This umbrella event in wintry Anchorage covers four events in two weeks: Fur Rendezvous, the Iditarod, the Tour of Anchorage and WILDfest. The Rendezvous includes the Rondy SnoCross, rough-and-tumble snowmobile racing; a Gold Rush-reminiscent melodrama; outhouse races; snowshoe softball; the World Championship Sled Dog Races; and the inaugural Running of the Reindeer, likened to Spain's Running of the Bulls, with about 1,000 men and women racing with a herd of reindeer. The ceremonial start of the 36th annual Iditarod Championship Sled Dog Race will have more than 100 teams lining up on 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage for the 1,100-mile trek to Nome. The Tour of Anchorage pits amateur skiers in 25k, 40k and 50k cross-country races; it's part of the American Ski Marathon Series. The full WILDfest event premieres in 2009; this year there's a teaser. An ice castle will be built with two slides and two round turrets about 12 feet tall and 7 1/2 feet in diameter. In 2009, WILDfest will bring outdoor winter sports, evening concerts, fireworks and more.
When, where: Fur Rendezvous is Feb. 22 to March 2 at various locations, Iditarod is March 1, the Tour of Anchorage is March 2 and WILDfest ice castle is Feb. 29 to March 2 in Town Square, 560 W. 5th Ave.
Cost: Varies; watching the Iditarod and ski races and visiting the ice castle are free.
Info: (800) 446-5352, www.anchorage.net.
Parada del Sol
It's the 55th year for Parada del Sol, which begins with a parade through Old Town Scottsdale. This equestrian affair is billed as the world's largest horse-drawn parade. It culminates in the Trail's End block party, with live music, trick roping, pony rides, games and more. The next weekend is the Parada del Sol Rodeo, a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assn.-sanctioned event.
When, where: The Feb. 23 parade is along Scottsdale Road; Trail's End is at Main Street and Brown Avenue. The rodeo is from Feb. 29 to March 2 at WestWorld of Scottsdale equestrian center, 16601 N. Pima Road.
Cost: Free for parade and Trail's End; for rodeo, $17, $23 box seats, 3 and younger free.
Info: (480) 840-0457, www.scottsdalejaycees.org.
Joshua Tree National Park Art Festival
Artwork that celebrates the desert will be on display. The outdoor show includes painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics and jewelry. After browsing the art, visitors can walk the adjacent half-mile Oasis of Mara nature trail, used by early inhabitants of the area.
When, where: April 4 to 6 at Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center, 74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms.
Info: (760) 367-5500, www.joshuatree.org.
Winter Beer Festival
Hot food and live music -- not to mention 150 different brews -- will help keep visitors warm during this outdoor festival of Michigan beer in Grand Rapids.
When, where: Feb. 23 at Fifth Third Ballpark, 4500 W. River Drive, Comstock Park, Grand Rapids.
Cost: $40 includes 12 drink tokens; $5 for designated drivers.
Info: (517) 327-5004, www.michiganbrewersguild.org.
Calendar: events from February through April 2008
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