun is a free 15-minute laser light show that occurs hourly, and visits from Santa Claus. Holiday shows: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. hourly daily, free. Santa visits: Nov. 28-Dec. 23, noon p.m.-4 p.m. Thurs. and Fri., noon-8:30 p.m. Sat. and Sun. Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, 5111 Boulder Highway, (702) 456-7777


Nov. 28-Jan. 4

Fountains of Bellagio

One of the world’s most famous fountains will incorporate into its rotation eight Christmas performances choreographed to the season’s songs, such as “O Holy Night” and  “Hallelujah Chorus.” Every half hour from 3-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-7 p.m. Sat. and holidays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. and every 15 minutes from 7 p.m.-midnight daily. Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S., (702) 693-7111


Sister MaryNov. 28-30

Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold

This comical holiday mystery extravaganza (2) by Late Nite Catechism author Maripat Donovan, along with Jane Morris and Marc Silvia, is filled with laughs as the fictitious Catholic nun, known only as Sister, retells the story of the nativity while raising the 2,000-year-old question: Whatever happened to the Magi’s gold? Assisted by a local choir and some audience members, Sister transforms the stage into a living nativity. 7 p.m. Fri., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sat.-Sun., $35-$40. The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Ave., (702) 982-7805



Dec. 4-13

Cowboy Christmas Gift Show

The longest-running gift show of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo features more than 300,000 square feet of show floor with 400-plus vendors; shoppers can find custom jewelry, western wear, boots and spurs, furniture, handmade crafts and pottery. And you may get to meet your favorite cowboy stars when they make surprise appearances and sign autographs. Free shuttle service will be available from the gift show to the Thomas & Mack Center for each night’s rodeo performance. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, free admission. Las Vegas Convention Center, 3150 Paradise Road,


Dec. 4-14

Stetson Country Christmas Western Gift Expo

This gift expo is in its 21st year in Las Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo. Covering the entire ground floor of the Sands Expo, you can find the newest, hottest Western lifestyle items and classic gifts, too. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, free admission. Sands Expo and Convention Center, 201 Sands Ave., (702) 733-5556


Dec. 5-7

Clint Holmes for the Holidays

Join this three-time Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year, four-time Singer of the Year and recipient of the Sammy Davis Jr. Foundation Award as he performs an enchanting evening of lively holiday music. 8:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., $36-$46. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave., (702) 749-2000


Dec. 5- 14

Meet Me in St. Louis

Rainbow Company Youth Theatre presents this optimistic musical based on the heartwarming 1944 film. The story centers on the close-knit Smith family, which happily resides in St. Louis on the eve of the 1904 World’s Fair as they reluctantly prepare to move to New York. Dec. 5, 6, 12 and 13, 7 p.m., and Dec. 7, 13 and 14, 2 p.m., $5, ages 5-adult. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.,


Dec. 5

Ward 4 Holiday Movie: Frozen

Families are invited to see the 2013 PG-rated Disney film inspired by the story “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen. The 3-D computer-animated musical fantasy-comedy won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. 6:30-8:30 p.m., free, all ages. Durango Hills Community Center/YMCA, 3521 N. Durango Drive, (702) 229-2524


Dec. 6-Jan. 4

Conservatory and Bontanical Gardens

This year’s holiday display at the Bellagio will feature thousands of fresh poinsettias, a family of polar bears and a huge tree decorated with 7,000 white lights and more than 2,000 ornaments, all set among a working train display. Live musical performances can be enjoyed from 5-6 p.m. daily. Open for viewing 24 hours daily, seven days a week, free. Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S., (702) 693-7111


ElviiDec. 6

Las Vegas Great Santa Run

Santa Claus — well, lots of Santa Clauses — will head downtown for the 10th anniversary of Opportunity Village’s largest annual fundraiser (3). It’s also the 60th anniversary of the esteemed Las Vegas nonprofit, which provides opportunities and support to nearly 3,000 citizens with disabilities and their families. Thousands of St. Nick lookalikes will race, run and walk to raise funds. To keep the adrenaline going, the Great Santa Run features costume contests, live entertainment, food, celebrity appearances and more. 8 a.m. registration and entertainment begin, 10 a.m. 5K run starts with 1-mile walk following, $30-$45. Registration includes five-piece Santa suit and goody bag. Participants are encouraged to bring canine companions for $10 and each will receive a doggie bag of treats and toys. Downtown Las Vegas.


