Before the holiday avalanche thunders down on you, stop and enjoy a shot of winter wonderland. From 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, November 28, and Saturday, November 29, the Glendale Glitters Spectacular Opening Weekend ignites the annual festival of lights that transforms downtown Glendale into fairyland. At 6 p.m. Friday, gather in the amphitheater just west of Murphy Park, 57th Avenue and Glendale, for the ahhh-inspiring lighting ceremony. Afterward, clip-clop through the streets in a carriage, take the youngsters to Santa City, and browse the quaint old streets that make Glendale Arizona's version of Bedford Falls. Marty Rogentine heads Christmas Light Decorators, the firm that sets Glendale aglitter with a million lights. "We start in August," he says. "Christmas is all we do." (It only seems that way to the rest of us.) Mechell Gross, whose E-Ticket Band performs nightly from 5 to 10, explains how they update the holidays with rock songs turned Christmas carols: "We do a takeoff of the Blues Brothers' song Soul Man,' and when we come to the part I'm a snow man,' the kids go wild."
Go a little wild yourself -- witness a whole town twinkling like a child's eyes at Christmas. The lights shine nightly through January 17; admission is free. For more information, call 623-930-2299 or see www.ci.glendale.az.us.- Kim Toms
Flying Off Shelves
Author explores male-female relationships
Men and women journey from their respective planets to meet on the pages of A Kind of Flying, Ron Carlson's new compilation of short stories exploring male-female relationships. The ASU creative writing professor signs his book at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 3, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe. Book signing ticket numbers will be available with purchase of the book. Call 480-730-0205 or see www.changinghands.com. - Jill Koch
Branch out at Boyce Thompson Arboretum
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It's a fall world after all -- and only an hour's drive from the Valley. Pistachio trees, pomegranate hedges, and combretum are reaching peak color at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, where a Fall Color Festival salutes the season this Saturday, November 29. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., guests can trek the trails, sip cider and engage in nose-to-nose competition in the "Smells of Fall Challenge." Live music, storytelling by Arizona folklorists, and kids' arts and crafts activities round out the event.The Arboretum is located at Highway 60 milepost 223 near Superior. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children 5 to 12 and free for kids younger than 5. Call 1-520-689-2811 or see http://arboretum.ag.arizona.edu. - Jill Koch
Heard Time's a Charm
Museum cooks up Thanksgiving winner
Cultivate a Heard mentality this weekend, when the museum of native cultures and art rolls out a cornucopia of special activities to celebrate Thanksgiving. From Friday, November 28, through Sunday, November 30, the museum treats guests to performances of Apache song and dance, hoop dancing and storytelling; flute carving and bead working demonstrations by Navajo artist Eric Manuelito; and guided tours through its 10 exhibition galleries.The Heard is located at 2301 North Central, and the festivities are free with museum admission: $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for children ages 4 to 12. Call 602-252-8848 or see www.heard.org for more information.- Jill Koch