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We had our first snowstorm of the season this week, although Tahoe got more than most in Reno, who just got a dusting of the white stuff. But still, the arrival of snow means snow sports and soon, the holidays. Reno/Tahoe is a great fall/winter vacation destination. LA travelers can leave their flip-flops at home -- same with San Franciscans and their slickers -- and head to Reno for blue skies and brisk weather, as well as some awesome events happening this weekend.

Here are a few ideas:

Offbeat Arts & Music Festival

The inaugural Offbeat Arts & Music Festival runs through Sunday at various venues in Reno, featuring more than 80 bands. It's a celebration of local music and art and the organizers intent to add a culinary aspect eventually as well -- which, for someone who loves to eat, is fine by me. Offbeat was modeled after the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, the live music capital of the world. Music performance times vary, but Saturday, the longest day of the event, features a full day of events scheduled to start at 1 p.m. with the Whiskey Heroes and continues into Sunday with FM Marc starting to spin at 3 a.m.

Click here for details.

Taste of Home Cooking School

I love to cook, so I'll head over to the Taste of Home Cooking School on Saturday at the Nugget Casino Resort for cooking demonstrations by culinary professionals and expert cooking technique demos. The day starts with a free Taste of Home Expo, held in the Nugget Ballroom foyer from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. before the cooking begins. The expo will feature samples, discount opportunities, culinary information and locally produced goods and services. After the expo, join “Taste of Home” culinary specialist Renee Morgan for the “Taste of Home Cooking School Show” from 2 to 4 p.m. For tickets or information, click here.

Fantasies in Chocolate

Fantasies is my favorite dress-up event of the season -- it's always fun to dress in a long gown, get your hair fixed up and head to the Grand Sierra Resort for a fantastic evening filled with chocolate and sparkling wine, among other delights, like dark chocolate cupcakes with mocha buttercream. Twenty local restaurants, bars and specialty food shops will create chocolate confections and savory creations. I got to judge the desserts at this event one year, and that was really fun. The VIP table experience is the way to go because it means you get to sit with friends at your own table. It also includes dinner presented by the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino’s top chefs and flowing champagne and wine. Dinner is important when you're drinking all night -- trust me. Doors open for VIP guests at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. General admission starts at 7:30 p.m.

Call 775-788-6556 to purchase a table get general-admission tickets here.

Offbeat brings 80 bands to Reno
Sip, nibble at Fantasies in Chocolate
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