The temperatures may be dropping in September, but event season heats up with some of Reno's favorite festivals. Here's an overview of what to attend
One of the largest food festivals in the country, the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off brings together barbecue stars from coast to coast and around the globe for a sizzling six-day competition in downtown Sparks, right next to Reno. More than 20 top competition barbecue teams will be serving up their signature slabs in hopes of taking home the top title — and guests get the chance to sample all the sweet and savory offerings. According to the event's organizers, more than 240,000 pounds of ribs are expected to be served up to around 500,000 people throughout the upcoming 27th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. The event begins Wednesday, Sept. 2, and runs through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7. Details: 800-648-1177 or www.nuggetribcookoff.com.
Scores of bright hot-air balloons fill the horizon when the Great Reno Balloon Race floats into town Friday, Sept. 11, through Sunday, Sept. 13. Guests can watch as these whimsical contraptions launch from Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno all three mornings, starting at 6:45 a.m. Roll out of bed a bit earlier for the Glow Show at 5:15 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, along with Dawn Patrol at 5:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Don't worry about getting ready before you go — a bed-head competition and pajama party are part of the fun from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Billed as the world's largest free hot-air balloon event, the Great Reno Balloon Race also features vendors along Balloon Boulevard from 4:30 to 10 a.m. each day. Details: 775-826-1181 or www.renoballoon.com.
Zooming through the sky at speeds that exceed 500 miles per hour, six classes of aircraft put on an unforgettable high-altitude show during the National Championship Air Races, set to take place Wednesday, Sept. 16, through Sunday, Sept. 20, at Reno-Stead Field, which is about eight miles north of Reno. The races begin around 8 a.m. each day with smaller and lighter classes of aircraft, followed by races among the remaining four classes. Once these initial feats of speed are complete, aerobatic performances and demonstrations take to the air, with unlimited class races happening in the afternoon before the event closes at 4:30 p.m. each day. Ticket prices vary depending on which day and how many days you choose to attend, and discounts are available for children, seniors and members of the military. Details: 775-972-6663 or www.airrace.org.
A roaring sea of motorcycles, sparkling with chrome and custom paint, floods Northern Nevada for the annual Street Vibrations Fall Rally, Wednesday, Sept. 23, through Sunday, Sept. 27. According to the event's organizers, this is the fourth-largest motorcycle festival in the nation, drawing more than 50,000 people to three different venues — historic Virginia City, downtown Reno and Chester's Reno Harley-Davidson. Street Vibrations Fall Rally has been celebrating motorcycle culture for more than two decades, with an emphasis on live music, stunt shows and gear vendors, as well as a healthy dose of appreciation for the people who build these beautiful bikes. One of the biggest ongoing attractions at Street Vibrations is America's Finest Custom Bike Builders Expo — an indoor museum of motorcycles. Details: 775-329-7469 or www.roadshowsreno.com.