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WHERE ARE YOU SPENDING YOUR 4TH OF JULY?

Sparks Fireworks tower crowdThis year Reno Tahoe USA is hosting some of the top Independence Day events and pyrotechnic displays in the nation. It’s a tough call deciding which of these parties to crash but we’ve tried to make it easy for you to see what each event has to offer.

LAKE TAHOE

July 1-4, the fifth annual Red, White and Tahoe Blue celebration in Incline Village offers the perfect getaway for families. They’ve got a patriotic chalk drawing contest, beer tastings, firecracker trail trek, and even a doggie dress up contest for your pup. Needless to say, if you’re looking for a jam-packed weekend with the fam, look no further – after you finish reading this post, of course.

cushingcrossing_tom-oneillpc

We can’t forget about the 70 feet of snowfall last winter quite yet. Both Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley USA are reopening for the weekend offering discounted tickets and wrapping up the season with huge 4th of July parties. Squaw will also host the famed 21st annual Lake Cushing Crossing on July 3. No one does pond-skimming quite like Squaw Valley. Perhaps it is because men and women in Reno Tahoe are a little more daring, a little more agile and a little better on sticks. Or maybe, it’s because the Cushing Crossing is held on a real pond, rather than a tarp-lined ditch or kiddie pool. We don’t really need a reason; we do it the way we want.

Other local Lake Tahoe events include Tahoe City celebrating 65 years of fireworks at Commons Beach, July 4, and Kings Beach hosting their annual firework display and deck party at the North Tahoe Event Center on July 3.

SPARKS

Experience the biggest 4th of July party in the region, Star Spangled Sparks, at the Sparks Marina. Join thousands to celebrate our freedom at this FREE all day event. Rise bright and early for free hot air balloon rides at 6am and a three dollar all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. The excitement continues during the day with a fun-run around the Sparks Marina, bounce houses and a ride area for the kids. Later that evening, witness a military flyover moments before the longest and most spectacular pyrotechnic display in the region, you won’t want to miss this 11th annual celebration.

VIRGINIA CITY

Virginia City made the list for the “Top 10 Fourth of July Fireworks 2011.” For us this comes as no surprise as every year thousands journey to the famous, historical city. The event begins with a parade downtown around noon and ends with the Comstock Cowboys performing at dusk along with an extensive fireworks show. The last time Virginia City had this many explosives was back when the city was first discovered as a gold mining jackpot.

PYRAMID LAKE

Do you want to be the party planner? The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe welcomes all those who want to throw their own 4th of July party. Summer season fireworks are now on sale for use on the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation in designated areas. Create your own fireworks show over North America’s most beautiful desert lake!

Shakespeare on the Lake: A magical evening of ‘Much Ado’

much_ado_about_nothing_webEvery year, the shore of Sand Harbor in Incline Village transforms into a playground for the arts, as the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival takes center stage with beautiful Lake Tahoe and perfect “Mid-summer night” sunsets to make it all the more magical.

We had occasion on July 29 to take in a performance of “Much Ado About Nothing,” a Shakespearian love story with all of the twists, turns and bumbling characters typical of the Bard’s work. In addition to unique portrayals, including modern references and musical interludes, the troupe nailed their timing and didn’t hesitate to bring the audience into the production on occasion.

Although the atmosphere is casual – a laid-back amphitheatre setting with concessions – there is no sacrifice made for quality. Theater buffs will be pleasantly surprised as characters like Beatrice and Benedick, Don Pedro and Claudio, and of course the lovely Hero, come to life. Borachio and Conrade provide frequent comic relief as clumsy Mafiosos.

This year’s Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival runs through Aug. 23, with performances of “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Measure for Measure,” as well as the Urban Village Music Series on Monday nights. Tickets are reasonable, guests are encouraged to bring picnics … and where else can you put your toes in the sand while watching Shakespeare?

For more information, log on to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival Web site. Don’t miss one of Reno Tahoe’s great annual events.

Shakespeare swings into Sand Harbor

One of the privileges that comes with living in the Reno-Tahoe area is the easy access to great events at great places.

Every summer The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival offers the best of the Bard in a surreal setting – a stage at Incline Village’s Sand Harbor with the lake as a backdrop. This year, through Aug. 17, the festival offers two of Shakespeare’s most beloved works, “Richard III” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Also check out “Cambio” the musical based on the Victor Hugo novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Every year locals and visitors take the short drive to Sand Harbor to enjoy a glass of wine, a picnic and a perfect Tahoe summer breeze while taking in the show. Come check it out if you can make it – the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is a great tradition that only gets better every year.

For a complete schedule of show times, seating and ticket information, check out www.laketahoeshakespeare.com.

- Jim Scripps