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Reno River Festival at Wingfield Park

Whitewater kayaking action and more - May 13 & 14, 2017

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The 2017 Reno River Festival will be at Wingfield Park in downtown Reno on Saturday and Sunday, May 13 - 14. This event is free to attend and has become one of the top draws among Reno's other big annual events.

The 2017 Reno River Festival will be bigger and better than ever. Thanks to record rain and snow, there is plenty of water in the Truckee River for whitewater events along with the Reno River Roll and the Great River Relay.

Whitewater kayaking competitions are the main reason for the Reno River Festival, but there is much more - free music and yoga in Wingfield Park, lots of food and drink (not free), free kayak, canoe, and flyfishing clinics, an Adventure Park, Smuggler's Village, Craft Beer Village, and Pub N Grub Village. You can freely enjoy the white water kayaking during both days. Some events, such as slalom and boatercross, are fast and provide plenty of exciting action. You don't have to get wet to have fun, but it is an option.

Reno River Roll

The Reno River Roll is a featured event at the 2017 Reno River Festival. This event will celebrate all things bicycle with a casual 5-mile costumed slow ride. It starts at the new Virginia Street Bridge and finishes at the Reno River Festival in Wingfield Park. The Reno River Roll is open to all ages and to all types of bicycles. Riders will follow a live mobile band, the Coors Light Girls Racing Team, Dolan Automotive, Tour de Nez, the RPD Bike Squad, and more. Costumes are encouraged as there will be a costume contest on the main stage of the River Festival, complete with some cool prizes. Register early to get a nap sack full of goodies.

Reno Great River Relay

The Reno Great River Relay is the newest event at the Reno River Festival. The 8-mile raft relay will send teams of four racing down the Truckee River with several scavenger style puzzles to figure out along the way. Teams will relay questions, riddles and pictures to teammates near the finish line. Prizes and awards will be given to race winners, best team names and costumes.

Reno River Festival Schedule of Events

To find out what is happening and when, refer to the official Reno River Festival schedule. Things tend to be a little sketchy until the event weekend gets closer, so the schedule gets added details as the time draws near. In addition to whitewater kayaking and standup paddleboarding competitions, here are some of the things to look forward to...

  • Reno River Festival Expo
  • Reno Tahoe USA's Adventure Park
  • Craft Beer Village
  • Kayak and Fishing Clinics
  • Live Music
  • River Roll
  • Great River Relay
  • Kid's Costume Contests
  • Mother Daughter Look Alike Contest
  • Reno Sculpture Fest (at the Reno ReTrak Plaza)

Reno River Festival, Wingfield Park, Reno, Nevada
Photos © Stan White

Parking at the Reno River Festival

You can park near the event 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 boonies, 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.

For more about parking, refer to "Where to Park in Downtown Reno."

Truckee River Whitewater Park

The Truckee River Whitewater Park is the stretch of river that flows through Wingfield Park. The whitewater features are used for most of the boating competitions during the Reno River Festival. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, or put together as the Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield.

On hot summer days, this park gets crowded with people playing in the Truckee River and tubing through from putins further upstream. Kayakers use the whitewater park year round and lots of people enjoy simply strolling the walking paths through Wingfield Park.

Reno River Festival Street Closures

The Reno River Festival has a fairly small impact on downtown Reno traffic. Only one main street will be closed on May 13 and 14 - 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. Nearby streets, however, get crowded, there won't be any parking, and there will be lots of pedestrians. The Reno River Roll will result in some street closures around the Virginia Street Bridge on Saturday, May 13, during the event, which starts at 11:30 a.m. It is simply best to park a bit further away (see above) and walk to the event.

About Dogs at the Reno River Festival - Do not bring your dogs. 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.

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