For the past 33 years, the Eldorado Great Italian Festival has been serving up family friendly fun, and this year looks to be no exception. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 10 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11, the festival will transform downtown Reno into a glimpse of old Italy with a grape stomp, children’s gelato-eating contest, Italian farmers market, an Italian buffet and free, live entertainment all weekend long.

“The Eldorado Great Italian Festival is the perfect event for the entire family,” said Gene Carano, vice president and general manager of the Eldorado. “From 8 to 80, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether it’s the traditional entertainment, delicious food, sauce tasting or grape stomping you’re coming for, you won’t find a better way to celebrate the heritage of Italy.”

So gather your famiglia, put on your roomiest pasta-eating pants and head downtown for this annual celebration of all things Italian. Here’s a handy list of festival highlights to ensure you don’t miss a single meatball.

* Local celebrities, politicians and members of the media will be rolling up their pants to stomp grapes Oct. 10 and 11 starting at 11 a.m. on the train trench plaza on the south side of the Eldorado. Members of the media, politicians and local celebrities stomp Sunday starting at 11 a.m. The event is fun, free and open to the public.

* An annual crowd favorite continues to be the Great Italian Festival Sauce Cook-off. Italian families from across the West Coast bring their authentic family recipes to share. 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. Rumor has it they go fast.

* 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. 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. Sunday at the grape stomp stage.

For Italian Festival information, call 775-786-5700 or visit

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