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Desert Companion

2017 Fall Culture Guide: Food, Festivals & Family

Food, festivals & Family | Music | Theater &  Dance | Literature and Ideas | Visual Arts

{September 15-17

Feel the kefi!

Kefi is a Greek term for a feeling of elation, joy, spirited happiness, maximum mojo. And the kefi will be raining down in gigantic, feta-like chunks at the 45th annual Las Vegas Greek Food Festival. Originally held at the Stardust hotel starting in 1973, the annual event has quickly grown into a joy-infused valley staple. Some of this year’s musical talent includes The Olympians and Etho Ellas; and a diverse sampling of Greek delights, from tiropita to pastitsio, will fuel your turns on the dance floor. (AK) Various times, St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, $7-$12, 5300 El Camino Road, lvgff.com

 

{September 23

Asian culture, in sound and sight

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The diversity of Asian culture will be on full display at The Springs Preserve’s Asian Heritage Celebration: lion dances and taiko performances, tea ceremonies, games, face-painting and henna tattoos, live cooking demonstrations, Chinese drum and Korean mask craft activities are just a sampling of what’s on offer. (AK) 10a-4p, The Springs Preserve, $6, springspreserve.org

 

{September 30

Pass the haggis!

Okay, yeah, went for the easy haggis joke. But, seriously, Scottish culture entails much more than kilts, bagpipes and sheep-guts pudding. It’s also exhilarating highland games, awe-inspiring castles and whiskey. Come learn about the rich realm of Scottish culture and history at the 17th annual Something Scottish festival. (AK) 11a, Windmill Library, 7060 W. Windmill Lane, free, 702-507-6030

 

{October 3-8

Cue the waterworks

An inspiring tale of home and hope based on a classic by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid is enchanting enough on its own as a love story. Add in the costumes, dance and music that define the stage production, and you’ve got an utterly immersive experience for kids and adults alike. (AK) Various times, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, $36 and up, thesmithcenter.com

 

{October 6-7

Taking flight

Now in its fourth year, the (cute capitalization alert!) RiSE festival sees hundreds of glowing paper lanterns take to the desert sky in an emotionally plangent display worthy of a Coldplay video. The event also features live music by local and national acts, and food and beverage vendors. (AK) Various times, Mojave Desert, $69-$109, risefestival.com

 

{October 7

Oompah like nobody’s watching

Oktoberfest, that heady whirl of beer, oompah music and lederhosen, returns to the Historic Fifth Street School for another year of festitude. This year’s talent roster includes DummKopfs, the Alphorns, Hubert Gall, and the Las Vegas Bavarian Dancers. Also on tap: lots of traditional food, beer and activities for the kids. (AK) 3-9p, Historic Fifth Street School, free, artslasvegas.org

 

{October 11

Dino-might!

To call Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo a mere educational puppet show would be an understatement of paleolithic proportions. This interactive show’s life-like, full-body models from T-Rex to triceratops — designed and operated by experts — offer kids and adults alike a glimpse of how dinosaurs foraged, hunted and mated millions of years ago. Presented by Erth Visual & Physical of Sydney, Australia, the show promises to be an edutainoramic dino-tastic blast from the past. (AK) 6:30p, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, $14.95-$75, thesmithcenter.com

 

{October 13-29

A spirited time at the Springs Preserve

The Springs Preserve, that cheerful interactive monument to environmental awareness, gets its scary on every October with the Haunted Harvest. Featuring trick-or-treat stations, carnival games, circus activities, a petting zoo, crafts, live entertainment, and much more, this harvest delivers a bumper crop of fun for the kids. (AK) Oct. 13-15, 20-22, 27-29, 5p, Springs Preserve, $4 members, $8 nonmembers, springspreserve.org

 

{October 21

Brew ha ha

Beer has come a long way. Once upon a time, it was liquid bread for monks. Then it became something that people really into sports would drink in great quantities to quell the howling spiritual void inside. Today, it’s a hipster culinary realm unto itself, with as many types and varieties as there are affectedly stylish porkpie hats. This year’s Downtown Brew Festival will feature more than 70 breweries and 200 craft beers, as well as culinary artists and live music acts. (AK) 5-9p, Clark County Government Center Amphitheater, $35-$75, downtownbrewfestival.com

 

{October 21

Pass the face paint!

