Thursday 8.16 Red Butte Garden has forgotten to post one sign on its grounds: “Prepare to leave the gardens with a ‘greenthumb’ inferiority complex.” But, just because experienced gardeners might not achieve a fraction of Red Butte’s beauty, they can still delight in the garden’s aromas at the SCENT-SATIONAL GARDEN WALK. The guided walk, which is free with regular garden admission, begins in the Four Seasons Courtyard. Scent-Sational Garden Walk @ Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, University of Utah, 581-IRIS, 7-8:30 p.m. RedButteGarden.org
Friday 8.17 It’s the third Friday of the month, which means only one thing for the Salt Lake City crowd: Time to gallery stroll. And as such hip citizens, you take Gallery Stroll virgins to the best galleries—and, of course, to galleries offering the best appetizers. But even the hipsters might not know that a new gallery, Saans Downtown, makes its debut tonight, featuring fashion photography in BEAUTY AND DECAY by CAPREE KIMBALL. It just may be the hottest spot of all. Now just pretend like you knew about this all along. Beauty and Decay: Photographs by Capree Kimball @ Saans Downtown, 173 E. 300 South, 328-8827, Aug. 17-Sept. 16, Reception: tonight, 6-10 p.m.
• Once a year, otherwise sane individuals lose their minds and compete in the XTERRA MOUNTAIN CHAMPIONSHIP. People from around the world participate in a 1.5K swim, 30K mountain bike and 10K trail run race—and you can see it all. Catch the opening festivities in downtown Ogden on Friday while the Mountain Championship and the (shorter) Sport Start race begin on Saturday at Pineview Reservoir. After the races, it’s back to Ogden for the awards celebration—where you can sit in the Pacifico beer garden and count your lucky stars that you only had to drive to get there. XTERRA Mountain Championship @ Amphitheater Park, downtown Ogden, Friday, Aug. 17, noon-8 p.m.; Snowbasin Resort, 3925 E. Snowbasin Road, Huntsville, Saturday, Aug. 18, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; downtown Ogden, 6-9 p.m., 877-751-8880, XterraPlanet.com
Saturday 8.18 Some friends’ ambitious summer plans of backpacking through Europe and seeing the Seven Wonders of the World actually come to fruition—and for that, we hate them. But late-summer cultural fairs like FERRAGOSTO can at least offer the illusion that there’s still time to travel far, far away. Put a vowel on the end of your surname today and take off to 300 South and 400 West for the fifth annual Italian Street Fair. Enjoy the Italian car & motor scooter show, bocce tournament and the spaghetti cook-off; the free Italian film festival takes place at the Homewood Suites by Hilton down the street. Ferragosto @ 300 South & 400 West, 979-1997, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Italian Film Festival @ Homewood Suites, 423 W. 300 South, noon-8 p.m. ItalianInUtah.com/Ferragosto.
• But perhaps a last-minute trip to the Middle East sounds more enticing. Each year, the UTAH BELLY DANCE FESTIVAL brings in belly dancers from around the world, showcasing their own style and flair to the ancient art form. The 27th annual festival, presented by Kismet Dance Company, features a variety of Middle Eastern food and clinics on topics ranging from finger cymbals to costuming. Your weekend passport is filling up by the moment. Utah Belly Dance Festival @ Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 W. 3100 South, West Valley City, 486-7781 Aug. 17-18, noon-10 p.m. KismetDance.com
Sunday 8.19 Last week, Sandy launched its inaugural balloon festival. But it was only the prelude to the OGDEN VALLEY BALLOON FESTIVAL, the largest of its kind in Utah. By “largest,” we mean the festival features 32 hot-air balloons, all competing in aeronautical challenges. Between the XTERRA Mountain Championship and this event, Huntsville pretty much has land, water and air covered. Ogden Valley Balloon Festival @ Festival Field, 3201 North Wolf Drive, Eden & Huntsville Park, Huntsville, Aug. 17-19. OgdenValleyBalloonFestival.com
Monday 8.20 Red rover, red rover, send … OK, maybe the title of DEIRDRE MCNAMER’s latest book has little to do with the schoolyard game, but it’s worth sending yourself over to The King’s English. In her fourth novel, McNamer (My Russian) explores the lives of one family set in the World War II era whose lives drastically change because of a past the family cannot escape. Maybe there is more going on in the title after all. Deirdre McNamer @ The King’s English, 1511 S. 1500 East, 7 p.m., 484-9100
Tuesday 8.21 While the I-hate-bugs-altogether-thank-you-very-much individual doesn’t care about the differences between good and bad bugs, garden enthusiasts do. The pros at Wasatch Community Gardens are presenting a workshop on BUG ID AND PEST MANAGEMENT today. Learn about what ladybugs and lacewings can do to help your garden and learn about how to rid your garden of pests like flea beetles. Attend the event at Red Butte Gardens (see Thursday) for additional inspiration. Bug ID and pest management @ Grateful Tomato Garden, 600 E. 800 South, 359-2658, 6-8 p.m.