Burning Man Shopping Season Begins - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Burning Man Shopping Season Begins

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Burning Man is coming up in about a month and a half. The big event begins August 25th, and already some are stocking up for the playa.

They come through every summer in Reno, like a band of colorful locusts. But Todd Smith would never call them that. They're his best customers. As he told us, "Ha! Burners are the best." For the Twin City Surplus store on east 4th Street, the next few weeks is their Christmas shopping season…no vacations for the staff until the big event is over. Smith, Twin City’s assistant manager, told us, "It's a madhouse around here. It's great though...a lot of fun."

They are Reno's oddest, most unusual consumers. When this place is packed with burners, it's a show in there. General Manager Jason Cowles told us, "I've had a person...pretty much naked in here. That was just part of the wildest thing I've ever seen." And it's an even bigger show in the parking lot. Smith told us that he saw, “…a dragon in pieces here. I've had guys from Australia come park in the middle of the street down here right on 4th Street. Someone drove up with 3 towers, one with flames coming out, another with a DJ on it. I don’t know what the 3rd tower was for."

Burning Man has turned this 51-year old store for campers, hunters and prospectors…into the hippest place in town. Burners discovered it in their hunt for water storage. Smith said these days, "We try to prepare for that. It's probably the most important item they need out there." What's really interesting is how military goods have transitioned to the perfect Burning Man essentials, and nothing illustrates military to burner more than the parachute…they sell hundreds of them. Cowles told us, “Out on the playa there are no trees, it's very hot. These parachutes cut out the sun's rays. They kind of do what a natural tree would do and provide just a shaded area."

And solar screens…they sell miles of them, and hundreds of poles and corners to hold them up. And Burning Man is why you'll find costumes in a surplus store. The shopping goes all year for the big show, but it’s about to get crazy. Jason has only one thing on his mind: how are they going to keep from running out of goggles? As he told us, "I think by now everybody knows you better take these with you. They don't wish, they know!"

Yes they'll be busy, but they look forward to this every year. Burners are their favorite customers…and not just because of how much they buy.

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