Summer brings the festivals, and there’s hardly a U.S. community without one. Proportionally, Reno-Tahoe has always hosted more than its share, several of which are major national and even international draws. Herewith, a summer preview:
Reno Rodeo: Although Reno has never been called a cowtown like Cheyenne or Calgary, this event has become a major stop, tagged “The Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West.” If that logo is somewhat inflated, it’s at least in keeping with “The Biggest Little City in the World.” Both monikers have served their purposes well with the rodeo drawing an annual average of 140,000 people and boasting a cattle drive, all the top riders and livestock, and a carnival. It takes place June 18-27 at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Center. Tickets are $12-$25. (RenoRodeo.com)
The Fifth Annual Reno Rockabilly Riot: This June 25-28 event moves to downtown and promises to be bigger this year with more music (20 bands and DJs in six venues), more drag racing and cars, including muscle cars as well as hot rods built at home and even a burlesque show or two. (renorockabilityriot.com)
Artwork: Reno takes the entire month of July to celebrate all performance and static art with more than 500 events, exhibits and workshops. Shows by some major names – Betty Buckley (July 9), Home Free (July 16), Clint Black (July 23), and Mary Chapin Carpenter (July 30) – have admission charges, but most performances are free like the World Music Series,which includes the mariachi favorite Reyna de Los Angeles. (renoisartown.com)
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Biggest Little City Wing Fest: During Artown and over the Independence Day celebration, more than 30 cooks spice up the downtown’s Virginia Street while country music entertains the crowds. Sponsored by the Silver Legacy, it purports to serve 20,000 pounds of chicken wings each year (800-687-8733).
Hot August Nights: The entire city of Reno, much of Carson City, and even Virginia City become giant showcases of classic automobiles in “America’s Celebration of Cars and Rock ’n’ Roll,” even if the rock is a bit stone age this year with Herman’s Hermits, Sonny Turner, and Blood, Sweat & Tears, among others. Free concerts, show ’n’ shines, car swaps and auctions everyplace. Aug. 4-9. (hotaugustnights.net)
The 27th Annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off: Hordes of visitors close out the summer as they wander Victorian Avenue in Sparks to taste the ribs of vendors from around the world Labor Day weekend. The new ownership of what used to be John Ascuaga’s Nugget (now the JA Nugget) have vowed to keep this event going, including the impressive free entertainment to be announced. Sept. 2-7. (nuggetribcookoff.com)