Racing airplanes at speeds up to more than 500-mph around an oval course just 50 feet above the northern Nevada desert is not for the faint of heart. Taking place every September for the last 56 years, The Reno National Championship Air Races is also the only place on the planet where airplanes race head-to-head.
This September, the air races will not be returning amidst a global pandemic and this was not a decision that was made lightly by their team back at the end of June. The fact that these airplanes race head-to-head also means that the pilots who fly need to have a rare combination of talent, passion, resources, and willingness to put themselves and their airplanes on the line for little to no financial gain or fame – just bragging rights. Fans get to watch propeller-driven airplanes and jets race at high speeds for the love of competition, aviation, peer recognition, and adventure.
The Reno Air Races were first held in the year 1964 and signaled the return of pylon air racing to American after a 15 year gap when the famed Cleveland National Air Races ended in 1949. Pylon air racing is an aircraft race in an oval-track style around a course marked by 50 foot high pylons. The event has done nothing but grow since its inception. Over 100,000 now attend the week-long event each year and both racers and fans alike refer to the gathering as their “September Family”.
“It was a heart-rending decision,” Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) Chairman, Fred Telling, acknowledges. “We waited as long as we could, trying to explore some alternatives but in the end we really had no choice but to cancel it.”
Between the crowd logistics, state mandates, and employees on furlough it just didn’t make sense for the event to happen in 2020. RARA notified the various racing class organizations, event sponsors, volunteers, and the public in succession. Their response was overwhelmingly positive, many not surprised but most were sad to see it temporarily go.
The cancellation’s impact on the event is significant because Reno’s income comes from attendance (slightly less than 50%), sponsorship, and donations, with a number of RARA staff being laid off to limit overhead. Nevertheless, the races will return next year with a similar racing and airshow format. The September 15 – 19, 2021 event will be highlighted by Unlimited Class racers (largely modified ex-WWII fighters) and the increasingly popular Sport Class of general aviation sport planes capable of over 400 mpg on the large 7.9 mile course. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team is slated to appear along with other beloved military displays.
Last year was the best time I have had at the Air Races so far. I was allowed to hang out at a pylon during the races! It was very exciting as the planes roared so near to the ground. Definitely exhilarating! The National Air Races are by far my favorite annual event in Reno. I am greatly looking forward to the event next year.
In the meantime, RARA is crafting plans for an online virtual event content similar to what EAA has presented with its AirVenture event. The Races’ title sponsor, power-tools maker, Stihl Inc, remains onboard as do most other sponsors and the community including the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority.
In response to the current state of the world, the Historic Reno Preservation Society has canceled its walking tours for the year and instead has created a little something called “Neighborhood Stories”.
In this Zoom version, watchers can see pictures of places, people, and historical documents narrated by the Walking Tour Guides. The Stories don’t give away an entire tour (so you can still be wowed later in person), but they give you an idea of what the tour is about and an opportunity to give more background information than they could on a walk. All 18 stories are available for viewing now.
Presented by Sharon Honig-Bear
Reno underwent a building boom in the 1960s and 70s to keep up with trends in modern architecture. Learn about the Modern Movement and the many important properties built in Reno during that era including the Downtown Reno Library, “old” City Hall (now the Discovery Museum), “new” City Hall (formerly First Interstate Bank building) and the Pioneer Center.
Learn about one of Reno’s oldest and most prestigious neighborhoods and its impressive variety of architectural styles. Newlands Heights Historic District was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.
Turn back the clocks to the 1920s and 1930s to learn about the prohibition era in Reno. We will explore the streets and alleys and significant buildings to recall Reno’s saloons and reformers (the WCTU and Anti-Saloon League).
Imagine walking in the footsteps of Marilyn Monroe, Kirk Douglas, Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren and more. The presentation covers downtown Reno’s rich film history inspired by divorce, gambling and the city’s distinct look in such movies as “The Misfits,” “Cobb,” “Sister Act,” and “Love Ranch” with Robin Holabird, author of “Elvis, Marilyn and the Space Aliens.”
Learn the story of Reno’s most treasured historic neighborhood. Many of early Reno’s prominent families built generous homes on this once treeless bluff overlooking the Truckee River with panoramic views of Peavine Mountain and the Sierra. Imagine the beauty and charm of this coveted neighborhood, largely developed by U.S. Senator Francis Newlands.
Hear about Writing from the “Underbelly.” There’s more to Reno’s literary history than “City of Trembling Leaves!” Reno continues to be a mythical magnet for ‘outsider’ writers and characters. The misfits, outcasts and seekers. Let your imagination roam as we travel downtown streets encountered by traditional writers like Will James, Robert Laxalt and Joanne de Longchamps, then learn the haunts of contemporary writers such as Bernie Schopen, Willy Vlautin and Susan Palwick.
