Great Italian Festival in Reno, NV

Experience Italy in the heart of The Biggest Little City

Reno, Nev. – THE ROW welcomes the Great Italian Festival back to the streets of downtown Reno Oct. 7-8. For the 41st year, guests can experience Italy’s rich culture and cuisine right in the heart of The Biggest Little City.

The fun-filled weekend will feature homemade Italian food, a wine walk, non-stop live entertainment, artisan shopping, cooking competitions, a grape stomping competition and other fun activities for the entire family to enjoy. The free event will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8.

“The Great Italian Festival is a Carano family tradition. It started four decades ago with my father, Don Carano, and his desire to bring the authentic, rich cuisine of our heritage in Italy to our hometown here in Reno,” said Gregg Carano. “We couldn’t be happier that after all these years, the community has rallied around this weekend of food, fun and family.”

“During the Great Italian Festival, everyone’s a part of our family, and everyone’s Italian!”

Gregg Carano

Great Italian Festival Sauce Cook-off

The Great Italian Festival Sauce Cook-off continues to be a crowd favorite every year. Italian families from all over prepare and serve their sacred family recipes for guests to taste. More than 20 families will compete in the cook-off on both Saturday and Sunday, and each sauce will be judged by an esteemed panel of judges.

walking downtown Reno along Truckee River

New! Wine Walk

New to this year’s festival is the Wine Walk. Wine Walk attendees will have the opportunity to sample a dozen different types of wines representing various regions of Italy paired perfectly with a small hors d’oeuvre. The Wine Walk will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Locomotion Plaza. Guests will also experience interactive zones within the Wine Walk area offering various hangout zones and lawn games. Wine walk participants will receive a commemorative 2oz tasting glass. Wristbands for the Wine Walk begin at $25 per person and are available for purchase online. Participants must be 21+ and will have to show a valid ID to receive their Wine Walk wristband.

Mangia!

No Italian festival would be complete without an array of authentic Italian cuisine. Spectators are invited to “mangia!” – or “eat up!,” as the Italians say – with a variety of favorites like the chicken parmigiana sandwich, artichokes, Italian sausage, lasagna, Geno’s famed flatbread, tortellini Eldorado, gnocchetti pesto, the famous mushroom ravioli with porcini cream sauce and many other delicious bites.

Cuisine can be paired with refreshing beverages such as bellinis, limoncello, espresso martinis, strawberry basil margaritas, vodka berry lemonade, seltzer, ice-cold beer and other non-alcoholic options.

Reno sign

Festival Highlights 

  • Guests can purchase pasta muffin tins for sauce tasting for $5 at the pasta booth in front of the Silver Legacy on 4th Street starting at 12:30 p.m. daily.
  • Grape stomping is fun, free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
  • A kid’s play zone directly across from Circus Circus on Fifth Street offers corn hole games, a big slide and face painting.

Guests may enjoy free, live entertainment at this year’s festival. Featured performers include Moreno Fruzzetti, Ray Massa’s Eurorhythms, Mbrascatu, Anthony Nino Lane and others. This year’s festival headling acts include Kiki Bello from the Femmes of Rock and Super Diamond a Neil Diamond Tribute Band. The festival’s entertainment lineup is subject to change. For more information, visit the Great Italian Festival.

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