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Nevada's 10 Best Events and Festivals in Summer 2014
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Nevada's 10 Best Events and Festivals in Summer 2014

Picture of Marcelina Morfin
Updated: 9 February 2017
Nevada is a culturally diverse state, so it should come as no surprise that the events and celebrations taking place over the next few months are just as varied. From beautiful works of art and delicious food to quirky spectacles, there is a wealth of art and culture waiting to be experienced by locals and tourists alike. Here we take a look at ten of the best festivities happening in Nevada this summer, from Reno to Las Vegas.
Valley of Fire State Park
© Frank Kovalchek/Flickr

Art | Artown

1 July – 1 August

Artown was created in 1996 to highlight local artists and draw residents to downtown Reno, which was not a desirable area at the time. Fast-forward to 2014 and the downtown area is a popular destination with locals and tourists alike, and Artown has blossomed into a huge celebration of the arts attracting over 300,000 visitors each July and featuring local, national, and international talent. A plethora of spectator and interactive events are scheduled this summer, including family nights, workshops, movies in the park, and performances whether it be theatrical, musical, or dance. Some of the highlights include music by Judy Collins and Don McLean and an appearance by Hawaiian dance company Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu to name a few. A jammed packed month of fun is to be had by everyone who visits this outstanding art festival.

Various venues across Reno, NV, USA, +1 775 322 1538

Artown
© RKPR

Culture | Red, White, and Tahoe Blue

3 – 5 July

One of the best Independence Day celebrations, Red, White, and Tahoe Blue takes place in Incline Village on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. Numerous events are scheduled during this three-day event, including a parade, the popular Beer and Brats BBQ, and plenty of music by local bands and country artist Billy Ray Cyrus. The big event, however, is the gorgeous Fourth of July fireworks display lighting up the skies over Lake Tahoe while the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra performs synchronised music. Voted as one of the best fireworks shows in the USA, it’s an event the entire family will enjoy.

Various venues across Incline Village, NV, USA, +1 775 298 1010

Culture | Elko Basque Festival

4 – 6 July

Founded in 1964 as a one-day gathering of shepherds and cattle-ranchers of Basque descent, the Elko Basque Festival — also known as the National Basque Festival — in Elko has grown into a three-day event attracting thousands of visitors each year and is hosted by the Elko Basque Club. Numerous events on the agenda intended to highlight their heritage and traditions include folk dancing by various regional dance troupes, a tasty feast of Basque fare, and various traditional Basque rural sports, including weightlifting and wood chopping. With a parade and plenty of Basque music, adults and children alike will enjoy this unique cultural fete.

Various venues across Elko, NV, USA, +1 775 233 3178

Elko Euzkaldunak Club
Courtesy of Elko Euzkaldunak Club

Culture | Hot August Nights

29 July – 3 August

Step back in time to the 1950s and 1960s with Hot August Nights, a festival celebrating classic cars and rock n’ roll across the Reno and Sparks area all the while raising money for local charities that specialise in supporting children in need or at risk youth. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come from all over the world to ogle at beautiful restored cars from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s with pristine and intricate paint jobs. With many venues involved, spectators can expect a variety of events, such as drag races, nightly cruises, and concerts, including country singer Darryl Worley and blue-eyed soul singer Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers; several area casinos also have their own events planned to coincide with this nostalgic celebration.

Various venues across Reno and Sparks, NV, USA, + 1 775 356 1956 x0

Hot August Nights
© Marcello Rostagni/Image Courtesy of Hot August Nights
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Culture | Nevada State Fair

30 July – 3 August

The Nevada State Fair began in 1874 and ended in 2010 due to the economic downturn; however, it is being revived in the state capital, Carson City, for Nevada’s 150th birthday. This five-day event seeks to promote the capital and support local businesses through festivities honouring Nevada and its history, including agriculture and mining. Events revellers can look forward to include a rodeo, carnival, agricultural competitions, and concerts to name a few. Plenty of food vendors will be on hand as well serving pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, tacos, and traditional fair food, including funnel cakes and just about anything that can be deep-fried. Take the entire family to this celebration to be entertained for hours.

