Normally we wouldn't recommend walking the streets of Cave Creek after dark, given the number of bikers -- inebriated or otherwise -- who frequent the hamlet's roadhouses and saloons. But we'll make an exception on Saturday, December 11, for the second annual Cave Creek Luminaria Run. More than 1,000 of the glowing sand and candle creations will border a four-mile course starting and ending at the Center of Cave Creek, 6252 East Cave Creek Road. Race director Meribeth Reeves isn't taking any chances, however, by recruiting volunteers to act as "course monitors" who'll keep participants from peril by stopping potential hooligans from knocking over the lanterns. "Not that I'm expecting any mischief or anything," she says. "They're there just as an added safety benefit for the precarious areas of the course."
While there's a two-mile fun run and walk and "Desert Dashes" for both little and big kids, the main event is the four-mile run and walk, which will be timed. Overall awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers, and awards for the top three male and female competitors in eight different age categories, from 9 on up. Reeves expects more than 1,000 participants to turn out for the event, which benefits the Black Mountain Parent-Teacher Organization. "I'm a runner, but it's too bad I have to run this show because the course is so gorgeous." Pre-race activities start at 3:30 p.m. and the races are at 5 p.m. Registration is $25 for adults, $13 for students, and $5 for kids 12 and under. Call 480-575-7863 or see www.luminariarun.com. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Get a little circus with your jam
The original "Quem Quaeritis" was a theatrical rendering of the birth and death of Jesus, an Easter trope with lines like, "Whom do ye seek in the tomb, O Worshippers of Christ?" But the Quem Quaeritis coming to the Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue, on Saturday, December 11, is more likely to spout lines like, "Play that Etch-a-Sketch, you crazy puppet!" Yes, QQ is a band. It plays a bizarre mix of Latin and island music, forgoing guitars for flutes, accordions, violins and toys. The show also includes monsters, puppets, candy and balloons -- all inside a tent. Admission is $5; doors open at 7 p.m. Call 602-256-6006. -- Niki D'Andrea
Intergalactic volunteers enliven toy drive
Screw Santa. This Christmas, bounce on Luke Skywalker's lap instead. On Saturday, December 11, members of the local Star Wars fan club Phoenix Fan Force will don costumes for Toy Anxiety's second annual toy drive. Toy Anxiety, located at 10210 North 32nd Street, will pile toys into a Hummer from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. while faux Jedis and Jabba the Hutts entertain the kids -- or your socially inept boyfriend. Toy Anxiety will match the number of donations it collects and turn over the toy stockpile to Toys for Tots, which distributed more than 600 toys from last year's drive. Discounts and giveaways are available when you donate a toy. Call 602-308-0292. -- Ashlea Deahl
Acoustic show supports Hospice of the Valley
Music at its most transcendent has always been a meeting place for humanity and compassion, a fact that makes it the perfect vehicle to promote the finest in home health care for those with terminal illnesses. Join Valley artists and musicians in promoting this worthy idea at An Acoustic Music Benefit for Hospice of the Valley, Friday, December 10, at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue. Music by acts including Budget Sinatra (pictured) and Lakeshore Drive, as well as an Artists' Auction, headline an evening committed to bringing comfort and dignity to the terminally ill. Admission is $10. Doors open at 5 p.m. For details call 602-262-2020 or visit www.thepaperheart.com. -- Craig Wallach