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Eldorado Great Italian Festival

Downtown Reno Becomes Little Italy

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Vendors at the Eldorado Great Italian Festival in Reno, Nevada, NV

Vendors at the Eldorado Great Italian Festival in Reno, Nevada.

Photo © Stan White

About the Eldorado Great Italian Festival

The 2013 Eldorado Great Italian Festival will be on Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6. Join the festivities in downtown Reno on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Eldorado Great Italian Festival is a fun, family friendly affair. Just strolling Virginia Street during the festival is entertaining, with street performers, free music from two stages, and good food and drink readily available. People really get into the Italian spirit for this festival, giving it a boisterous yet friendly atmosphere. At past festivals, I've found that folks just like being there to enjoy themselves and have a great time.

Eldorado Great Italian Festival Activities

2013 is the 32nd Annual Eldorado Great Italian Festival. Here are some of the activities you can enjoy. If you really get into it, you can become a participant and play bocce ball, stomp grapes, and let the kids get involved in activities designed just for them...

  • Free musical entertainment on two stages.
  • Play Bocce Ball - Players tournament sign ups are on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., with a $10 sign up fee. Free beginner and family play starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday. You can enter a team and sign up online.
  • Grape Stomping Ccontest - Sign up on Saturday after 10 a.m. for an available stomp time. Sunday stomping times will be reserved for media members, politicians, Italians, and police and fire departments.
  • Sauce Cook Off Pasta Bowls - For sampling the sauces and voting (ballots given with each pasta bowl purchase).
  • Italian Farmers Market - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Arts and crafts exhibits, souvenirs and food booths.
  • Eldorado's Famous Italian Dinner Buffet - Served in the Eldorado Convention Center starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The cost is $26.99 for adults, $13.99 for children. The Eldorado Buffet will have an Italian menu on both Saturday and Sunday.
  • Kids' Gelato Eating Contest - At 3 p.m. on Sunday only. For ages 3 to 11.
  • Ferrari Club of America - 20 cars on display all weekend.
  • Wine Walk - Unlimited tastings from 10 wineries, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Wristbands are $20 per person per day. The wineries will be set up in front of the Grape Stomp State on the Train Trench Plaza.
  • Garlic Growers of Gilroy & Artichoke Growers of Castroville

Entertainment at the Eldorado Great Italian Festival

Lively music is a big part of the Eldorado Great Italian Festival. Two outdoor stages provide a steady stream of tunes from a variety of bands, singers, and Eldorado Hotel Casino show performers. It's free to enjoy the stage entertainment - just show up and swing to the Italian music. The Rome Stage is located at 4th and Virginia Steets, and the Venice Stage is located at 3rd and Virginia Streets.

Eldorado Great Italian Festival Street Closures

The Eldorado Great Italian Festival results in numerous street closures in downtown Reno. To save yourself some time and hassle, refer to the downtown Reno road closures and restrictions map before driving to the city center during the festival. This map is also good for showing traffic restrictions during other special events held in downtown Reno.

More Italian Festivals in the United States

While Reno's Great Italian Festival is among the nation's largest and most famous, it is far from the only one. The About.com guide to Italy Travel has compiled a good list of "Italian Festivals in the United States" for your enjoyment should you be in any of these areas at the right time.

Sources: Eldorado Hotel Casino, Reno Tahoe USA.

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