Steve Roberts / Courtesy
Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 | 6 p.m.
The rodeo has returned, bringing with it a slew of country artists, comedians and opportunities to buy everything on your favorite cowboy or cowgirl's holiday wish lists. In addition, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw make their debut in the Venetian's newest resident show, "Soul2Soul." Here are our best entertainment bets for the weekend:
Thursday-Friday: Women in Design at Colab Gallery
Six talented female designers have been selected for the first ever blind juried exhibit from the fields of architecture, interior design and landscape architecture, Women in Design. The event showcases the work of Renne Smith, Gina Grillo, Lindzay Green, Alice O'Keefe, Briana Tiberti and Kim Dauost at the Colab Gallery at 1025 S. 1st. St. in Art Square. The opening event is Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. and it will be on display at the Dec. 7 First Friday from 5-10 p.m.
Saturday: The Lakes Festival of Lights
Join Councilman Bob Beers at The Lakes Festival of Lights for family entertainment along with Santa Claus, pony rides, a car show, exhibits and an electric boat parade. The street will be blocked off and parking will be available in the Citibank parking lot. Admission is free and the event will be held at the intersection of Lake East Drive and Lake Sahara Drive from noon - 10 p.m.
Thursday-Sunday: National Finals Rodeo at Thomas & Mack
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is back for another installment at the Thomas & Mack Center. Check out all your favorite riders at the main event and for a list of auxiliary events, click here. Tickets are $51 and the rodeo begins at 6:45 nightly through Dec. 15.
Friday: ZZ Top at House of Blues
Come for the beards. Come for the tunes. Just make sure you don't miss ZZ Top at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. Look forward to hits like "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs." Tickets are $89.50-$180 and the show starts at 8 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 'Soul2Soul' at the Venetian
Collectively, they’ve sold 70 million albums, won eight Grammy Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards, 14 American Music Awards, seven People’s Choice Awards and 26 Academy of Country Music Awards. "Soul2Soul" marks the first time in six years that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have performed together in the United States. Tickets are $95.50-$295.50. Dates have been announced though next April but this weekend’s shows include 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Venetian Theatre.
Friday: Bill Engvall at TI
"Blue Collar Comedy" star Bill Engvall will be performing live at the Treasure Island Theatre. The star of TBS' "The Bill Engvall Show" will be doing his stand-up comedy routine. Tickets are $48.35- $76.95 and the show starts at 9 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14.
Thursday-Sunday: Cowboy Marketplace
The Mandalay Bay Convention Center East Parking Lot hosts the Cowboy Marketplace presented by Roper. Guest can enjoy a Western shopping experience featuring more than 300 Western vendors, offering everything from home goods to clothing. Admission is free and the event is open from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily through Dec. 15.
Friday-Saturday: Downtown Throwdown Barbecue Championships at the Fremont Street Experience
Fremont Street Experience and the Nevada Barbecue Association host the first-ever Downtown Throwdown Barbecue Championships. Starting at 6 p.m. Friday, cooks will compete in the chili cook-off and on Saturday starting at noon, the competitors will feature a barbecue cook-off. The public is invited to enjoy delicious samples of chili, ribs, chicken, brisket and pork during the two-day event as guests can purchase the food from some of the best cowboy cooks around. Guests' votes determine the “People’s Choice” winner, based on their opinions of 2 oz. sampling cups, available for $1 each. Every 10 samples purchased earns 1 ticket to vote for the People’s Choice. Additional private judging will be held to award first, second and third place in various categories. The awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, at 5 p.m. on the 3rd Street Stage with Crown Royal rodeo riders Wes Silcox (bull rider) and Tildon Hooper (bareback rider) handing out the winning trophies. They will also be signing autographs and taking photos with fans from 4 – 6 p.m. Admission is free and samples are $1 each.
Friday-Saturday: Merle Haggard at the Golden Nugget
Merle Haggard heads to the Golden Nugget to perform his hits like "Okie from Muskogee," "The Fightin' Side Of Me" and "Mama Tried" over two nights. Tickets are $119-$207.90 and the show starts at 10 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8.
Sunday: Season of Lights fundraiser at the Nevada State Museum
Touro University Nevada hosts a Season of Lights luncheon and silent auction at the Nevada State Museum. All proceeds will benefit families who utilize diagnostic and treatment services of the Touro Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and cannot afford services. Attendees can enjoy lunch while supporting the current and future families of the center. A silent auction featuring a collection of artwork, jewelry and dinner/show packages will also be a part of the event. Entertainment will be provided by Teresa Joy, who together with her father — Billboard chart-topping guitarist Esteban — recently performed at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Individual tickets are $100 and event sponsorships are $1,000 for a table of eight plus a commemorative brick with the donor’s name added to the donor wall in the center’s lobby. The event begins at 11 a.m.