Water Safety During the Reno River Festival - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Water Safety During the Reno River Festival

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It's a sight that Neil Horning, event organizer of the Reno River festival has never seen. This year a powerful Truckee river is moving through the city, the same weekend as one of Reno’s premier spring events.

"We took this event over a couple years ago and we had no water," says Horning. “So to see this two years later, it's just crazy, it's fantastic."

However, stronger water also means new challenges for event organizers and first responders. Chief Dave Cochran with the Reno Fire Department says this year more Reno fire firefighters will be patrolling the event and warning the public of the water's dangers.

"The recommendation really is for citizens, the general public to stay out of the river," says Cochran.

The only people encouraged to enter the river are the festival's main competitors, who are a few dozen of the world's top white water athletes.

Noah Fraser, the Reno River Festival Competitions Director says the athletes are trained to take on the river's current class two rapids and also have the gear to back it up.

"Everyone here is used to doing this, it's their job and this is just fun for them," says Fraser.

Over its 14 years, the river festival has attracted thousands with more than just its namesake, but this year the fire department wants the river to be number one on everyone's mind.

"It's not too hard to really come down and enjoy the event while being safe, all it means is staying away from the river, make good choices and do the right thing," says Cochran.

The Reno River Festival will be taking place May 13th and 14th. Entrance to the event is free, but festival goers are encouraged to donate a dollar to the One Truckee River Project.

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