Reno Airport Gets Boost From Burning Man Visitors - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Reno Airport Gets Boost From Burning Man Visitors

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Up to 70,000 people are expected to make their way to the Black Rock Desert for the weeklong Burning Man Festival. 15,000 of them will pass through the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. That's bringing people from about 35 countries from all over the world. As the daily flights come into the Biggest Little City in the World, some colorful characters begin to arrive, like Theresa Galeani. She flew in from Brooklyn, New York.

"It's always really nice, Galeani said. "When you get to the airport, you'll see someone else, dressed ridiculous, and you automatically have a bond with them."

Burners are greeted by volunteers at a welcome area, where information is offered for the event. Justin Sempsrott is a doctor from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who arrived with a mohawk for the occasion.
"It's nice to see like-minded individuals, awaiting your arrival and everybody sharing in the same collective experience," Sempsrott said.  

"Coming from Brooklyn, where it's hard to get a smile on the street, it's nice to get a hug from a stranger, every once in awhile," Laura Budde said.
Burning Man generates an estimated $10 million for the airport, through various fees and sales. It brings extra business and people that the airport staff is glad to have.

"Not only is it one of the single busiest days but I guarantee, no better day for people-watching or even for vehicle-watching because, out on the curb, we get some pretty unusual vehicles and art cars coming by," Heidi Jared, Airport spokesperson said.

Burning Man is a celebration of art, community and self-expression. But a week on the playa requires plenty of supplies. Stores like Save Mart have designated areas that cater to burners. The biggest demand is water, which some buy by the pallet.

"We always stop here and get all of our water," David Christensen, San Francisco burner said. "They have tons of beer, tons of glow sticks, bike baskets, head lamps, everything that we need out there. These guys have a plethora of it set up."

Motor homes and moving vans are common in store parking lots, with people picking up last-minute supplies. The stores are ready for the extra business.

"I think the city has obviously caught on to what people need," Marcel Vandentop, Orlando, Florida burner said. "So there's a lot of services here."

Bicycles are the main mode of transportation, on the playa. In years past, some people have thrown those bikes in the garbage, once they got to the airport. That's why the Reno-Tahoe International Airport is teaming up with the Kiwanis Club to create a designated area, where people can donate those bikes before they fly home.

Burning Man runs from August 25 to September 1.
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