Nevada State Fair, Fuji Park, 601 Old Clear Creek Road, Carson City, NV, USA, +1 775 283 7469

Dance | World Hip Hop Dance Championships

3 – 10 August

Looking to be entertained by the world’s best Hip Hop dancers? Then look no further than Las Vegas because this summer the internationally renowned World Hip Hop Dance Championships are taking place over several days. Produced by the Los Angeles based company, Hip Hop International, 2000 dancers from over 40 countries will gather in Sin City to showcase their impressive dance skills. Spectators can watch various styles of Hip Hop, including bBoy, Popping, Locking and All Styles in junior, varsity, MegaCrew, and adult divisions. Preliminaries are held at the Red Rock Resort while the finals take place at the Orleans Arena. Be awed by the talent this world has to offer in this dance extravaganza.

Various venues across Las Vegas, NV, USA, +1 323 850 3777

Hip Hop International
Courtesy of Hip Hop International
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Food | Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off

27 August – 1 September

Touted as ‘the country’s best rib competition’, the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off is held in Victorian Square in Sparks each year. Celebrating its 26th year, this tasty event — hosted by John Ascuaga’s Nugget — attracts 24 rib cookers from around the world, and over the six-day event, 500,000 meat lovers consume approximately 230,000 pounds of mouth-watering ribs smothered in delicious BBQ sauce. Once the ribs have been devoured, visitors will still find that there is much fun is to be had at this culinary celebration with craft vendors, a kids’ area, and free live musical performances on five stages. Featured talent taking centre stage this year include alternative rockers Lit, GRAMMY nominee Joan Osborne, and country singer Joe Diffie to name a few.

Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off, Victorian Square, 1100 Nugget Ave., Sparks, NV, USA, +1 800 684 1177

JA Nugget
Courtesy of JA Nugget
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Culture | International Camel Races

5 – 7 September

Every year spectators come to watch people race camels and ostriches in the small former mining boomtown called Virginia City. This race, known as the International Camel Races, just might be the most bizarre event in Nevada, and it all started because of a faux news story 55 years ago. Bob Richards, a local editor and known joker, announced there would be a camel race in Virginia City; his bluff was called out by people at the San Francisco Chronicle, who arrived with camels ready to race, and the rest, as they say, is history. With the pairing of camels, which are notorious for being stubborn, and neophyte jockeys, visitors can expect this to be a comical experience like no other.

International Camel Races, Virginia City, NV, USA, +1 800 718 7587

International Camel Racing
Courtesy of Virginia City Tourism Commission
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Culture | National Championship Air Races

10 – 14 September

Every September thousands of airplane enthusiasts descend upon the Reno Stead Airport — eight miles north of Reno — to watch hundreds of aircrafts race in six different classes, including the biplane and jet classes, at the National Championship Air Races. In its 51st season, the event also features military and civilian air entertainment by the Patriots Jet Team and aerobatic pilot David Martin. Adults and children alike will love this event as they can interact with the pilots and explore the planes up close and personal. With RV sites and plenty of food vendors serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, guests never have to leave the site of this unique event.

National Championship Air Races, Reno Stead Airport, 4895 Texas Ave., Reno, NV, USA, +1 775 972 6663

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Art | Painting Women: Works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Until 26 October

Tucked inside the Bellagio in Las Vegas is the city’s premier art gallery, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art. This space has hosted numerous world-class exhibitions drawing from the collections of museums and private collections since opening in 1998. Currently on display is Painting Women: Works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which showcases 34 paintings by women artists and explores their advancement and achievements in a male-dominated field. Featuring artworks from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, the exhibition displays portraits of women artists plus artworks by great female painters, such as Mary Cassatt, Louise Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, and Georgia O’Keefe to name few. Art aficionados will enjoy this stunning display of art in an otherwise gambling mecca.

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, 3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV, USA, +1 702 693 7871

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
© Cashman Photo / Courtesy of Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art