CARSON CITY, NV--(Marketwired - September 27, 2016) - As the leaves begin to change, so do the types of events in the Silver State. Fall brings a variety of harvest festivals, city celebrations and even meteor showers to Nevada. It also brings the anniversary of Nevada's statehood, celebrated at the end of October each year. Though similar celebrations happen all around the country, it is only in Nevada that these celebrations include outhouse races, themed train rides and pasta sauce cook-offs. For anyone hoping to close 2016 with unforgettable experiences, Nevada is the place to be. To see a full listing of events, visit www.TravelNevada.com.
World Championship Outhouse Races, Virginia City, Oct. 1-2, 2016
Only in Nevada can outdated bathrooms become part of a sport. Each October, teams competing in the World Championship Outhouse Races dress up outhouses with wheels and race them through the streets of Virginia City in a hilarious event that you have to see to believe. The event celebrates a historic moment in the town's history when citizens marched to city hall in protest of an ordinance outlawing outdoor restrooms. In addition to the race, there are games, an "Undie Run" race and several other activities, all free to watch.
Pahrump Grape Stomp, Pahrump, Oct. 1-2, 2016
Most people recognize the beginning of fall because of changing leaves and cooler weather, but in Pahrump, fall starts when the grapes are stomped. The Grape Stomp is an annual celebration of the fall harvest at the Pahrump Valley Winery. To stomp grapes, attendees must sign up in advance; however, there is much more to the event than making wine. Attendees can taste wines, visit craft booths and listen to live music, all in the crisp fall atmosphere.
Lake Tahoe Marathon, South Lake Tahoe, Oct. 6-9, 2016
For runners, sometimes it's the view that keeps you going during long races. What better view than one of the world's most beautiful lakes surrounded by fall foliage. The Lake Tahoe Marathon is an entire weekend of boutique races that culminate on Sunday with the Lake Tahoe Marathon and Emerald Bay Half Marathon. The other races include an ultra run, a team relay, a 10K, multiple 5Ks and a free Kids Pumpkin Run. For other types of athletes, there are swims, kayak races and much more. It all wraps up on Sunday with a post-race party at The Beach House Grill.
RiSE Lantern Festival, Moapa River Reservation, Oct. 7-8, 2016
Few places embrace individuality quite like Nevada, and the RiSE Lantern Festival at the Moapa River Reservation is a perfect example of that. Each fall, thousands of individuals come together in a celebration of life's hopes, dreams and moments to ceremoniously send personalized lanterns into the night sky. The evening begins with local food, drinks and music to set the tone for the lantern release. After sunset, each member of the crowd lifts a lantern to the sky in a beautiful display of light, each with its own meaning. The reservation is northeast of Las Vegas, and shuttles are provided.
Slaughterhouse Lane Coffin Races, Gardnerville, Oct. 8, 2016
After a successful first year, the Slaughterhouse Lane Coffin Races are back! This Halloween-themed gathering fits right in with Nevada's other quirky races around the state. Teams of five push or pull their decorated coffins down Main Street while spectators line the way to view the hilarity that ensues. In addition to the coffin races, attendees will have the chance to visit local vendor booths with food, goods and games.
Eldorado Great Italian Festival, Reno, Oct. 8-9, 2016
For 35 years, the Eldorado Resort Casino has turned Reno into a European getaway through sights, sounds and tastes of Italy. The Eldorado Great Italian Festival is an annual celebration of Italian culture, traditions and, of course, food! A highlight of the event is the Great Italian Festival Sauce Cook-Off, where families around the region prepare their secret recipes to be judged by festivalgoers. Other fare, including homemade pasta, breads and sausages, are available all throughout the city. Adults can also stomp grapes and try Italian wines. Guests are transported to Italy through live Italian music, all while still in the Biggest Little City.
Beatty Days Festival, Beatty, Oct. 28-30, 2016
Long ago, Beatty was a mining town. These days, it is known for many other unique experiences, including the annual Beatty Days Festival. Perhaps one of the most eclectic festivals in the state, Beatty Days has everything from a car show to a pumpkin-carving contest. The three-day event is well known for its chili cook-off, bringing in the best chili cooks in the region, as well as its quirky races, like the Bed Race and the Tombstone 5K. If you're looking for a fun-for-all-ages event to celebrate Halloween weekend, this is it.
