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Reno River Festival at Wingfield Park

Whitewater kayaking action and lots more - May 11 & 12, 2019

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The 2019 Reno River Festival will be at Wingfield Park in downtown Reno on Saturday and Sunday, May 11 - 12. This event is free to attend and has become one of the top draws among Reno's other big annual events.

The Reno River Festival just keeps getting bigger and better. There is plenty of water in the Truckee River for whitewater events and lots of dry land fun like the Reno River Roll, Craft Beer Experience, Summer Wine Village and Reno Tahoe Adventure Park.

Whitewater kayaking competitions are the main reason for the Reno River Festival, but there is much more - free music on two stages and yoga in Wingfield Park, lots of food and drink (not free), free kayak, canoe, and flyfishing clinics, a Reno Tahoe Adventure Park, Craft Beer Village, Summer Wine Village and Smuggler's Village (various vendors). 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 2019 Reno River Festival. This event will celebrate all things bicycle with a casual 7-mile costumed slow ride and moving concert. It starts at the Reno Arch and ends in the Reno River Festival. The Reno River Roll is open to all ages and to all types of bicycles. Riders will follow and interact with The Island of Black and White live mobile band. 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 (pre-event) to get a knapsack full of goodies.

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 just some of the things to look forward to...

  • Smuggler's Village (various vendors)
  • Reno Tahoe Adventure Park
  • Craft Beer Village
  • Pub 'n Grub Village
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Live Music
  • River Roll
  • Yoga in the Park
  • Mother Daughter Look Alike Contest

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 20 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 put-ins 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 11 and 12 - 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 Reno Arch on Saturday 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.

No 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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