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My Top 5 Picks for a Reno Fourth of July

It’s hard to believe that the year is half over and tomorrow we will celebrate Independence Day! When it comes to Fourth of July in the Biggest Little City there a ton of (mostly free!) activities for families. Here are my top 5 picks for celebrating ‘Merica’s birthday:

tahoe-fireworks1. Head to the lake.

With the record highs these last few days, this pregnant mama is pretty focused on staying cool. What better place than Lake Tahoe? If you don’t mind the traffic or crowds, the mountains offer a great reprieve from the heat and the chilly Tahoe water doesn’t hurt either. My favorite Fourth of July memory is from Zephyr Cove because the water was so warm! Or maybe the beach was soooooo hot?! There are a ton of options in Tahoe including Lights on the Lake, the paddlewheelers (check out this post by Vanessa V. for tips on taking kids on this excursion) and the Red, White and Tahoe Blue Festival in Incline Village.

Lake Tahoe Fourth of July info here.

2. Have a Hometown Star-Spangled Celebration.

If your Fourth of July won’t be complete without a sensational fireworks display head to Star Spangled Sparks for one of the region’s largest. Fireworks are shot off the top of the Nugget and begin at 9:45 p.m. If anything after 8 p.m. is a little late for your family, then rest assured that Star Spangled Sparks offers activities all day beginning with an 8 a.m. Fun Run/Walk and followed with the Model Dairy Milk Carton Boat Regatta and Sparks Idol contest.

More info on Star Spangled Sparks here.

3. Throw a Pinterest-inspired Fourth of July party.

This year my husband and I are taking the party route and throwing a Sweet & Spicy Fourth of July BBQ. All of my inspiration has come from Pinterest. I mean all of it. We’ve asked our guests to bring a sweet dish if their last name begins with A-M and spicy if they are N-Z. We’ll (and by we’ll I mean Mr. Durtty) will be grilling up something wonderful. I’ll be playing Mixologist and making up my favorite Sangria recipe for the guests who can partake (sad face…none for me this year). My favorite Sangria recipe is below.

Here’s a link to the Reno Moms Blog Fourth of July Party Pinterest Board. 

4. Set off your own fireworks.

Before you think I’m encouraging you to break the law there is actually one place close to our area where you can purchase and set off your own fireworks. For kids raised in the Great Basin, setting off your own fireworks can be a special treat. There are four designated areas on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Reservation where fireworks are legal. You’ll receive a permit when purchasing fireworks on the reservation, but remember that they are still illegal every where else.

 Pyramid Lake Fireworks

5. Virginia City

It’s been a long time since I’ve been up to Virginia City and it’s one of those short, local trips that I can’t wait to try with my son. This year there’s an activity for every member of the family starting at noon with a Fourth of July parade (for the little ones), a Wine Walk (for mama) and the Shoot-Out on the Hill (for dad).


Sangria from Eddie Ross

Don’t be embarrassed when your guests ask you the ingredients in this tasty Sangria. It has never let me down and there’s never a single drop left at any of my shindigs.

Eddie Ross Sangria
Photo Courtesy of Eddie-Ross.com

White Wine (or try a nice Rose)
Fresca – Any flavor, but Original is my favorite.
Fresh Fruit – This time of year try fresh peaches, nectarines, grapes, and berries.

Cut up the fresh fruit. Pour the bottle of wine and Fresca into container of your choice. Add fruit. Mix it up. Impress your guests with this refreshing brew.


About Jenny Petty

Jenny Petty
Jenny Petty is the co-founder of Reno Moms Blog. She grew up in rural Nevada and married frugal-outdoorsman-handyman Travis in 2010. They have a 3 year old son, Henry, and welcomed a sweet baby girl, Claire, last year. 40+ hours a week she works in digital marketing and when she isn't sleeping she likes to dabble in crafting, updating her blog Tales of a Durtty Home, reading anything not written by Dr. Seuss or Eric Carle, and pretending to be Martha Stewart (the one on TV, not the one that went to jail). At the top of her long list of loves is traveling, adventures, mojitos, horses, spa days, her baby boy's laugh and dates nights with her husband, Mr. Durtty.

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