Nevada offers much more than just slot machines and saloons for the traveller. Here are a few of the more unique things to do in the “Silver State.”
Great Reno Balloon Race
In September each year, the skies of Reno fill with up to 100 hot air balloons in what is billed as the world’s largest free hot air balloon event. Now entering it’s 35th year, the race in the city that’s dubbed the “Best Little City in the World” features hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes, a Super Glow event with glow-in-the-dark balloons that are able to fly in the dark, and even tethered balloon rides for the kids. Get there early to stake out a prime spot, and since it’s a free event — parking can be a pain.
After being held in Reno for several years, the Rockabilly Riot moves to Carson City in 2016. Touted as a celebration of all things rockabilly, visitors can participate in events such as Burlesque shows, drag races, tattoo shows (and live tattooing) and of course listen to a selection of rockabilly bands nightly. Although Carson City only has about a quarter of the population of Reno (and a quarter of the casinos), Rockabilly types come for the atmosphere not the crowds, and those looking to gamble can always get their fix in online casino sites like Betway.
International Camel & Ostrich Races
This event stems from an article by good old Mark Twain. He worked for a Virginia City, Nevada newspaper in the 1950s and published a farce article about camel races in town. The folks at the San Francisco Chronicle, apparently believing it to be real, showed up with camels and a tradition was born. The race has extended to include ostriches and zebras as well as camels, and the festivities include lots of food and vendor stalls. The races start at high noon, and end each day with the “Camel Hump to C Street” — where some camels can be spotted hoofing it to local taverns.
Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair
Held over the Labor Day weekend each September, this festival not only celebrates the lowly cantaloupe and the agricultural history of the region, it’s also got just about something for everyone. Mud volleyball, tractor shows, Civil War re-enactments, and of course the signature drink — cantaloupe daiquiris — are all part of the festival’s four-day program.
World Championship Outhouse Races
I have to admit, I first thought this was a joke when I first heard about it. But it’s real, and it stems from an actual event in the city’s history. Upset over a new city ordinance that outlawed outdoor toilets, residents of the town took to the streets with their outhouses — marching them all the way to city hall in protest. Since then, it’s become an annual event with decorated outhouses on wheels replacing traditional commodes. It’s free for the public to attend.