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2018 Fall Culture Guide: Families and Festivals

Rise Festival
Courtesy Rise Festival

Family & Festivals | Music | Theater & Dance | Literature and Ideas | Visual Arts

As the sun sets on summer, the fall cultural season is just getting started. Plan your outings with our handpicked collection of great art, music,  literature, theater, and festival events! 

September 21-23

Sponsor Message

Block Party

The Weeknd, Florence + The Machine, Arcade Fire, and Travis Scott headline this year’s Life is Beautiful, the annual art/music/food festival that transforms Downtown Las Vegas into even more of a psychedelic playground than it already is. Comedians Hannibal Buress and Michelle Wolf will ensure it’s not just fun, but funny. (KT) Downtown, $135 and up,

 September 29

Nice Hooch!

Beer geeks and winos find common ground at the Grapes & Hops Festival. Tickets include food by El Segundo Sol, Stripburger, Mon Ami Gabi, Top of the World, TAO Asian Bistro, and Divine Cafe, and proceeds go toward breast cancer research. (KT) Springs Preserve, 5 p.m., $45 and up,


October 5-6

Sponsor Message

Look Up

Whether it’s about hopes and dreams or letting go of something, the  Rise Festival  is a thing to behold. Thousands gather on a dry lake bed halfway to the state line to release self-inscribed paper lanterns at dusk. There’s music, art, food, and even luxury camping for those who want to make a weekend of it. (KT) Jean, $69-$129;


October 7

Fit for Royalty

Oktoberfest started out as a celebration for a Bavarian prince and princess who wed in October, but today it’s mostly known for beer. However, there’s plenty of dry fun to be had! Consider the entertainment: Cirque du Soleil accordionist Hubert Gall, knee-slapping Bavarian dancers, and a trio that plays alpenhorns, the 13-foot instruments you know from Ricola commercials. Or, you know, go for the lagers and get more pickled than sauerkraut. (KT) Historic Fifth Street School, 3-9 p.m., free, 702-649-8503


Sponsor Message

October 20-21

Bye, Summer

Summer’s over, and we can go outside again! Even so, head indoors for a family-friendly welcome of fall, with pumpkin decorating, autumnal science experiments, and art projects inspired by the season. (KT) Discovery Children’s Museum,


October 20

Bottoms Up

Two hundred craft beers, 60 breweries, food from local culinary wizards, and music by Naked Elephant and Mike Xavier. What more do you need to know about the Downtown Brew Festival? (KT) Clark County Government Center, 5 p.m., $35 and up,


November 2-4

Making Light of Death

Springs Preserve’s Garden is gorgeous, but it’s even more magical at night, when dotted by candlelight and festive Dia de Muertos ofrendas, or altars, paying homage to late loved ones with photos, incense, and favorite foods. Offerings for the living include theater, dance, face painting, and crafts like traditional sugar skulls. (KT) Springs Preserve, admission TBA,


November 3

Geeks Unite

It’s Las Vegas Comic Book Festival time! Dust off your cosplay costume and head down to the library for this 11th annual celebration of all things comics. Artists, authors, and fans gather to celebrate the magic of the illustrated word, with panels, workshops, music, merch, and, of course lots of books. (KT) Clark County Library, 9:30 a.m., free,


November 3-16

Native Lesson

This month-long celebration teaches children about Nevada’s Native American heritage. They’ll watch native dance performances, learn about artifacts, and have the chance to make their own pictographs and petroglyphs — which they’ll also learn to tell apart. (KT) Discovery Children’s Museum,

Scott Dickensheets is a Las Vegas writer and editor whose trenchant observations about local culture have graced the pages of publications nationwide.
As a longtime journalist in Southern Nevada, native Las Vegan Andrew Kiraly has served as a reporter covering topics as diverse as health, sports, politics, the gaming industry and conservation. He joined Desert Companion in 2010, where he has helped steward the magazine to become a vibrant monthly publication that has won numerous honors for its journalism, photography and design, including several Maggie Awards.
Desert Companion welcomed Heidi Kyser as staff writer in January 2014. In 2018, she was promoted to senior writer and producer, working for both DC and KNPR's State of Nevada. She produced KNPR’s first podcast, the Edward R. Murrow Regional Award-winning Native Nevada, in 2020. The following year, she returned her focus full-time to Desert Companion, becoming Deputy Editor, which meant she was next in line to take over when longtime editor Andrew Kiraly left in July 2022. In 2024, Interim CEO Favian Perez promoted Heidi to managing editor, charged with integrating the Desert Companion and State of Nevada newsroom operations.
Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.