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Reno River Festival

Kayaks, Stand-Up Paddleboards and More in Downtown Reno

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Whitewater kayaking competition at the Reno River Festival, Reno, Nevada.

Whitewater kayaking competition at the Reno River Festival.

Photo © Stan White
Crowds by the Truckee River enjoying the Reno River Festival, Reno, Nevada.

Crowds by the Truckee River enjoying the Reno River Festival.

Photo © Stan White
Whitney Myer Band performing during the Reno River Festival, Reno, Nevada.

Whitney Myer Band performing during the Reno River Festival.

Photo © Stan White

The Reno River Festival is one of the first big events of the season in Reno and it's free to attend. The 2014 event will be the 11th Annual Reno River Festival. Dates are Saturday and Sunday, May 10 and 11. See some of what goes on at my Reno River Festival photo gallery.

The Reno River Festival brings land-based activities to town to complement the white water competitions at the Truckee River Whitewater Park. As always, there will be a large number of vendors offering a variety of goods and services, including food, drink, clothing, and the latest in outdoor products. Several bands will be performing at the Wingfield Park Amphitheater. Throughout downtown Reno, bars, nightclubs, and casinos will all be offering refreshments and hospitality to Reno River Festival revelers.

The 2014 Reno River Festival

After holding the Reno River Festival in June a couple of years ago, event organizers have made May the month for the event. This was the traditional time for many years and it has proven best for water flows in the Truckee River and for scheduling appearances by top whitewater kayaking competitors.

The popular kayaking events that started it all will be there (freestyle, slalom, and boatercross), along with stand-up paddleboarding. Other events from years past are history, for now at least. I've heard that the possibility of some or all of these returning in the future is being kept open.

Reno River Festival Events Schedule

Here is a schedule summary, but to get more details about what's happening and when, refer to the online 2014 Reno River Festival Schedule of Events. The whitewater kayaking and paddleboarding competitions take place both days, with the schedule for these online as well. While the scheduled activities are going on, numerous vendors will be open throughout Wingfield Park with food, drink, outdoor products and services, and lots of good information for your outdoor adventures.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

  • Yoga in the Park with The Studio – 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Cabela's Free Clinics: Kayak Fishing Tips – 12 noon
  • Music in the Park: Cole - 12 noon to 1 p.m.
  • Cabela's Free Clinics: River Wading and Fly Fishing Tips - 1 p.m.
  • Music in the Park: Wayland - 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Cabela's Free Clinics: Canoe Camping Tips and Trip Ideas - 2 p.m.
  • Music in the Park: Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit - 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Freestyle Finals – 4:45 p.m.
  • Music in the Park: Old Dominion - 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Freestyle Awards - 7 p.m.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

  • Yoga in the Park with The Studio – 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Stand-up Paddleboard Competition - begins at 10 a.m.
  • Music in the Park: Willy Tea Taylor – 11 a.m. to 12 noon
  • Cabela's Free Clinics: Kayak Fishing Tips – 12 noon
  • Music in the Park: The Kanes – 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Cabela's Free Clinics: River Wading and Fly Fishing Tips – 1 p.m.
  • Cabela's Free Clinics: Canoe Camping Tips and Trip Ideas - 2 p.m.
  • Music in the Park: Mark Sexton Band – 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Music in the Park: Keyser Soze – 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Awards for Stand-Up Paddleboard, Slalom, and Boatercross – 6 p.m.

Musical entertainment on the Wingfield Park Amphitheater stage includes several bands over two days, including local favorites Mark Sexton and Keyser Soze. All concerts are free.

Reno River Festival Events

Whitewater Kayaking Competitions - These are the classic Reno River Festival events and where it all began. Both pro and amateur kayakers will compete for prizes and glory in the Truckee River rapids. You'll see the paddles and water fly in freestyle, slalom, and boatercross competitions. Check the schedule for the times of each event.

Freestyle is open to all paddlers in three divisions - men, women, and junior. Slalom has men's and women's divisions, with paddlers navigating through gates on a course in the Truckee River's south channel. Boatercross, with mens and womens divisions, involves heats of four paddlers at a time trying to be the first across the finish line. Winners of each heat advance to the final round, where the overall winner will be determined

Stand-Up Paddleboard Slalom - In stand-up paddleboard, racers shoot down the Truckee River in timed runs and must complete a series of moves along the way. Picture standing on a surfboard-like platform and maneuvering through the rapids with a long paddle and you get the idea. This is an open competition and all paddlers are welcome to give it a go.

About Dogs at the Reno River Festival - The policy prohibiting dogs at Reno events is in effect at the Reno River Festival. Only legitimate service dogs will be allowed in the event area. Security will turn you around, so please leave pets at home.

Truckee River Whitewater Park

The Truckee River Whitewater Park was an immediate hit when it opened in 2004. It created something of a moving park in the heart of the city, providing a place for people to relax, stroll by the water along the Riverwalk, play in the water on hot days, float along on tubes, and kayak the class II - III rapids. It was a significant milestone in the redevelopment of downtown Reno.

It's a little confusing, but the Truckee River Whitewater Park is a component of downtown Reno's Wingfield Park. The Whitewater Park was built along and within the Truckee River flowing through Wingfield Park. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, or put together as the Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield.

Reno River Festival Videos and Pictures

I've produced a few short Reno River Festival videos for your viewing pleasure. If you are new to the Reno River Festival, these and my pictures will give you a look at what goes on during this fun event. You can also enjoy my still pictures of action around the Reno River Festival, including muckers participating in the Run Amuck race. (Note: Run Amuck will not be held at the 2013 Reno River Festival.)

Parking for the Reno River Festival

You can park in downtown Reno at the Parking Gallery, corner Sierra and First Streets (entrance is from First Street), at Reno High School on Booth Street, and at the McKinley Arts Center on Riverside Drive and Bell Street. Street parking around downtown Reno is metered until 6 p.m. except on Sundays, which is free all day. The big government parking lot at the corner of Court and Virginia Streets is free and open to the public on weekends. If you end up parked in the hinterlands, the Sierra Spirit bus system offers cheap transportation around the downtown area and north on Virginia Street to the University of Nevada, Reno. It runs everyday, every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Stops are designated by the yellow Sierra Spirit signs along the route.

Street Closures During the Reno River Festival

At the 2014 Reno River Festival, only one main street will be closed on May 10 and 11 - Arlington Avenue between First Street on the north and Court Street on the south. This section of Arlington includes a bridge over the Truckee River. Routes outside the closure zone that will get you close to the Truckee River Whitewater Park include Ralston Street, Sierra Street, Keystone Avenue, California Avenue, and Second Street.

Source: Reno River Festival website.

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