Celebrate the holidays in a variety of festive ways in Cerca country.
Through Dec. 28, Ely: Polar Express. This magical adventure begins at the Ely depot and heads to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Reservations recommended. 775-289-2085. www.nevadanorthernrailway.net.
Through Jan. 1, Prescott, Ariz.: World’s Largest Gingerbread Village. More than 100 gingerbread structures on display in a winter wonderland that includes electric trains. Prescott Resort. 928-776-1666. www.prescottresort.com.
Through Jan. 4, Williams, Ariz.: The Polar Express. Listen to the children’s classic “The Polar Express” by Chris Allsburg while taking a magical journey to the North Pole, where Santa and his reindeer will greet passengers. Hot chocolate and cookies will be offered. A silver bell will be presented to children. 800-843-8724. www.thetrain.com.
Saturday, Williams, Ariz.: Williams Parade of Lights. The holiday season kicks off Saturday night with a parade followed by the official tree-lighting ceremony. Dickens carolers, lighting contests and an outdoor skating rink. 928-635-0273. www.experiencewilliams.com.
Dec. 2, Cedar City, Utah: Christmas at the Homestead. This evening program features candle dipping, paper-chain making, popcorn stringing, carolers and a visit to Santa Claus. Held at Frontier Homestead State Park Museum (formerly Iron Mission State Park). 435-586-9290. www.scenicsouthernutah.com.
Dec. 4-7, St. George, Utah: Dickens Christmas Festival. Get a jump on your Christmas shopping at unique shops while being entertained by a cast of Dickens characters such as Tiny Tim, Scrooge and Queen Victoria. Dixie Convention Center. 435-688-2990. www.dickenschristmasfestival.com.
Dec. 5, Zion National Park, Utah: Thursday Trek. Join a field institute naturalist on hikes to discover the geology, flora, fauna and cultural history of the park. Zion Canyon Field Institute. Reservations recommended. 800-635-3959. www.zionpark.org.
Dec. 6-7, Friday and Saturday, Lake Havasu, Ariz.: 31st annual Boat Parade of Lights. More than 50 decorated boats will parade along the London Bridge Channel and tour the lake in this event hosted by the London Bridge Yacht Club. 928-453-3444. www.lhcboatparadeoflights.com.
Dec. 6-8, Wickenburg, Ariz.: 25th annual Cowboy Christmas Poets Gathering. Cowboy poets, singers and musicians gather to celebrate the Old West at various venues around town. 800-942-5242. www.wickenburgchamber.com.
Dec. 7 Saturday, Prescott, Ariz.: 31st annual Christmas Parade and 59th annual Courthouse Lighting. One of the city’s most popular annual events celebrates with a parade, a visit by Santa Claus and an evening lighting. Prescott Courthouse Plaza. Parade is at 1 p.m. and lighting at 6 p.m. 928-777-1100. www.visit-prescott.com.
Dec. 7 Saturday, Prescott, Ariz.: Frontier Christmas Open House. Costumed revelers, storytelling and period entertainment featuring carolers will be presented. Hot cider and cookies will be offered. This event takes place immediately after the courthouse lighting from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Sharlot Hall Museum. 928-445-3122. www.sharlot.org.
Dec. 7-8, Zion National Park, Utah: Winter Photography. Join photographer and field institute director Michael Plyler for this two-day workshop. Learn tips about composition, depth of field and camera equipment. Zion Canyon Field Institute. Reservations needed. 800-635-3959. www.zionpark.org.
Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15, Virginia City: The Candy Cane Express Holiday Train. Travel the rails in a festively decorated and fully restored antique passenger car. Christmas music will be played, and elves will serve hot chocolate and cider. Virginia and Truckee Railroad. 775-847-0380. www.visitvirginiacitynv.com.
Dec. 7-8, and Dec. 14-15, Kingman, Ariz.: Santa’s Hualapai Wonderland. Visit Santa Claus, take a hayride and enjoy holiday treats from 1 to 5 p.m. at Hualapai Mountain Park. 928-681-5700. www.kingmantourism.org.
Dec. 31, Brian Head, Utah: Fireworks and Torchlight Parade. This New Year’s celebration features skiers making their way down the slopes carrying a torchlight followed by a fireworks display and party. Brian Head Resort. 435-677-2035. www.scenicsouthernutah.com.