Great Italian Festival Returns To Biggest Little City - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Great Italian Festival Returns To Biggest Little City

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The Biggest Little City is buzzing this weekend for the 32nd annual Great Italian Festival in downtown Reno.

"It's about family," said Gregg Carano with the Eldorado Hotel and Casino. "Reno-Sparks family. Northern Nevada family. Everybody's coming out and being Italian for a day."

Thousands of Italians by blood, or by honorary title, are in our area from across the country to experience the culture Reno offers. Organizers say these people bring a big boost to our local economy.

"Downtown Reno is rocking today," Carano said. "Our casinos are doing great."

Vendors say they're doing great as well. Bits And Baubles has seen a lot of people come through their tent to check out what they have to offer.

"We don't have any figures, but it's overwhelming," said Lucy Walker of Bits And Baubles. "We've been really busy."

"We haven't stopped from the minute we got here," added Nancy Nelson, also of Bits And Baubles.

Of course, the festival has so many food options from calamari to chicken parmigiana, along with all kinds of pasta. The downtown Reno streets are packed with everything Italian from the music to a car display that features Ferraris, a Lamborghini and a Lancia. There's also bocce ball tournaments, along with grape stomping contests. The wine walk along Virginia and 3rd streets was also popular. People lined up to sample what the 10 winemakers offered.

A number of people from out of town told me it was worth spending the money to come to Reno.

"It seems like a fortune, but it's been worth every penny," said Drew Moore of Grand Junction, Colorado. "We're staying at the Eldorado, the host. The room is great. The restaurants are great."

"I've been shopping, buying all kinds of Italian memorabilia," said Margaret Lubien of San Diego, California. "Lots of food, lots of wine, things to bring back home to the family."

This is Lubien's first time to the festival. She flew in from California to spend time with her family who's been to the event a number of times in the past.

"The opportunity to share that with my family has been really sweet," she said.

Written by Adam Varahachaikol
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