Holiday events throughout Cerca Country boast unique local flavors. See if this menu has one to your taste.
Through Dec. 23, Ivins, Utah: Christmas in the Canyon at Tuacahn Center for the Arts. A live nativity, holiday music on the plaza, Old Salty Train rides, stunning light show and a visit from Santa Claus. Wed.-Sat. evenings, except Dec. 3, when center features the Tuacahn Christmas Concert. (435) 652-3300, www.tuacahn.org.
Through Dec. 29, Ely: Polar Express leaves from the Nevada Northern Railway depot. 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 “Polar Express.” Santa will present a silver bell to all believers. Cookies and hot chocolate. (866) 407-8326, www.
Through Dec. 29, Prescott, Ariz.: “World’s Largest Gingerbread Village.” More than 100 locally constructed gingerbread houses are displayed in the lobby of the Prescott resort. (800) 967-4637. www.prescottresort.com.
Through Jan. 8, Williams, Ariz.: Polar Express. Listen to 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, cookies. Children receive a silver bell. (800) 843-8724. www.thetrain.com.
Wednesday-Saturday, St. George, Utah: Dickens’ Christmas Festival. Time-travel to 19th century England and stroll village streets filled with Charles Dickens’ characters, carolers, fortune tellers, shops and vendors. (877) 856-6366. www.dixiecenter.com.
Wednesday through Dec. 20, Flagstaff, Ariz.: Holiday Skies program at Lowell Observatory. Evening presentation involves the mythology and science of the winter sky, including a discussion on the Star of Bethlehem. Mon., Wed., Fri. and Sat. (928) 233-3210. www.lowell.edu.
Friday and Saturday, Lake Havasu, Ariz.: Parade of Lights. More than 50 decorated boats will parade under the London Bridge and tour the lake. Host is London Bridge Yacht Club. (928) 855-2784. www.
Saturday, Dec. 5, 11 and 12, Virginia City: Christmas Train of Elves. The little people read a story and take wish lists for Santa on a 45-minute ride on V&T Railroad. Purchase tickets at F Street Depot or online at www.VirginiaTruckee.com.
Saturday, Virginia City: Christmas Ball at Piper’s Opera House features Fort Point Garrison Brass Band playing Comstock-era instruments and music. Contemporary, 19th-century or Western garb is appropriate. (775) 847-4386 or www.VisitVirginiaCityNV. com.
Saturday, Prescott, Ariz.: Christmas Parade and Courthouse Lighting. One of the city’s most popular annual events includes a parade at 1 p.m., visit by Santa, lighting at 6 p.m. Prescott Courthouse Plaza. (928) 445-2000. www.visit-prescott.com.
Saturday, Prescott, Ariz.: Frontier Christmas Open House. Costumed revelers, storytelling and period entertainment featuring carolers. Hot cider and cookies. This event takes place immediately following the courthouse lighting. Sharlot Hall Museum. (928) 445-3122. www.sharlot.org.
Saturday, Wickenburg, Ariz: 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.
Saturday and Dec. 11-12, Kingman, Ariz.: Santa’s Hualapai Wonderland. Visit Santa Claus, take a hayride and enjoy holiday treats. Hualapai Mountain Park. 2 p.m.- 6 p.m. (928) 681-5700. www.kingmantourism.org.
Dec. 6, Cedar City, Utah: Christmas at the Homestead. Evening program features candle dipping, paper-chain making, popcorn stringing, carolers and a visit with Santa Claus. Held at Frontier Homestead (formerly Iron Mission State Park.) (435) 586-9290. www.scenicsouthernutah.com.
Dec. 10 and 11, Zion National Park, Utah: Winter Photography. Join Michael Plyler, photographer and field institute director, for a 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. 13, Flagstaff, Ariz.: Geminid Meteor Shower. Evening event at Lowell Observatory features presentation on meteor showers such as the upcoming Geminids. Telescope viewing of various celestial objects. Lowell Observatory. (928) 233-3210. www.lowell.edu.
Dec. 17-19, Prescott, Ariz.: Elves Weekend Downtown. Carolers, musicians and elves stroll the downtown shopping and dining areas. Special promotions and refreshments are offered in some of the shops. Prescott Courthouse Plaza. (928) 445-2000. www.visit-prescott.com.
Dec. 26-31, 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.
Dec. 31, Brian Head, Utah: Fireworks and Torchlight Parade. This New Year’s celebration features skiers making their way down the slopes carrying torches, followed by a fireworks display and party. Brian Head Resort. (435) 677-2035. www.scenicsouthernutah.com.