7 Reno/Tahoe special events this summer
Looking for something to do locally this summer? Check out this list for foodies, festival-goers and more. Sarah Litz/RGJ
Let’s be real: Summertime in Northern Nevada can be brutal, with temps often rising to triple digits. Luckily, summertime in Northern Nevada is also a straight-up blast, with concerts, festivals, sporting events and something for just about everyone, including the young and the young-at-heart.
We rounded up several of our favorite Reno-area events that scream summertime, and the living’s easy.
Every Friday night through Sept. 29, more than 30 gourmet food, dessert, beer, wine and mixed drink vendors park their rigs at Idlewild Park to serve the masses. The popular annual event attracts more than 2,000 people every Friday night who spread out blankets, share picnic tables, mingle and listen to live (and free!) entertainment. Parking is also free, and there’s a playground and miniature train open for riding. For updates, click here.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Tour de Nez, which features events for riders ranging from youth and beginner to professional, with a “clunker” race thrown in for good measure. It also hosts one of the biggest hand-cycle fields in the country, and champs have gone on to capture national age group and category championships. The tour also partners with restaurants, cafes and vendors in the Midtown and Riverwalk districts, and brings in food trucks and outdoor bands to the course, which starts at the corner of California Avenue and Hill Street. Races are free to watch and race entry fees are low.
Described as equal parts barbecue block party, microbrew tasting event and music festival, the 22nd annual Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival will once again return to downtown Reno. Festival food favorites like St. Louis-style ribs, beef brisket and whole-hog pulled pork will be joined by several new summery dishes, like BBQ bacon-wrapped hot dogs with jalapeño corn relish, carne asada and carnitas street tacos. More than 50 microbreweries will be there to help you wash it all down, including several local breweries. The free music stages will be bumping throughout the festival, featuring headliners Tonic and Five for Fighting.
Here’s the thing about the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival: You don’t even have to like The Bard to have a great time. For real. With the stage set at Sand Harbor State Park, there’s plenty to marvel at, especially as the sun begins to dip into the lake. Pack a picnic or try the food available at Shakespeare’s Kitchen, where you can nosh on a plate of charcuterie or tuck into a blue cheese burger. The main gate opens nightly at 5:30, so theater-goers can pre-game before the players take the stage. This year’s festival features Shakespeare’s "Love’s Labour’s Lost" and "The Hound of the Baskervilles," a Sherlock Holmes whodunit. Also not to be missed: Hourlong free performances of "Love’s Labour’s Lost" designed just for families through the D.G. Menchetti Young Shakespeare Program.
Whether classic cars are trip down memory lane or a new adventure, this signature Reno event attracts people from near and far who gather to marvel at these shined-up beauties. With entertainment, show n’ shines and straight-up cruises through downtown, it’s easy to catch at least one or several of the events around town. The Virginia City events will kick things off Aug. 4-5, then the festival heads to Reno Aug. 8-13. New this year: Organizers are introducing the Hot August Nights Vintage Trailer Revival at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, which will become a trailer park for the week where 150 lucky people get to camp in their vintage trailers circa 1976 or older.
Slide the City will again return to Lake Tahoe on Aug. 27. Slide the City is a family friendly slip-and-slide water party event. There will be live music, food, drinks, water, and of course, slide. The mega slip-and-slide is only for riders 5 and older and taller than 46 inches. Come prepared with a swimsuit, shoes, sunscreen and cash.
Put on your stretchy pants because the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off is returning to Victorian Square in Sparks to serve up more than 240,000 pounds of ribs to hundreds of thousands of hungry carnivores. Two dozen barbecue competitors will vie for the Best in the West title and a piece of the $14,500 prize purse. In addition to the down-and-dirty business of eating smothered ribs, there’s a kids’ area with rides and activities, a crafter’s fair and a specialty beer garden with beers hand-plucked to pair with barbecue.