Presented by Frances Tryon and Brett Banks (Hillside) and Bill Mardon (Knights of Pythias)
Join HRPS for a visit to four of Reno’s most historic cemeteries: Pythians, Hillside, The Grand Army of the Republic and the Hebrew Cemetery to become acquainted with some of their most notable residents.
The architectural gems along Ridge Street & California Avenue were the homes of senators, physicians and businessmen who made early Reno the Biggest Little City in the World. U.S. Senator Francis Newlands developed this neighborhood that sits on the bluff overlooking the Truckee River with panoramic views of Peavine Mountain, the Sierra and downtown Reno.
Discover one of Reno’s earliest and most delightful vernacular neighborhoods and learn about the English, Germans and Italians that settled the area. This neighborhood is the first City of Reno Conservation District.
Learn about the history of the Rail City on a virtual jaunt through Victorian Square and Downtown Sparks. Hear about how this area has transformed itself from a railroad hub to a vibrant commercial district, which degraded into a rundown urban area before a successful redevelopment that changed the image and future of the city. We discuss some of the buildings and sites that have played an important role in the history and development of Sparks and Nevada. This talk is in collaboration with the Sparks Heritage Museum (www.sparksmuseum.org).
Hear the story of Reno architects Edward Parsons and Russell Mills and the homes they designed, many of which were located in Newlands Heights, one of Reno’s most unique neighborhoods. Learn about the hallmarks of each architect’s style and how their careers were intertwined.
Hear about an area of southwest Reno steeped in history from the 1920s and 30s. Hear about the original Reno Golf Club, Reno’s first airfield and the luxurious, ill-fated Country Club. With the growing popularity of the Washoe Golf Course and the newly-created Virginia Lake, the early 1940s saw the rise of a new neighborhood created for suburban living. The sale of lots rather than homes ensured an eclectic mix of architectural styles and homes of all sizes.
Hear the stories behind Reno’s tallest historic buildings in our downtown. Learn about the changes in technology that allowed architects and engineers to create buildings at increasingly towering heights, as well as the evolving details used to adorn high rise architecture between the 1930s and 1960s.
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Hi, I’m Neal! I’ve been a Reno Tahoe resident since 1981. I graduated from the University of Nevada in 1987 with a bachelor’s in Geological Engineering, and began my real estate career in 2004.
My specialties reside in helping buyers and sellers in Northern Nevada. I have an affinity for our town and enjoy giving a special tour to anyone new to the city. Even if you’re a long time resident, I’d be happy to show you around town. There’s been a lot of exciting, new development, including Mid Town in downtown Reno that has been especially beneficial for the moral of our city and the health of our economy as well. There’s something for everyone in Midtown – new coffee shops, bars, little eateries, and other small businesses that promise something unique to each customer.
Phase 2 of Nevada’s reopening is well underway and the latest directive has everyone wearing masks in public spaces.
This has been an adjustment for some and there has been a lot of information floating around and even some confusion about how effective a mask really is. Renown Health Infection Preventionist Amber Barney posted an article recently debunking five common myths about mask wearing.
#1: Do masks provide real protection from COVID-19?
Some people infected with COVID-19 will be asymptomatic, or have a stretch of time before showing any symptoms. This means that there is a possibility of spreading it to others when you have no idea that you have it. A mask provides a barrier to your mouth and nose that minimizes the spread droplets produced from talking, singing, coughing, and sneezing. These droplets can contaminate the airspace or environment around you, potentially spreading the virus to others in the same area. Masks also help to remind us not to touch our mouth and nose, just in case our hands have the virus on them or to spread the virus from our hands to additional surfaces.
#2: Can you cover just your mouth?
The fact of the matter is that your nose is a mucous membrane and falls in the same category as your mouth. Covering just one and not the other negates the effectiveness of the mask, so it’s important to cover both fully in order to prevent the spread and protect yourself. Infective droplets may also enter the body via the mouth and nose.
#3: Are there many medical conditions that prevent wearing a mask?
Almost everyone can safely and comfortably wear a mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that children under the age of 2 and anyone who needs medical assistance due to difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, or incapacitation should not use cloth face coverings. Certain mental health conditions such as severe claustrophobia or PTSD could also be cause to refrain from wearing a mask.
You don’t need a doctor’s note if you can’t wear a mask. Section 3 of Governor Sisolak’s mandate states that “persons exempted under this provision shall not be required to produce documentation verifying the condition.”
