Food, comedy, concerts kick off Labor Day weekend

Nugget Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off
Nugget Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off

Labor Day weekend finds special events everywhere, this year with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

The Sparks Nugget has undergone a couple of ownership changes since its longtime history with the John Ascuaga family, but one thing has remained consistent, and that’s the annual Best in the West Rib Cook-Off, the 29th edition of which is underway through Monday. It is estimated that over 240,000 pounds of ribs will be provided by the 22 nationwide competing cookers.

Along with the food, the children’s area and beer garden, the main stage provides some top entertainment nightly with Friday’s Love & Theft (“Whiskey on My Breath”); Saturday’s Gin Blossoms (“Hey Jealousy”); and Sunday’s country night with Eric Paslay (“She Don’t Love You”), all at 7 p.m. The cook-off continues into Monday afternoon, in part to attract Burning Man participants who will blow in on a dust cloud from the last day of that festival. They’ll have a chance to catch A Flock of Seagulls (“I Ran”) at 3 p.m.

Parking is always tight, so think about taking advantage of the shuttle services from Sparks’ Iron Horse Shopping Center (535 East Prater Way) and the Reno-Sparks Convention Center on South Virginia and Peckham Way in Reno. Information: nuggetribcookoff.com.

Meanwhile, Thunder Valley bows out of summer in a big way with three major concerts, commencing Friday night with the brass blast of the legendary Chicago (7:30 p.m.; $44.95-$179.95; thundervalleyresort.com).

On Saturday, comedian Sinbad will host “Funk Fest ’17” with Con Funk Shun (“Love’s Train”), Zapp (“Computer Love”) and Shalamar (“A Night to Remember”) (5:30 p.m.; $$45.95-$159.95).

Sunday’s concert is even bigger when Deborah Foreman (“Valley Girl”) hosts a torrent of ’80s artists for “Rewind Fest.” A favorite is sure to be found among Tony Hadley who was with Spandau Ballet (“True”), Missing Persons (“Surrender Your Heart”), Wang Chung (“Everybody Have Fun Tonight”), Cutting Crew (“Died in Your Arms”), Berlin (“Take My Breath Away”), Naked Eyes (“Always Something There to Remind Me”), Pretty Poison (“Catch Me I’m Falling”) and The Flirts (“Helpless”) (6 p.m.; $39.95-$139.95).

The nostalgia continues at Jackson Rancheria where The Temptations Revue is scheduled for Saturday. This is the one headed by Paul Williams Jr., son of Paul Williams Sr., one of the founders of the Motown sensation. (7 p.m.; $30; jacksoncasino.com)

And it’s difficult to get bigger than Reno’s Grand Sierra lineup this weekend – Smokey Robinson Friday night (8 p.m.; $64-$250; grandsierraresort.com), and Steve Winwood on Sunday (8 p.m.; $41-$191).

Finally, country singer Eric Church closes out the Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series for 2017 Saturday and Sunday at Harveys (7:30 p.m.; $69.50-$129.50; Ticketmaster or apeconcerts.com).