Great Italian Festival

Eldorado Great Italian Festival, Oct. 12 & 13

Engelbert Humperdinck and Tony Danza join the celebration with special concerts

RENO, Nev. – For the 38th year, the Eldorado is bringing the sights, sounds and flavors of Italy to THE ROW in the Heart of Reno during the Eldorado Great Italian Festival. Held each year during Columbus Day weekend, the festival is a celebration of Italian culture and traditions and includes live entertainment, a sauce cooking contest and of course, pasta – lots of pasta. Don’t miss the Eldorado Great Italian Festival, Oct. 12 & 13.

Running from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct.12 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, the Eldorado Great Italian Festival transforms the Heart of Reno into Little Italy with a grape stomp, wine walk, an Italian farmers market, children’s gelato-eating contest, food booths and incredible free, live entertainment all weekend long.

Entertainers

The voice that transcends time, Engelbert Humperdinck and one of the world’s most beloved iconic entertainers of the past 40 years, Tony Danza, will make the weekend star-studded with special concerts at Silver Legacy at THE ROW over the weekend. Humperdinck performs Friday, Oct. 11 and Danza on Saturday, Oct. 12. Tickets can be purchased at SilverLegacy.com, by calling 775-325-7401 or in person at the Silver Legacy box office.

Great Italian Festival Sauce Cook-off

A crowd favorite year after year continues to be the Great Italian Festival Sauce Cook-off. Italian families from across the West Coast bring their recipes to life right on the street for guests to taste. Pasta tasting muffin pans with four compartments for storing spaghetti and sauce sampling will be sold for $5 at the pasta booth in front of the Reno Ballroom starting at 12:30 p.m. both days. There will be over 25 participating families per day and sauces are judged by an esteemed panel of judges.

Mangia!

No Italian Festival would be complete without plenty of homemade Italian food. Spectators are invited to “mangia” – or “eat up” as the Italians say with plenty of delicious foods like chicken parmesan, cheese and pepperoni pinsa romana, spaghetti and meatballs, meat ravioli with Bolognese, tortellini Eldorado, Gnocchetti pesto, Italian sausage and peppers sandwiches, fried ravioli, fried calamari, Geno’s flatbread with smoked New York steak and the ever-famous mushroom ravioli with porcini cream sauce.

In addition to the wine walk, food can be paired with refreshing beverages such as bellinis, limencello cocktails, strawberry-basil margaritas, blood orange rosemary cocktails, Moscow and Very berry mules, vodka-raspberry lemonade, blackberry mojitos and a selection of ice cold beers.

Italian dinner buffet

The Eldorado’s famous Italian dinner buffet will be served in the Eldorado Convention Center at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 and in The Buffet on Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13. Guests can enjoy an array of Italian specialties including antipasti, housemade pasta dishes, frutti di mare (pasta pescatore), steak Pizzaiola, chicken Marsala, fritto misto (zucchini, calamari, clams and shrimp) and many others as well as an assortment of homemade Italian salads and desserts, including the Eldorado’s famous gelato, cannoli and tiramisu. Adults are $36.99, ONE Club Chairman/President members $31.99, Gold members $32.99, Silver members $33.99 and children ages four to ten are $15.99.

As family and charitable giving are just as important to Italian culture as the food and wine, the festival will kick-off with the annual Paesano Open Putt for Pets on Oct. 11 at Lakeridge Golf Course. This four person scramble will benefit the Nevada Humane Society. Lunch and registration begins at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Registration information is available by calling 1-866-802-5599.

Festival highlights

  • Pasta muffin tins for sauce tasting will be sold for $5 at the pasta booth in front of the Reno Ballroom starting at 12:30 p.m. daily. Don’t wait, they go fast!
  • Grape stomping is fun, free and open to the public Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Members of the media, politicians and local celebrities stomp Sunday starting at 11 a.m. The grape stomping stage is located on the train trench plaza on the south side of the Eldorado.
  • A wine walk featuring 20 delicious Italian and California wines with unlimited tasting will run from 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for $35 per person, per day or $55 per person for two days. Single glasses will also be sold for $8 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
  • An Italian Farmers Market with fresh fruits and vegetables will run all day Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Eldorado’s Famous Italian Dinner Buffet will be served in the Eldorado Convention Center at 4 p.m. on Saturday and in The Buffet Saturday and Sunday. Adults are $36.99, ONE Club Chairman/President members $31.99, Gold members $32.99, Silver members $33.99 and children ages four to ten are $15.99.
  • A children’s gelato-eating contest will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday for kids ages five through 11 at the grape stomp stage. No pre-registration required.
  • Kiddie Land will be located directly across from the Eldorado on Virginia St. with corn hole games, a big slide and face paitning. While the adults mangia on great Italian food and wine, the kids can play.