Dec. 6, 13

Ornamental Art-Making Workshop

In this two-day specialty workshop, led by instructor Jaqueline Eihausen, students will create ornate, decorative sculptural objects inspired by the winter season that they can use to decorate this year’s tree. Among the ornaments students will create will be an origami globe and beaded 3-D snowflakes. Registration is open through Dec. 6 or until full. 12:15-2:15 pm., $26, ages 7+. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.,


Dec. 6

Pops II: Fa La La Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Philharmonic’s new music director, Donato Cabrera, gets the festivities going with the orchestra’s popular celebration of the holiday season. The orchestra will be joined by the Las Vegas Master Singers and other special guests to present a seasonal program that includes Tchaikovsky and Vaughan Williams. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., $26-$94. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave., Las Vegas. (702) 749-2000


Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20-24,

Santa in the Shipwreck

St. Nick appears at the Shark Reef Aquarium to greet and take photos with guests who come to explore the exhibit’s 2,000 underwater friends. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Exhibit admittance is $18 adult ($15 for NV residents), $12 children ages 5-12 ($10 for NV residents), free for children 4 and younger and Santa photos are included in the admission price. Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S., (702) 632-4555


Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21

Scuba Santa and elves at the Silverton Aquarium

Santa can be found swimming among the 4,000 tropical fish and three species each of sharks and stingrays that reside in the Silverton’s 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium. Suited up in scuba gear and equipped with a microphone, the jolly man in red will submerge himself into the depths of the tank to enjoy some underwater fun. Bring your kids and cameras! 11 a.m.-1 p.m., free. Silverton Casino Hotel, 3333 Blue Diamond Road,

(702) 263-7777


Dec. 6

Ward 6 Cowboy Christmas and Car Show

Join Councilman Steve Ross Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs to celebrate the holiday season. Families can enjoy hay rides, a petting zoo, balloon artist, jump house and visit from the jolly man in red, while donating food, toys and clothing to assist local charities. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., free. Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs, 9200 Tule Springs Road, (702) 229-8100


Dec. 13

A Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption

The Animal Foundation, which operates Lied Animal Shelter, and Meadows Mall hope to make the holidays a little brighter for dogs in need of a good home this season by hosting a pet adoption station in Dillard’s court. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., free to attend. Meadows Mall, 4300 Meadows Lane,


Dec. 11-13


The theme of Henderson’s annual WinterFest is “It’s a Fairy Tale Christmas.” Activities include a tree-lighting ceremony with Santa Claus, live music and roaming entertainers, gingerbread houses, a festival of trees, Santa’s Village with a carousel, pony and carriage rides, petting zoo and Santa’s workshop, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, and a Saturday evening light parade at 5 p.m. 7-9 p.m. Thurs., 6-9 p.m. Fri. and noon-8 p.m. Sat., free. Henderson Convention Center & Events Plaza, 200 Water St., Henderson.


Dec. 13-21

The Nutcracker

The Nevada Ballet Theatre and Artistic Director James Canfield present this beloved winter holiday tradition (4), complete with a live orchestra, which reveals the classic, visually stunning and wondrous story of Clara and her nutcracker prince as they dance through a blend of imagination and reality. 7:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat. with additional 2 p.m. show on Dec. 20, 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sun., $29-$179 plus fees, no children under 3 years of age permitted. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park,


Dec. 19

Downtown Cultural Series Concert: Meshuggina Klezmorim

Meshuggina Klezmorim is Yiddish for “crazy musicians.” The group plays klezmer music, a type of European folk music that has expressive melodies reminiscent of the human voice, complete with laughing and weeping. The musicians will perform some favorite Chanukah melodies, including “I Have a Little Dreidel” and “Chanukah O Chanukah.” Noon-1 p.m., free. Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse Jury Assembly Room, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. S.,


Dec. 27

Kwanzaa 2014: “A Celebration of African Values, Culture & Community”

Join in as Master of Ceremonies “LaBlaque” and the community celebrate the meaning of Kwanzaa and the accomplishments of those youths who are graduating from the annual Rites of Passage mentoring workshops. Featured activities present the best in African culture and community, and include a marketplace bazaar, master dance class, ancestral stretch and yoga class, author visit and book signing, theatrical production of Two Trains Running, as well as a crossing-over graduation ceremony. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free, all ages. West Las Vegas Arts Center, 947 W. Lake Mead Blvd. and West Las Vegas Library Theatre, 951 W. Lake Mead Blvd.,





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