#4: If you’ve recovered from COVID-19, do you still need to wear a mask?
As of right now, doctors do not know if anyone who has previously had COVID-19 is immune from getting infected again. The best practice advised is to wear a mask.
#5: Do you still need to social distance if you wear a mask?
The CDC recommends that cloth coverings be worn in public settings when around those outside of their household, especially when unable to maintain physical distance. The combination of these efforts with hand hygiene and frequent disinfecting are the best practice to reduce transmission risk.
Bonus: Be kind and patient while wearing your mask.
As a member of the Reno community, I would like to thank you for wearing a mask and following the guidelines set out by the State of Nevada. We are all in this crisis together and must remember to be kind and practice patience. While we may not all agree on everything that is going on in the world, one thing we can agree on is keeping each other safe. Some people who are wearing a mask may experience barriers, for example those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Let’s all remember that this is OUR community and it’s our job to take care of each other.
Artown’s 25th anniversary is just around the corner and will feature more than 300 live and virtual events.
While the month-long festival will differ from what organizers had planned many months ago, there will be many events and artists keeping the spirit of Artown alive. Events planned include the awe-inspiring, fifth annual Chalk Art & Music Festival at the Atlantis, Art Spot Reno’s Downtown and Midtown Mural Tours, the Cordillera International Film Festival, the Midtown Burning Man Parade, and “Heartown” Artown’s ambitious campaign to bring art to the people. Ticketed events and large public concert gatherings at Wingfield Park, the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch, and in Midtown have all been postponed.
Artown’s virtual opening night on July 1 will include all of the previously booked headliners for the festival, including: Keb’ Mo’, March Fourth Marching Band, Sheléa, Tim Snider, Vertigo Dance Company, Playing For Change, Jake Shimabakuro, Buff Sainte-Marie, Hot Sardines, Kronos Quartet, Charlie Musselwhite, AJ Croce, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., Time for Three, Cool Nasty, Pamyua, Na Lei Hulu Wekiu, Ensemble Mik Nawooj, Davina and the Vagabonds, LADAMA, Mariachi Acero de Las Vegas, Paa Kow and Resistance Revival Chorus.
Other notable highlights confirmed for Artown 2020 include:
Month-long fine art and maker events at Copper Cat Studio in Sparks – July 1-31
Art Walk Reno – July 2
5th Annual Reno Chalk Art & Music Festival – July 10-12 at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Day of Visual Arts Weekend – July 10-12,
The Inaugural South Virginia Plaza in Midtown Celebration – July 18
The Cordillera International Film Festival – July 23-26
Midtown Burning Man Parade – July 30
For more information about Artown, you can visit their website here.
Reno is Artown for the entire month of July! Artown’s primary goal is to encourage local artist participation and highlight the best performers in northern Nevada. Additionally, we exist to market and promote these arts events locally, regionally, and nationally as a premier arts festival. Artown, a month-long summer arts festival, features about 500 events produced by more than 100 organizations and businesses in nearly 100 locations citywide. Artown’s mission is to strengthen Reno’s arts industry, enhance our civic identity and national image, thereby creating a climate for the cultural and economic rebirth of our region.
Artown has been inspiring community through the arts since 1996. If you aren’t quite comfortable heading out to events yet, or have to miss this July, you can also help keep Artown free by donating.
Coming up on June 27, TEDxReno will make its triumphant return for the first time since 2015.
Viewers can join in on this inspiring event by registering in advance for free through EventBrite. Several pre-recorded talks meant to engage and inspire viewers will be released at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday. Participants can join in live during the virtual lunch break and additional virtual breakout sessions with speakers and other experts to keep the conversation going. The event will wrap up by 2:00 p.m.
Topics and issues that will be covered in the talks will range from the ever-changing and resilient environment in which Nevada, and we, as a society, find ourselves, from impacts of COVID-19 to civil unrest.
TEDxReno first started in 2013 and ran for two years. TEDxUniversityofNevada licensee, Bret Simmons, wanted to bring more TEDx events to the Reno community and decided to reapply for the TEDxReno license for 2020’s virtual event, with a live event to follow in 2021.
“We are excited to bring TEDxReno back to our communities and believe the online event will be an enticing kick-off to the new and revived TEDxReno event,” said Simmons. “The event will re-engage people who love the TED concept and the topics that TED embraces, and we hope that all will be able to join us for this free online event. You will walk away empowered, refreshed and inspired.”
