Want to ride in a hot air balloon, watch a camel race, or visit a small-town harvest festival? September in Nevada offers all this, and a lot more. Here are just a few of the many family-friendly activities you can enjoy in Nevada this September.
The Great Reno Balloon Race (September 8-10)
The Great Reno Balloon Race—the largest free hot-air balloon event in the world—has grown from 20 balloons in 1982 to more than 100 balloons of all shapes and sizes lifting off from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. Special balloons are shaped like an Angry Bird, a pirate ship, a hummingbird, the Liberty Bell, Smokey Bear, and many more. An average of 125,000 people attend the event each year.
A treasured tradition at the balloon race is getting up before dawn to watch the Glow Show, which starts at 5:00 am on Saturday and Sunday. A handful of glowing balloons act as a beacon directing sleepy spectators to the park. At 5:30, Dawn Patrol balloons—which are qualified to fly in the dark—glow, twinkle and float across the pre-dawn sky to choreographed music.
The main body of balloons rise at 7:00 am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Mass Ascension, after which a select group begins the completion portion of the race, vying for cash prizes. During the day, the RE/MAX balloon provides tethered rides for children for a $5.00 donation to the Children’s Miracle Network, and spectators can enjoy refreshments, purchase souvenirs and visit vendors at Balloon Boulevard.
Genoa Candy Dance Arts & Crafts Faire (September 23-24)
The tiny town of Genoa in northern Nevada (population less than 1,000) has invited visitors from nearby communities to its annual Candy Dance since 1919. It was originally a fundraiser offering homemade candy to encourage people to attend a dance and midnight dinner. The first Candy Dance raised funds to purchase streetlights for the town, and the tradition continued each year to bring in money to pay the electricity bill for the lights, as well as other town expenses. Today, it still provides a substantial portion of the town’s annual budget.
The Arts & Crafts Faire, added in the 1970s, now attracts visitors from all over northern Nevada to visit booths featuring artists, craftspeople and vendors. The Faire is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, and the dinner and dancing take place from 4:30 to 10:00 on Saturday evening in the Genoa Town Park. The dinner usually sells out, so it’s advisable to purchase tickets early.
Pahrump Fall Festival (September 21-24)
The Fall Festival has been held in Pahrump for more than 50 years. What started as a local Harvest Festival back in 1964 has grown into a four-day event featuring a Wild West rodeo, a parade, and a carnival for the kids (and kids at heart). The rodeo, held on Friday and Saturday evening, includes bull riding, team roping, and—of course—rodeo clowns. On Saturday at 8:00 am, Highway 160 closes down so everyone can watch the high school marching band and various floats parade down the town’s main street.
Petrack Park is the site of the carnival, with plenty of thrill rides and more than three dozen booths offering barbeque, roasted corn on the cob and other treats, in addition to carnival games to test your skill. Carnival and vendor hours are: Thursday 5:00-10:00 pm; Friday 11:00 am-midnight; Saturday 11:00 am-midnight; and Sunday 11:00 am-5:00 pm.
58th International Camel & Ostrich Races (September 8-10)
Virginia City may be the only place in the world where you can see jockeys riding (or attempting to ride) camels, zebras and ostriches as they race around a track. It’s certainly the only place in Nevada where this happens. This year’s International Camel & Ostrich Races at the Virginia City Arena & Fairgrounds keep a tradition that dates back to the late 1950s, when the Territorial Enterprise, the Virginia City newspaper where Mark Twain once worked, published a tall tale about racing camels in Virginia City. When the San Francisco Chronicle appeared with several camels ready to take on the challenge, the tradition was born, and it’s been attracting racers and spectators from near and far ever since. Before and after the races, you can enjoy a walking tour of Virginia City’s historic downtown, take a mine tour to get a close-up view of Comstock Lode mining, or stop by one of the town’s many museums.
Only in Nevada
September is a great time to explore all Nevada offers in the way of family entertainment. For more information on Nevada events, visit the website for the Nevada Department of Tourism, travelnevada.com.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.
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