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For the 34th year, the Eldorado is bringing the sights, sounds and flavors of Italy to downtown Reno during the Eldorado Great Italian Festival. The festival, held each year during Columbus Day weekend, is a celebration of Italian culture and traditions. A wine and food event called Vintage Eldorado and the annual Paesano Open Putt for Pets charity golf tournament give guests a chance to celebrate the Italian Festival all week long.

Food, wine pairing event Vintage Eldorado

The Eldorado Resort Casino and Southern Wine & Spirits is presenting Vintage Eldorado, an Italian wine and food pairing event, set for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Eldorado Convention Center. Guests must be adults 21 or older. Attendees will be treated to Italian food stations, domestic and imported Italian wines, Italian beer and spirits, and silent auction benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. Tickets cost $65 per person in advance and $75 per person at the door.

Putt for pets in charity golf tournament

Kick off this year's Eldorado Great Italian Festival with the Paesano Open Putt for Pets charity golf tournament on Oct. 9 to benefit the Nevada Humane Society at Wolf Run Golf Club. Lunch and registration begins at 11 a.m. with a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. The format is four-person scramble. Entry fees are as follows: $850 foursome and sponsorship; $200 individual or $250 hole sponsorship.

Italian Festival highlights

Running from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 10 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11, the Eldorado Great Italian Festival transforms downtown Reno into Little Italy with a grape stomp, sauce cookers competition, wine walk, an Italian farmers market, children's gelato-eating contest, Italian Buffet and incredible free, live entertainment all weekend long.

The music lineup includes festival favorites such as Ray Massa's Eurorhythms, Moreno Fruzzetti, Primo Basso and direct from Italy Capuano n'T Rock. Joining the festival this year are the cast from "Saltoriya" performing acts from the show and Aaron Caruso.

A crowd favorite year after year continues to be the Great Italian Festival Sauce Cook-off. Italian families from across the West Coast bring their recipes to life right on the street for guests to taste. Pasta tasting bowls will be sold for $3 at the pasta booth on the corner of Fourth and Virginia streets from noon to 4 p.m. both days.

No Italian Festival would be complete without plenty of homemade Italian food! This year guests can enjoy an extended Italian menu in The Buffet starting on Monday, Oct. 5 through Thursday, Oct. 8 with a special Italian Seafood Feast on Friday, Oct 9. The Eldorado's famous Italian dinner buffet will also be served in the Eldorado Convention Center at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10 and in The Buffet on Saturday, Oct. 10 and Sunday, Oct. 11. Guests can enjoy an array of Italian specialties including antipasti, housemade pasta dishes, frutti di mare (pasta pescatore), steak Pizzaiola, chicken Marsala, fritto misto and many others as well as an assortment of homemade Italian salads and desserts, including the Eldorado's famous gelato, cannoli and tiramisu!

There are plenty of offerings street side as well — traditional Italian fare including housemade pastas, deep-fried ravioli, sausage sandwiches, garlic bread, New York steak flatbread, chicken parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs and more.

Other festival highlights include:

- Grape stomping is fun, free and open to the public Saturday starting at 11 a.m. Members of the media, politicians and local celebrities stomp Sunday starting at 11 a.m. The grape stomping stage is located on the train trench plaza on the south side of the Eldorado.

- A wine walk featuring delicious Italian and California wines will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for $30 in advance or $40 day of.

- An Italian Farmers Market with fresh fruits and vegetables will run all day Saturday and Sunday.

- The Eldorado's Famous Italian Dinner Buffet will be served in the Eldorado Convention Center at 4 p.m. on Saturday and in The Buffet Saturday and Sunday for $27.99 for adults and $14.99 for children 10 and younger.

- A children's gelato eating contest will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday at the grape stomp stage.

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