Everyone’s Italian when THE ROW brings the Great Italian Festival back to downtown Reno this October. For the 39th year, experience the flavors, sounds and style of Italy right in the heart of The Biggest Little City during the Great Italian Festival Oct. 9-10.

Experience a festival unlike any other, as guests celebrate the Italian culture, traditions, and of course, cuisine. The fun-filled weekend will feature homemade Italian food, live entertainment, artisan shopping, family-friendly competitions and more. The free event will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10. 

“The Great Italian Festival is a Carano family tradition! It started almost 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, Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage. “We couldn’t be happier that all these years later, 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!”   

A crowd favorite year after year continues to be the Great Italian Festival Sauce Cook-off. Italian families from across the globe bring their recipes to life right on the street for guests to taste. Over 20 families will compete in the cook-off per day, and sauces will be judged by an esteemed panel of judges. 

No Italian festival would be complete without an array of homemade Italian food. Spectators are invited to “mangia!” – or “eat up!” as the Italians say – with a variety of favorites like Chicken Parmigiana, lasagna, fried calamari, meat ravioli with Bolognese, Tortellini Eldorado, Gnocchetti Pesto, Italian sausage and pepper sandwiches, the ever-famous Mushroom Ravioli with Porcini Cream Sauce and more.  

Cuisine can be paired with refreshing beverages such as Bellinis, specialty cocktails, strawberry-basil margaritas, blood orange rosemary cocktails, vodka-raspberry lemonade, blackberry mojitos and a selection of ice-cold beers.  

Festival Highlights 

  • Guests can purchase pasta muffin tins for sauce tasting for $5 at the pasta booth in front of the Reno Ballroom starting at 12:30 p.m. daily. 
  • Grape stomping is fun, free and open to the public Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Members of the media and local celebrities are invited to stomp on Sunday starting at 11 a.m.  
  • An Italian Farmers Market features fresh produce and trinkets all day Saturday and Sunday.   
  • A children’s gelato-eating contest will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday for kids ages 5-11 at the grape stomp stage. Pre-registration is not required.  
  • Kiddie Land will be located directly across from Circus Circus on Fifth Street with corn hole games, a big slide and face painting. While the adults “mangia” on great Italian food and wine, the kids can play. 

Entertainment Schedule

Rome StageFourth Street and Virginia Street 

Saturday, Oct. 9 

  • 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Primo Basso  
  • 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. | Moreno Fruzzetti 
  • 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. | Ray Massa’s Eurorhythms 
  • 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. | Austin Giorgio 

Sunday, Oct. 10 

  • 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. | Ray Massa’s Eurorhythms 
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Moreno Fruzzetti 
  • 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. | Those Darn Accordions 
  • 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. | Mbrascatu 

Venice Stage — Third Street and Virginia Street 

Saturday, Oct. 9 

  • 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. | Austin Giorgio  
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Mbrascatu  
  • 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. | Those Darn Accordions  
  • 3:30 p.m. –  5 p.m. | Anthony Nino Lane  

Sunday, Oct. 10 

  • 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Primo Basso 
  • 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Anthony Nino Lane 
  • 2 p.m. –  3 p.m. | Ray Massa’s Eurorhythms 
  • 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. | Austin Giorgio 

The schedule is subject to change. For more information on the Italian Festival, visit www.eldoradoreno.com.