Autumn is my favorite time of the year because I love when the temperatures gradually get cooler, pumpkins are in season, and there are lots of fun and friendly events going on in Sparks — without the huge crowds.
Here are some of the best places to eat, drink, dine, and play all month long in the friendly City of Sparks:
Oct. 5-6: Southern Fare on the Square in Victorian Square
Starting at 11am on Saturday and Sunday, October 5-6, the Nugget Casino Resort is bringing back Southern Fare on the Square to Victorian Plaza with free outdoor concerts all day at the Nugget Event Center, crafts, and food/drink vendors serving up Southern flavors and good hometown hospitality. All weekend long bands such as Washboard, Mumbo Gumbo, Southbound (the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute band), St. Gabriel Celestial Brass Band, and other local favorites will be rocking Downtown Sparks. For more information visit www.nuggetcasinoresort.com.
Oct. 12: Andelin Family Farm Pumpkin Patch
What better time to visit the Andelin Family Farm but in the fall, when families can enjoy hayrides, meet friendly farm animals and pick their own pumpkins. On October 12, the Andelin Family Farm, up on Pyramid Way on the cusp of Spanish Springs, offers all these things, along with a straw bale maze, human-sized hamster wheel, kids corn maze, lassoing, barrel train rides, and more. Explore the farm for only $8 per person; children 2 and under are free. https://www.andelinfamilyfarm.com/
Oct. 20: Run for Education at the Sparks Marina
As one of the biggest annual running events in Northern Nevada, the Education Alliance’s Run for Education focuses on promoting fitness for runners of all ages, with a special emphasis on students and families. Enjoy a competitive 4k timed run around the Sparks Marina, a fun run, or the untimed Sparks Marina March. Race entry fees go directly into participating Washoe County schools to support nutrition and physical education initiatives. https://ed-alliance.org/about/programs-and-initiatives/run-for-education/
Oct. 20: PumpkinPalooza in Victorian Square
After running around the Sparks Marina with fellow families at the Run for Education, head over to Victorian Square to enjoy pumpkin-centric festivities at the annual PumpkinPalooza. Activities include spooky stories told in the haunted schoolhouse, pumpkin decorating in the pop-up beauty salon, more than 20 carnival-style games, and the popular Pumpkin Derby. Named a top fall event by the Food Network, people can also participate in a pie-eating contest or pumpkin seed spitting contest, zombie walk, or mummy wrapping contest. Attracting more than 1,500 people per year, more and more locals and guests are flocking to PumpkinPalooza, thought up by the residents of the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living to help spark the imaginations of kids of all ages. For a full list of events, visit https://www.pumpkinpalooza.org/.
Oct. 31: Safe Trick or Treating at The Outlets at Legends
On Halloween evening, take your ghosts and goblins to The Outlets at Legends for some fun and safe trick or treating. From 4pm-6pm, kids can go around to the outdoor shopping mall’s retailers for some tasty sugary treats and even enter a costume contest to be held outside of Scheels at 5pm. Masks, weapon props, or face coverings are not permitted. For more information, visit experiencelegends.com.
The Place to Stay, Play and Eat — Western Village
Last month, I treated myself to a little one-night “staycation” in Sparks and meandered over to the Western Village to rest my head after a day of running around. This place did not disappoint. Located off McCarran Boulevard next to the west end of the Sparks Marina, Western Village offers a casino, restaurants, and hotel lobby in one building and a cluster full of refurnished rooms in another building closest to the marina. The room I booked for $59 had a Keurig coffee maker, flat screen TV, and the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in.
The next morning, after attending the Great Reno Balloon Race, I redeemed my free drink coupon in one of the fancy casino bars and had a shrimp and ham omelet (above) at the Café Bellini.
Even as I was leaving Western Village, I spotted people perched at $2 blackjack tables and was bummed that I had to leave so soon. https://www.westernvillagesparks.com