Nevada Day Parade, Carson City, Oct. 29, 2016
On October 31, 1864, Nevada was admitted into statehood. That important day is celebrated annually in Carson City, the state's capital, with the Nevada Day Parade. This year, the parade is on Saturday, Oct. 29, but it is more than just a parade. The day starts with a pancake breakfast and a hot air balloon launch, then ends with a tour of the governor's mansion. Other events include a chili feed, beard contest and single jack drilling competition. It is sure to be another proud day for Nevadans!
Pomegranate Arts & Crafts Festival, Logandale, Nov. 4-5, 2016
Pomegranates aren't a native fruit to the Moapa Valley region, but after Mormon settlers introduced the fruit to the region in the early 1900s and found that it thrived, the fruit became a celebrated part of the area. Today, the Pomegranate Arts & Crafts Festival celebrates the fruit with homemade jams and desserts. Additionally, regional artists and crafters set up shop for visitors, selling anything from decorated gourds to paintings. Attendees can shop around while listening to local music from artists like the Nelson Family Band.
V&T Railroad Polar Express, Carson City, Nov. 17 to Dec. 23, 2016
You know the holidays are around the corner when historic Nevada railways become gateways to the North Pole. The V&T Railroad was a highly successful route established in the late-1800s as a way to transport gold and silver. Today, its history is preserved through such themed rides as the V&T Railroad Polar Express. The Polar Express ride allows families to experience the joys that Santa brings while riding an authentic and historic train. Children on the Polar Express will meet holiday characters and go home with a silver sleigh bell. Guests can purchase coach or VIP tickets for this unforgettable childhood experience.
Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Las Vegas, Dec. 1-10, 2016
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is the premiere rodeo event in the U.S. The most recognizable rodeo stars from around the nation come to Las Vegas each December to compete for gold. Known as "Cowboy Christmas" to attendees and fans, the event is full of cowboy favorites, including live country music, an expo with cowboy boots and other rodeo gear, and, of course, steer wrestling, bull riding, barrel racing and roping. It's 10 days of cowboy heaven.
Reno Santa Crawl. Dec. 10, 2016
In Reno, the Santa fun is for adults, too. The Reno Santa Crawl is the largest Santa Pub Crawl in the country, where almost 15,000 holiday-clad partygoers hop from bar to bar in downtown Reno. In addition to drawing attendees from as far away as the East Coast, the event has raised more than $200,000 for local charities. Participants can also sign-up for a 5K or Santa skiing at Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe.
Nevada's rural areas and parks aren't just great areas to explore for scenery and culture, but they also give the state some of the darkest night skies in the country. Those skies are perfect for stargazing. This fall, there are several opportunities to catch one of the most spectacular phenomena of the skies, meteor showers.
Draconids Meteor Shower, Oct. 7, 2016
The Draconid meteors are named after the Draco the Dragon constellation. They occur when the Earth passes through debris from comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner. This year, the meteor shower is expected to peak the nights of Oct. 7 and 8.
Orionids Meteor Shower, Oct. 20, 2016
Debris from Comet Halley causes the Orionids meteor shower, which is expected to be at its peak the night of Oct. 20. This comet will not be visible again until 2061.
Leonids Meteor Shower, Nov. 17, 2016
Named for its location near the Leo constellation, the Leonids meteor shower occurs annually in mid-November. This year, stargazers will get the best view the night of Nov. 17.
For more Nevada travel experiences, visit TravelNevada.com, and for images of these and other Nevada destinations, visit Flickr.com/TravelNevada. Click on the "Albums" link and photos will sort by Nevada town or attraction.
The Nevada Division of Tourism (TravelNevada) is part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. It promotes and markets Nevada as a tourism destination for domestic and international leisure and business travelers through its marketing and advertising programs and by coordinating partnerships between public and private entities. TravelNevada also administers grant programs for local entities to market travel and tourism offerings and publishes Nevada Magazine.