irginia City, Nevada, located just 35 miles from downtown Reno, is known around the world for two things: its authentic history and its quirky, outlandish special events. This year is no different as the town’s 2016 special events calendar includes fan favorites such as the International Camel & Ostrich Races, the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry and several parades as well as a brand new event, a western rodeo in September.
“These special events do a lot to bring visitors from all over the world to our town,” Deny Dotson, tourism director for the Virginia City Tourism Commission, said. “Our goal is to bring folks here, let them experience a little of what we have to offer with a fun event and a good time, but ultimately draw them back with our history, authenticity and the experience of stepping back in time.”
Memorial weekend through October is the busiest season in Virginia City with special events happening nearly every weekend. Below are a few highlights. A complete calendar of events is available online.
25th Annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry, March 12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Virginia City goes nuts for St. Patrick’s Day. Each year more than 20 cooks compete by serving up tasty testes and hope for bragging rights as one of the best Rocky Mountain Oyster cooks in the West. Themed around the Irish holiday, the town literally paints itself green for the festivities along with hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Parade down C Street at noon, the Ball Breaker Saloon Crawl and entertainment into the evening from many of the local watering holes. For more information or to purchase tasting tickets, visit online.
Virginia City Grand Prix, April 30 – May 1
Experience legendary racing in historic Virginia City where thousands of motocross riders challenge themselves in the surrounding hills. Racing takes place both days, visit online for details.
33rd Annual Chili on the Comstock, May 14-15, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
All the favorite flavors return along with the Fireball Saloon Crawl, music and family-friendly activities. The event runs Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For the second year, the Fun With the Runs 5K takes place Sunday, May 15 challenging runners with Virginia City’s famous hills. To purchase tickets in advance or to register for the run, visit online.
Memorial Day Celebration of Heroes Parade, May 28, Noon
The Comstock honors all the men and women of the military who paid the ultimate sacrifice Memorial
Day weekend. This quaint mining town goes all out by displaying flags along C Street honoring those that have died in service and those currently serving all with roots in Virginia City. In addition, the V&T Railroad season kicks off running trains from the Virginia City depot on F Street to Gold Hill and back.
A Taste of the Comstock: Mining, Food & Spirits, June 11, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Experience all of the historic town’s flavors. Mining is on display with hand drilling competitions and tours of the towns rich history. Experience food and drink with sample bites from restaurants and saloons. Relive what it was like during the town’s heyday with whiskey and cigar tastings, staples for anyone working on the Comstock in the late 1800s. Purchase tickets in advance online.
Fourth of July Parade & Fireworks Spectacular, July 4, all day
Fourth of July on the Comstock rocks. Feel the boom of the fireworks in your bones as fireworks echo off Mt. Davidson into Six Mile Canyon below, putting the fireworks right at eye-level. Throughout the day, Virginia City offers an authentic, home-town Independence Day experience with a parade, raffle and auction, the Comstock Cowboys Second Amendment Concert, shopping, train rides and of course the incredible fireworks display at dark. For a full schedule of events, visit online. Watch the video here
57th Annual International Camel & Ostrich Races, Sept. 9-11, noon – 3 p.m.
Each year, jockeys maneuver camels, ostriches and zebras as they race around the track at the Virginia City Arena & Fairgrounds. All the while thousands of spectators are cheering and laughing wondering if the jockeys will cross the finish line. After the races, join the Camel Hump to C Street where thirsty camels have been known to duck into a bar or two. Purchase tickets online.
The Way It Was Rodeo, Sept. 17 -18, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
All NEW, The Way It Was Rodeo delivers an authentic western rodeo to the historic town. Flying U Rodeo, headed by rodeo legend Cotton Rosser, brings a weekend of extreme bronc riding, trick roping, barrel racing, mutton bustin’ and more. Purchase tickets online.
Street Vibrations Fall Rally, Sept. 24
Music, metal and motorcycles fill the streets of Virginia City during the town’s largest event. There’s nothing quite like it and is the place for riders to feel the rumble. More details available online.
27th Annual World Championship Outhouse Races, Oct. 3-4, noon – 4 p.m.
This hysterical Comstock tradition dates back to the day when outdoor plumbing was outlawed and angry residents took their outhouses to the streets. Teams of three are pitted against each other in an all-out potty race! Returning this year is the Undie Run Relay, an all fun relay race for those brave enough to sport undies. To register to race an outhouse or run in the relay, visit online.
For general information on Virginia City, Nevada, visit VisitVirginiaCityNV.com or call the Virginia City Tourism Commission (VCTC) at 775-847-7500.
A short 30-minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport takes visitors to one of the largest historic districts in the Unites States – Virginia City, Nevada. Come experience this mining “boomtown” as it was in the 1800’s. Step back in time while visiting the numerous historic buildings, saloons, churches and museums or take a mine tour or even ride a real steam train. The Comstock Adventure Passes offer the best value with discounted attraction packages. For lodging, event calendar or Comstock Adventure Passes, visit online or call 775-847-7500. The Visitor Information Center is located at 86 South C Street, Virginia City.
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