In the ninth month of 2008, there'll be plenty to do in Cerca Country. From hot rod festivals to leisurely balloon races, there should be something just your speed.

Today and Monday, Parowan, Utah: Iron County Fair. Called Utah's "Biggest Little Fair," its events include 5K fun run, Miss Iron County Pageant, eating contests, Tour de Gap Bike Race, carnival and parade. (435) 477-8380, www.ironcountyfair.net.

Today and Monday, Pioche: Labor Day Celebration. The town's 102nd Labor Day Celebration features mining events, 10K fun run, fishing derby, chili cook-off, electric light parade and children's events. (775) 962-5544, www.piochenevada.com.

Friday through Sept. 7, Reno: Great Reno Balloon Race. Watch some of the nation's top balloonists compete in events such as the hare-and-hound, target drop and key grab. Rancho San Rafael Park, (775) 826-1181, www.renoballoon.com.

Friday through Sept. 7, Virginia City: International Camel Races. Galloping camels are just part of the excitement in this extraordinary two-day event. Ostrich and emu races, specialty acts and daily parade enrich a festival in its 49th year. (775) 847-4499, www.virginiacity-nv.com.

Saturday and Sept. 20, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah: Star Party, 10 p.m. at Point Supreme. Telescopes will be set up for viewing or bring your own to view some of the darkest night skies on the country. (435) 586-0787, www.scenicsouthernutah.com.

Saturday and Sept. 20, Zion National Park, Utah: Zion Narrows Service Project. Join a naturalist to discover the world-famous Zion Narrows. Besides a short service project in the canyon, this 7-mile hike will include discussing the geology, plants and wildlife of the area. Reservations needed. Zion Canyon Field Institute. (435) 772-3264, www.zionpark.org.

Sept. 7, Lake Tahoe: Tour De Tahoe Bike Big Blue. Annual bike ride consists of an 800-foot climb to an overlook of Emerald Bay and a 1,000-foot climb to Spooner Junction. Related events include a boat cruise, 40-mile fun ride and a 72-mile ride around the lake. (800) 565-2704, www.bikethewest.com.

Sept. 12-14, Cedar City, Utah: SkyFest. This festival takes place primarily in the sky with hot air balloons, kites, radio-controlled airplanes and balloon competitions. Bicentennial Park. (435) 867-5890, www.cedarcityskyfest.com.

Sept. 14-20, U.S. Highway 50: OATBRAN -- One Awesome Tour Bike Ride Across Nevada. This fully supported tour travels 420 miles in five days from Lake Tahoe to Great Basin National Park, via America's Loneliest Road. (800) 565-2704, www.bikethewest.com.

Sept. 18-19, Zion National Park, Utah: Autumn Photography. This small-group workshop includes a half-day indoor presentation and various outdoor shooting locations. Both film and digital enthusiasts welcome. Reservations required. Zion Canyon Field Institute, (435) 772-3264, www.zionpark.org.

Sept. 19-Oct. 25, Cedar City, Utah: Utah Shakespearean Festival. The fall season features "Gaslight," "Julius Caesar" and "Moonlight and Magnolias." Matinees and evening performances Tuesdays through Saturdays. (800) 752-9849, www.bard.org.

Sept. 20, Virginia City: 100-Mile Horse Endurance Race. This race is open to all riders with a horse at least 60 months of age. Each horse and rider must cross the finish line within 24 hours elapsed time to qualify for any awards. (775) 847-4386, www.virginiacity-nv.org.

Sept. 21-28, Escalante, Utah: Escalante Canyons Art Festival. This annual event includes a plein-air-painting competition, fine arts and craft exhibition, lectures, exhibits, walking tours and cowboy poetry. (435) 826-4199, www.everettruessdays.org.

Sept. 24-28, Reno and Sparks: Street Vibrations. This official Harley-Davidson event includes motorcycle tours, concerts, ride-in shows, parade, poker run and plenty of entertainment. Various venues. (800) 200-4557, www.road-shows.com.

Sept. 25-28, Laughlin: Roddin' on the River. Annual event sponsored by the River Cruizers glorifies street rods, muscle cars, trucks, classic and specialty vehicles. Riverside Resort. (702) 298-2535, www.visitlaughlin.com.

Sept. 25-28, Pahrump: Pahrump Fall Festival, Fair and PRCA Rodeo. Competition, food, vendors, carnival, exhibits and entertainment. Petrack Park and McCullough Arena. (775) 727-5107, www.pahrumpnv.org.

Sept. 27, various locations: National Public Lands Day. The nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort needs your help to improve and enhance America's public lands. Jobs range from building trails and bridges and planting trees to general cleanup. www.publiclandsday.org.

Sept. 27-28, Genoa: Candy Dance Arts and Crafts Faire. Now in its 88th year, this festival brings in tens of thousands of visitors to this small town of 240 people. Shop the 300 arts and craft vendors, enjoy live entertainment and plenty of food. (775) 782-8696, www.genoanv.com.

Sept. 28, Flagstaff. Ariz.: Festival of Science Open House. This free event will feature indoor programs, access to the Rotunda Library Museum and numerous telescopes set up for viewing throughout the campus. (928) 774-3358, www.lowell.edu.

Sept. 29-30, Lone Pine, Calif.: Mount Whitney Classic Race. A hard-core endurance cycling race beginning in Badwater, Death Valley National Park and traveling 130 miles and more than 15,000 feet in elevation gain to the base of Mount Whitney. (760) 876-4444, www.lonepinechamber.org.

Oct. 4-6, Death Valley, Calif.: Furnace Creek 508. This is one of the world's top ultramarathon bicycle races. The nonstop 508-mile race runs from Santa Clarita to Twentynine Palms via California's Death Valley and Mojave Desert. www.the508.com.

To offer information for the Cerca Country Calendar, e-mail Deborah Wall, deborabus@aol.com.


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