Speakers confirmed to date are: Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, Kaya Stanley, entrepreneur/ co-owner of Old Granite Street and community philanthropist, Danny DeLaRosa, chief development officer of Greater Nevada Credit Union, Emily Jaenson, general manager of the Reno Aces, Christine Zack of Capability Health, and Trudy Larson, MD, infectious disease specialist and Dean of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Community Health Sciences.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, often in the form of short talks delivered by leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED conferences, including an annual gathering in Vancouver, as well as TEDWomen, intimate TED Salons and thousands of independently organized TEDx events around the world.
Ralph Galletti, an immigrant from Genoa (a province in northern Italy), opened a wholesale tamale factory in 1927 and sold his famous tamales to many local restaurants. In 1935, Ralph built the current brick building to house the tamale factory as well as a bar. He called it the Coney Island, the name of the former amusement park across the street from his new building. Upon his return from service in World War II, Ralph’s son John expanded the business to include a dining room for lunch and private banquets. It quickly became known as a place to find good food and old friends, and developed into a popular local hangout. John’s son Greg now runs the business, continuing the family tradition with his children.
A lot of Renoites know about the Coney Island Bar, but do not know about its namesake. Jody Rice put together a great story for This is Reno and I wanted to share some of what she found.
Two longtime Reno staples call East Fourth Street in downtown Reno home, a place that is normally avoided by citizens except for a dreaded trip to the DMV. These staples include Casale’s Halfway Club and the Coney Island Bar.
Stepping back more than 100 years in history, the Coney Island Amusement Park opened in the Truckee Meadows in July 1909. This amusement park boasted a lake big enough to have an island as well as row- and ferry-boats. Looking at that area today, this seems hard to believe but there it was.
According to a 1909 advertisement “the lake and grounds are gorgeously illuminated” and the management was drilling for hot mineral water in order to construct “one of the finest natatoriums”. A natatorium is simply a building containing a swimming pool.
The park was along the old Highway 40 before a road existed there, sandwiched between the “Biggest Little City” and the “Rail City”. All that remains today is the Nevada Historical Marker and Coney Island Bar, which opened in the late 1930s. Visitors could visit Coney Island Amusement Park free of charge to enjoy trees, the lake, pavilions, fireworks, music and dancing, and did so until the park closed in 1912.
Learn more about this park’s origins and its German founder, Otto G. Benscheutz, by reading more of Jody’s store. Reno’s history is a rich one!
All images courtesy of the Reno Historical Society.
There are so many fantastic events unique to Reno-Sparks and one of the most beloved is Artown.
For the entire month of July, Reno becomes Artown! There are musical performances, live paintings, dancing shows, interactive, and more. July transforms the city into a celebration of local community with a deep appreciation for the arts and fun for all ages.
Many beloved and longtime events in Northern Nevada have been canceled this year to help limit the spread of COVID-19, but not Artown! The 501(c)(3) non-profit is reorganizing its events to meet the safety guidelines set out by the State of Nevada’s reopening plan. The annual city-wide event has taken place every July since the mid-90’s and for its 25th year they will be moving to a virtual platform.
This summer’s Artown will host 300 events planned by 127 artists, including webinars, livestreams, virtual tours, and scaled-back gatherings. Some of the regular events will have to be postponed because they gather such large crowds and won’t comply with state regulations, but all participating artists have until June 30 to modify their plans.
“I think the arts have been hit hard,” Artown’s marketing director, Oliver X said. “Their display venues, exhibits, and galleries have closed. So, those sources of revenue are limited… and that has definitely affected their ability to earn their pay, and their craft in public. That’s been severe for some, for sure. Artists oftentimes live check-to-check like everybody else.”
Adapting to the changes for this year, Artown is rolling out a new campaign called “Heartown” where they ask community members to make their own art at home. Whether it’s a craft with a family member or something you do on your own, it could be signage, decorative garden signs, expressions of inspiration, sidewalk chalk, or some other ornamental display in support. Artists will also have the ability to perform in real time during livestream events. International and national performers can even submit videos to be shown during the virtual Opening Night on July 1.
Some of the regular events that are still scheduled include the Reno Chalk Art & Music Festival at the Atlantis, Day of Visual Arts Weekend, and the Midtown Burning Man Parade. Artown is also distributing art supplies to children’s programs, nonprofits and family-oriented organizations like Eddy House, Our Center, and the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. Their goal is to hit different organizations to include every corner of the community.
Don’t miss out on some of these great events this year!
Lives of Northern Nevadans have been changed in a big way, and the effects have all but slammed the brakes on it’s fast-growing economy. Back in late January, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) hosted their annual State of the Economy. In the address, the Reno-Sparks area received accolades for its jump in job creation, drop in unemployment rate, and overall economic growth. I attended this event, along with more than 1,000 others from our business community.
