Reno’s and Sparks’ event calendar is full of popular and nationally known celebrations, including Hot August Nights and the Nugget Rib Cook-Off, but none stirs up controversy like the annual Street Vibrations, underway this weekend.
It’s the fourth largest motorcycle event in the country, and two-wheel activity is everywhere. While classic-car attendees at Hot August Nights aren’t big on adding miles to odometers – preferring instead to display their vehicles while sitting in lawn chairs and chatting about them – bikers are famous for exploring side streets, riding to Virginia City and Lake Tahoe, and generally being on the road.
Through Sunday, the plazas and main streets of Reno, Sparks and Virginia City will be full of vendors (chaps, helmets, artwork, boots, chrome). There will be ride-in competitions, poker runs, slow bike races and scavenger hunts.
Special guest stars this year are Paul Teutul Sr. of the Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper” and Danny Koker of History Channel’s “Counting Cars.” They will be available for autographs at multiple venues, and Koker will perform with his band Count’s 77 at 6 p.m. tonight on the Eldorado’s outdoor Jagermeister Stage.
Also on tap: America’s Finest Custom Bike Builders’ Expo in the Reno Ballroom, which will also host the Bike Corral where registered participants can sell their motorcycles; Huey Lewis and the News tonight at the Silver Legacy (8 pm.; $77.75; silverlegacy.com); Slaughter at Boomtown Saturday (6:30 p.m.; $21.60, $37.20; 68.08; boomtowncasino.com); a go-go bar on South Virginia (guaranteed to be suitable for passing-by families); and a tattoo expo. More info: roadshowsreno.com
• Advance reservations are essential for Northern Nevada’s most popular train ride, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad’s “Polar Express,” a traditional sell-out ride from the Carson City depot to “the North Pole.” (5, 6:30, and 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; Nov. 21 to Dec. 22. VIP tickets are $68 children, $78 adults; coach is $32 children, $42 adults;vtrailway.com
• Diana Ross is still quite a draw – a powerful singer and a gracious presence. She’s set to take Thunder Valley’s stage Saturday night (8 p.m.; $47.75, $57.75, $73.75, $87.75, $99.75;