The Summerlin Library Fall Festival has quickly become a centerpiece seasonal event of the community, and this year’s roster of events and attractions are worthy of the tradition. There’ll be great food to eat, music to dance to, pumpkins to decorate, faces to paint, books to buy, balloon artists to delight in, and mimes to subtly avoid. (AK) 10a, Summerlin Library, 1771 Inner Circle Drive, 702-507-3860

 

{October 28

That skull is suh-weet!

Literally. At this Sugar Skull Workshop (dibs — my next band name!) celebrating Hispanic culture and heritage, kids will learn about the Mexican tradition of sugar skulls, and color and decorate a sugar skull to take home just in time for the “Dias de los Muertos” Mexican holiday. The process is messy (read: fun!), so dress the tykes accordingly. (AK) 1-3p, Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St., free, artslasvegas.org

 

{November 3-5

A day of the dead to remember

It’s always good to take time to remember friends and family members who have passed on, and that’s what “Day of the Dead,” a 3,000-year-old Hispanic celebration, is about. But we’re not talking mopey, morose, dolorous remembrance; we’re talking spirited and sanguine recollection. This festival at The Springs Preserve will feature live theater and dance performances, altars, mariachis, face painting, sugar skull decorating and an art exhibition. Bonus coolness: One of the highlights is the altars that Las Vegas residents, community groups and artists create to honor deceased relatives. Participants decorate the altars with photographs, burning candles and incense, and display favorite foods of their loved ones. Irreverent poems, music and dance ensure that these remembrances elicit smiles. (AK) 4p, Springs Preserve, $6-$10, springspreserve.org

 

{November 12-January 7

Children bringing change

What can a child do to help change the world? More than you think. In “The Power of Children: Making a Difference” exhibit at The Springs Preserve, kids can explore the stories of three amazing children: Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ryan White. Anne Frank’s courage and eloquence in the face of evil made her diary a 20th-century classic; activist Ruby Bridges braved the epicenter of the New Orleans school desegregation crisis in 1960; Ryan White became the face of childhood HIV/AIDS as he fought ignorance and discrimination that kept him from attending school. (AK) 9a-5p, Springs Preserve, free for members, general admission otherwise, springspreserve.org

 

{December 30

Hopes, culture, values — and a great party

The theme of this year’s Kwanzaa celebration is “Affirming African Values, Culture and Community with Purpose,” with the highlight being a Boys and Girls Rites of Passage graduation ceremony. Think of it as a great holiday party with a crunchy community spirit-affirming center. (AK) 2-4:30p, West Las Vegas Library Theatre, 951 W. Lake Mead Blvd., free, artslasvegas.org

 

I SENSE A THEME

Music festivals used to be about the sounds. Today, they’re multi-faceted experiential circuses with culinary wizardry and high-concept art. Here are two marquee fall festivals.

 

{September 9

A perfect mix of music, food and more

Mix 94.1’s Bite of Las Vegas 2017 edition features a solid slate of musical artists — Neon Trees, LeAnne Rimes, Vertical Horizon, Eve 6, Lights, just to name a few — as well as, of course, great food from local purveyors and nationally known names. (AK) 11a-10p, Desert Breeze Park, $20-$80, mix941fm.cbslocal.com

 

{September 22-24

More Beautiful every year

The three-day festivalzilla that takes over a sizeable footprint of Downtown is already sold out of single-day, general admission tickets, so if you’re feeling the VIPness, as of this writing, there’s still a chance to nab some of those tickets. Some of this year’s marquee names: Gorillaz, Muse, Lorde, and Blink-182. And, of course, more art and food than you can shake an RFID-chipped wristband at. (AK) Various times, Downtown Las Vegas, $655-$2,495, lifeisbeautiful.com

 

 

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