40th Annual Great Italian Festival in Reno brings the sights, sounds and flavors of Italy

Big Italian Festival in Reno, NV

October 8th and 9th: Authentic Italian Food, Live Entertainment, Family-Friendly Activities and More!

Reno, Nevada – THE ROW welcomes the Big Italian festival back to downtown Reno, October 8-9. For the 40th year, guests can experience the tastes, sounds and style of Italy right in the heart of guests at The Biggest Little City, celebrating Italian culture, traditions and authentic cuisine.

The fun-filled weekend features home-cooked Italian food, live entertainment, artisan shopping, cook-offs, family-friendly activities and more. The free event is open on Saturday, October 8 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday, October 9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“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 Italian heritage to our hometown here in Reno,” said Gregg Carano, Senior Vice President, Food and Beverage.

“We couldn’t be happier that all these years later the community has gathered around this weekend of food, fun and family. During the Great Italian Festival everyone is part of our family and all Italians.”

Gregory 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 the world bring their recipes to life right on the street for guests to taste. More than 20 families will attend the cook-off each day, and the sauces will be judged by a respected panel of judges.

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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 such as the chicken and parmigiana sandwich, Mama Lisa’s ziti, lasagna, Geno’s famous flatbread, tortellini Eldorado, gnocchi pesto , the famous mushroom ravioli with porcini cream sauce and many other delicious appetizers.

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The cuisine can be paired with refreshing beverages such as Bellinis, specialty cocktails, strawberry basil margaritas, blood orange rosemary cocktails, vodka berry lemonade, Tuscan mules and a wide selection of seltzer and ice cold beers.

Festival Highlights:

  • At the Pasta Stand in front of the Silver Legacy on 4th Street, guests can purchase pasta muffin tins for sauce tasting for $5 daily starting at 2:00 p.m.
  • Grape stomping is fun, free and open to the public on Saturday from 11am to 5pm and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm.
  • A children’s play zone directly across from Circus Circus on Fifth Street features corn hole games, a large slide, camel rides and face painting.
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live entertainment

Guests can enjoy free live entertainment at this year’s festival. Artists featured include Moreno Fruzzetti, Ray Massa’s Eurorhythms, Mbrascatu, Austin Giorgio and others. This year’s festival headliners, Femmes of Rock, will perform on the 4th Street stage on Saturday night. The festival’s entertainment program is subject to change.

More information on the Internet at Big Italian festival.

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