Mike Kazmierski, EDAWN president, joined a virtual panel of experts on April 3 with Northern Nevada Business Weekly to discuss the region’s path to economic recovery with an emphasis on a better-educated workforce. He advocated that schools statewide should be teaching classes like coding and robotics, which are skills that will be needed in the future.
“That will make it easier to attract the next generation of jobs and grow the next generation of jobs through our entrepreneurial activity,” he said.
“This crisis will probably accelerate our transition into the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he explained. “Automation and AI is going to be accelerated, which requires a better-educated workforce at a time when our state is going to take huge budget hits in the next couple years. That will impact their ability to properly fund education, which is already improperly funded.”
How much does Nevada spend now on education funding? The state spends about $9,200 per student and ranked 48th out of 49 states in school financing according to Education Week’s 2019 Quality Counts report. Wyoming, for example, spends $18,090 per student which is nearly double what Nevada pays. Our state also ranks second-to-last in public education overall.
Nevada had the nation’s oldest school funding formula until last summer, when Governor Sisolak signed a new school funding formula into law. The state has also turned funds from marijuana sales tax from a rainy day fund into an education fund instead. This has generated an estimated $119.9 million is additional school funding to be used over the next two years.
“We’re giving 30% of our budget, in theory, to education. The reality is, we’re still at the bottom of the heap when it comes to national funding,” Kazmierski said April 3, adding that education lobbyists and parents need to make their voices heard loud and clear by elected officials. “We’re moving in the wrong direction, so at some point we need to get together as a state and say education is our top priority. I think it really is something that will benefit not just the here and now, but our economy in the long-term.”
However, now that we are in present day’s circumstance it remains to be seen how the COVID-19 crisis will impact future funding. Shortly after the April 3 panel, Sisolak then issued an order to state agencies and others who benefit of state funding to be ready for budget cuts as a result of reduced tax collections caused by coronavirus-related business closures.
The order stated that agencies should identify a 4% cut for this fiscal year and a 6% for next fiscal year, but there could be two additional 4% reductions in 2021 if the situation gets worse.
Along with Mike Kazmierski, the panel was joined by Patricia Herzog, director of the rural economic and community development for GOED; Jeff Brigger, director of business development at NV Energy; and Tom Harris, director of the university center for economic development at the University of Nevada, Reno. Together they discussed retraining the workforce, linkages between rural and urban areas, and more. Click here for the full article.
You may have gathered that my favorite place to hang out is in midtown. Prior to the lockdown and in the midst of the Virginia Street tune up I never missed a day of going to midtown. Whether it was for coffee, a cold beer, lunch or shopping I never let the weaving in and out of traffic cones and taking side streets and alleyways deter me. It’s so special there because of that small cozy vibe you get from all the establishments. The midtown kindness is infectious. Looks like the completion of Virginia Street will happen sooner than later. Excellent!
The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County and Sierra Nevada Construction announced in mid-March that the recent business closures have allowed them to accelerate construction operations on the $87 million Virginia Street project taking place in midtown Reno.
The RTC made the decision after consulting with local businesses in the Midtown area who have already expressed support to expedite the construction project. Doing the extra work while most businesses are closed will result in less impact when the businesses are open again.
“This is great news for all Midtown businesses,” Rum Sugar Lime business owner Larry DeVincenzi said in a provided statement. “The RTC and SNC reached out to us, they listened, and we support their plan to expedite the project. This project is going to be great when it’s done.”
As of March 21, crews closed Virginia Street to through traffic from Mary and Center Streets to Mt. Rose Street. The 24-hour closure is in effect until at least April 30, when the Governor’s mandate may end and businesses can once again open.
From Liberty to Center Streets, traffic will continue to be one-way southbound. According to the RTC, the accelerated work will definitely result in early completion of the current section of work. This could also lead to an earlier completion date for the overall project down the line. According to previous projections, the entire Virginia Street project is expected to be complete by November of 2020 (weather permitting).
The photo above was taken on April 4 and depicts the construction at Mary and Center Streets with the new roundabout addition. As you can see from the photo (if you haven’t been in person), the entirety of Virginia Street is shut down just past it. Rum Sugar Lime is located in this section, as well as many other popular shops, restaurants and bars. You can still park on Holcomb Ave. and any of the other streets that run parallel to Virginia. Mind the signs though, there are a few tricky one way streets that may sneak up on you!
To learn more about the Virginia Street Project, visit the RTC website here.