One of the big draws at the Alaska State Fair from Aug. 24 to Sept. 3 in Palmer is the Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off. Gardeners compete for a $2,000 grand prize. Other contests include the Husband Holler, pig herding and ax throwing. Palmer is 50 miles north of Anchorage. Contact the Alaska State Fair, 2075 Glenn Highway, Palmer, AK 99645; telephone (907) 745-4827, Internet http://www.alaskastatefair.org.
At Railfest, Aug. 23 to 27 in Durango, railroad enthusiasts and history buffs will gather to view and ride narrow-gauge trains, including the Rio Grande Southern Galloping Geese (a 1930s combination locomotive and bus); the Eureka & Palisades No. 4, an 1875 wood burner; and the Presidential Special. Contact the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, 479 Main St., Durango, CO 81301; tel. (970) 247-2733, http://www.durangotrain.com.
The 6th annual Made in Hawaii Festival, running Aug. 17 to 19 at the Neal Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, will have more than 400 exhibitors, grouped by island. Contact Made in Hawaii Festival, 677 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 815, Honolulu, HI 96813; tel. (808) 533-1292, http://www.madeinhawaiifestival.com.
The Pony Express era is celebrated at the Pony Express Festival Aug. 26 at Hollenberg Station State Historic Site, near Hanover. This is the only unaltered express station standing on its original site. Riders will reenact the lightning-fast mail pouch exchange. This year, the "Buffalo Soldiers" also will be on hand with a historic exhibition. Contact the Hollenberg Station State Historic Site, 2889 23rd Road, Hanover, KS 66945; tel. (785) 337-2635, http://www.kshs.org.
Sure, bats fly into Carlsbad Caverns every morning. But when the bat population is at its peak--as many as a half-million--the National Park Service throws a party. The Bat Fly Breakfast on Aug. 9 begins at 5 a.m. Visitors line up an hour earlier in the parking lot near the cave entrance for the best view of the bats converging to enter the cave for the day. After breakfast, guests sit in the dark in the amphitheater to listen to the creatures' eerie sounds. No reservations are needed, but the first 75 people in line will get a special lantern light-only tour of the caves. For more information, contact Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 3225 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad, NM 88220; tel. (505) 785-2232, http://www.nps.gov/cave.
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