The Truckee River is flowing at normal levels thanks to a wet winter, and just in time as the Reno River Festival returns downtown Reno hosting the 2016 U.S. National Whitewater Freestyle Championships. The event drew about 35,000 people last year, even though there was no kayaking because of the low water flow of the Truckee River.
The festival will bring top kayakers from around the country to the Truckee River Whitewater Park. There also will be live music playing throughout the festival’s two days, featuring nearly a dozen bands that span the genres of country, reggae, rock, pop and soulful blues.
Organizers said the festival has evolved from an exclusively kayaking event to something more and will work to improve the festival moving forward.
“A goal of ours is to really expand the Reno River Festival into a true outdoor summer kickoff event,” said Jess Horning of Liquid Blue Events, the organizer of the festival. “We want to shift a focus of the event into an all-inclusive outdoor festival, and we want to introduce a new event every year.”
Horning said if there’s a place to be this weekend, it’s downtown Reno. There will be the Reno River Festival, Reno Sculpture Fest under the Reno Arch and Night in the Country Battle for the Full Moon Saloon at the Sands, all happening within walking distance.
Here’s the lowdown on the Reno River Festival, which runs May 7-8.
The Adventure Park
The park will feature rides and obstacles including a zipline, rock climbing walls, a giant river slide and a human hamster ball course.
The Reno River Roll
This inaugural event will celebrate all things bicycles. This casual 7-mile costumed slow ride will kick off at the brand-new Virginia Street bridge, tour along the river and finish in the heart of the Reno River Festival.
Participants can bring anything that is ridable, has two wheels and is not motorized. Tour the streets of Reno on your best ride while trailing a live mobile band (the Island of Black and White), the Coors Light Girls Racing Team, Dolan Automotive, Tour De Nez, the Reno Police Department Bike Squad and more.
There will be a costume contest on the main stage of the festival after the ride. Prizes include a Coors Light bicycle, cash and a dinner for two with a suite at the Circus Circus.
All pre-event registrations will receive a River Roll knapsack stuffed with goodies, a Reno River Roll water bottle as well as a beer, water or soda after the roll.
Adult registration costs $30 per person, children (ages 7-12) cost $20 and children 6 and younger are free, but must be secured in bike seat or bike trailer.
The Craft Beer Village
At the Craft Beer Village, a $25 pre-purchase ticket will allow participants to sample more than a couple of dozen different craft beers. All ticket sales include a Reno River Festival commemorative cup.
A few of the food vendors at the festival will be Koko's Teriyaki, Big Daddy BBQ, Super Swirl, Cantina Los Tres hombres and Fat Burger.
There will be a collection of more than 100 different shops that sell everything from handmade crafts to popular retail items.