As ice wraps the shoulders of Western mountains, the people of Cerca Country offer the warmth of fellowship. You’re invited to any of these events.
Through Wednesday, Ely: Polar Express. Head to the North Pole and visit with Santa Claus and his elves. On the way, there will be a reading of the children’s classic “The Polar Express.” Santa will present a silver bell to all believers. Cookies and hot chocolate. (866) 407-8326. www.nevadanorthernrailway.net.
Through Wednesday, Prescott, Ariz.: World’s Largest Gingerbread Village. More than 100 locally constructed gingerbread houses are displayed in lobby of the Prescott Resort. (800) 967-4637, www.prescottresort.com.
Through Thursday and Jan. 7 and 8, Williams, Ariz.: The Polar Express. Listen to the children’s classic storybook while taking a magical journey to the North Pole, where Santa and his reindeer will greet passengers. Hot chocolate, cookies and a silver bell for each child to keep. (800) 843-8724, www.thetrain.com.
Through Friday, Flagstaff, Ariz.: Winter Holiday Celebration. Numerous telescopes will be set up around the Lowell Observatory campus for visitors to view the winter sky. (928) 233-3210. www.lowell.edu.
Friday, Brian Head, Utah: Fireworks and Torchlight Parade. New Year’s celebration features skiers making their way down the slopes carrying torchlights, followed by a fireworks display and party. Brian Head Resort. (435) 677-2035. www. scenicsouthernutah.com.
Friday, St. George, Utah: Twilight to Midnight Downtown Party 2010. Swing into the new year with the performing arts. Local bands and food booths located indoors and out in Downtown Square and Main Street. (435) 627-4560. www.sgcity.org.
Jan. 6-17, Palm Springs, Calif.: 22nd Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. One of largest film festivals in the U.S. with more than 200 films from 70 countries. Seminars, events and gala receptions. (800) 898-7256. www.psfilmfest.org.
Jan. 8, Kingman, Ariz.: Public Star Party with High Desert Astronomy. Telescopes will be set up, or you can bring your own to view the craters on the moon, the Pleiades, Andromeda Galaxy and more. Walleck Ranch Park at sundown. (928) 753-9949. www.hdac-az.com.
Jan. 8, Lake Tahoe: Winter Trails Day. The family-friendly event offers a free three-mile guided snowshoe along the Kingsbury Grade north trail in south Lake Tahoe. Participants will snowshoe about three miles and learn about trail safety and the environment along the way. (530) 542-4637. www.tahoerimtrail.org/.
Jan. 14-15, Ely: White Pine Fire and Ice Show. Snow and ice sculptures are created by locals and visitors alike at Cave Lake State Park. Fireworks show Sunday night at the park. Cash prizes. (800) 496-9350. www.parks.nv.gov/.
Jan. 14-16, Lake Havasu, Ariz.: Groovy: Buses by the Bridge 16. The London Bridge Bullis Vintage Volkswagen Show and Campout. Slow drag races, raffle, free tacos and children’s activities. Windsor Beach State Park. (928) 208-6566. www.busesbythebridge.com.
Jan. 14-16, Laughlin: SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. More than 200 of the world’s top off-road drivers compete in the annual race. An estimated 30,000 fans attend this event, the first race in the SCORE Series throughout the Southwest, which ends with the BAJA 1000 in Mexico in November. (818) 225-8402. www.score-international.com.
Jan. 22, St. George, Utah: Painter’s Half Marathon & 5K Run. A new course this year takes racers along paved trails along the Virgin River and through landscapes of suburban St. George. Fossil Ridge. (435) 627-4560. www.utahstgeorge.com.
Jan. 24-29, Elko: National Cowboy Gathering. A weeklong celebration of Western life featuring traditional and contemporary arts. Poetry, music, film, photography. Exhibits, workshops, film screenings. Western Folklife Center. (775) 738-7508, www.westernfolklife.org.
Jan. 27-30, St. George, Utah: Winter Bird Festival. Take part in field trips, workshops, live displays and presentations while enjoying Southwest Utah’s hot spots. Red Cliffs Audubon Society. Tonaquint Park and Nature Center. (435) 673-0996. www.utahstgeorge.com.
Please send proposed event information for the Cerca Country Calendar to Deborah Wall, firstname.lastname@example.org, by the first Sunday of the month before the event.