PHOTO/DRAGON LIGHTS: The event at May Arboretum in Reno shines every evening July 1 through August 12.

From the Great Western Steam-up at the State Railroad Museum to Lake Tahoe cruises to Vikingsholm and Thunderbird Lodge, area museums, historic sites and public gardens are blooming  with fun events and educational sprees this summer. 

Visitors will be able to: wander down brilliant lantern-lit trails at the Wilbur D. May Arboretum; join the Stewart Indian School Powwow in Carson City; paddle around Lake Tahoe gathering scientific data; and meet historic characters at the Dangberg Ranch in Minden.

Father’s Day Pow Wow

The free Father’s Day Pow Wow gathering at Stewart Indian School in Carson City is a colorful and exciting display of native American dancing, drumming and arts and crafts, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 18 and 10 a.m. Sunday, June 19 and is free and open to the public. The grand entry kicks off at noon Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday. 

Visitors may bring their own chairs and watch more than 200 costumed dancers and drummers from across Northwestern Nevada. Vendors’ booths will offer Native American jewelry, beading supplies, artwork, beaded hats, dream catchers, moccasins and clothing at 30 traditional maker booths. Food booths will offer traditional Indian Tacos and other dishes.

Attendees also are invited to visit the Stewart Indian School cultural center and museum and listen to the stories of students at Nevada’s sole off-reservation Indian boarding school, a monument to students’ resilience to withstand government repression of their languages and cultures. Stewart Indian School, 5500 E. Snyder Ave, Carson City.  Information: (775) 687-7605.

60 years of the Sparks Nugget

On June 27, 1962, the Circus Showroom at John Ascuaga’s Nugget had its grand opening. Sixty years later, on June 27, 2022, the Sparks Heritage Museum will celebrate the anniversary with the unveiling of one of the newest artifacts added to the Sparks Museum’s collection: the Celebrity Postcard Sign, which was located for many years outside the Circus-Celebrity Showroom doors at the Sparks Nugget.

Karen Burns of Karen Burns Productions facilitated the acquisition of the Celebrity Postcard Sign for the museum. Burns will have several costumes on display during this event inspired by The International Follies – the show that opened The Circus Showroom on that historic night. She also will share stories based on her more than 40-year connection to the Nugget.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for complementary wine and cheese. The artifact will be unveiled at 6 p.m. followed by a presentation by Karen Burns and Greg Hoff.

Circumnavigate Lake Tahoe

Calling all kayakers!  Paddlers are invited to see beautiful Lake Tahoe shores in the company of fellow kayakers and marine scientists from the University of California, Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center at Incline Village.

Each day of the event, June 20-26, participants will cover six to 13 miles of shoreline in a counterclockwise direction.  They will be accompanied by scientific experts who will illustrate how data collected is used to restore Lake Tahoe and who will help participants conduct measurements under their guidance.

To make the event easier to navigate, kayakers get shuttle service from takeout points back to their cars.  The recommended watercraft is a sit-inside sea kayak which can be paddled 5 miles in 2 hours or less. Watercraft must be clean, drained and dried. Participants must be 15 years or older. Paddlers younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Join the scientific team by downloading the Citizen Science Tahoe App before registration at  The app makes it easy to make reports of water quality, algae growth, litter, invasive weeds, pollution and weather conditions.  

Snacks and drinks are available daily, with a breakfast on June 20 and a celebration in the afternoon of the last day, June 26.  Non-refundable fees are $50 per day for one to three days, or $200 for four or more days. For more information and to register, visit

Lavender Day, dragon nights

The May Arboretum Society’s Annual Lavender Day is scheduled for Saturday, July 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden at the east side of Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno.

Ten varieties of lavender plants will be available to purchase – all chosen for growth in  Northern Nevada’s climate. Experienced gardeners will also be on hand to provide growing tips for our area. Visitors may purchase fresh lavender products and natural bath and body products as well as essential oils, candles, and edible products made or infused with lavender, jewelry, garden art and stakes, fairy garden accessories, and more. Live music is featured at the event, with local musical groups including the High Desert Harmony Chorus. Snacks, including cold drinks and homemade lavender lemon bars, will be available.

The Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a living plant museum with over 4,600 native and adaptive plant species on display on 13 of its 23 total acres. It is located in a transitional zone between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin Desert.

PHOTO/DREAMSTIME: A field of lavender in bloom.

Dragon Lights return

The Botanical Garden will glow with Dragon Lights every night from July 1 through Aug. 12 when the walkways will be lit by 42 larger-than-life lantern sculptures made of steel, fabric and thousands of LED lights.  Themes this year include Asian Culture, Ocean World and Prehistoric Animals. A new feature this year is an interactive playground with displays that visitor can touch, play with, and even sit on.   

Tickets are $20 adults, $15 for children, $55 for a family or for an individual season pass. For more information and tickets, visit The public is urged to buy tickets online in advance, because each night’s tickets may sell out and there is a surcharge for walk-up purchases. $55 tickets are not available at walk-up booth.

A gathering of steam engines

Celebrate America’s Independence Day at the Great Western Steam-Up in Carson City July 1 to July 4 at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, 2180 S. Carson St. in Carson City.  Visitors will witness a pageant of steam locomotives, train rides, food, live entertainment, steam-powered fire pumpers, tractors and automobiles on display, and “lost art” demonstrations like knifemaking and blacksmithing.

For the 150th anniversary of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad completion, the museum has corralled the largest reunion of existing V&T locomotives under steam including the famous Reno, No. 11, along with more than 10 locomotives from six historic Nevada railroads.  

Some locomotives known as local favorites will be featured: the iconic Inyo, Virginia & Truckee No. 25, and the Glenbrook locomotive of the Carson & Tahoe Lumber & Fluming Co., once parked at the Nevada State Museum for years, now restored to working status by the railroad museum shop.

Early-bird tickets are $29 per adult and $10 per child per day. Prices will be higher at the door and may sell out before the event begins. Regular admission hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Upgrades include VIP early admission tickets at $50 for admission two hours early for photographs of steam-up operations and a guided tour. (limited to 50 guests per day).  A $75 VIP Special Excursion ticket entitles visitors to a 30-minute special train ride at noon daily. Tickets are also available for $150 to an exclusive V&T 150 dinner on July 2 in the restoration shop. (limited to 90 guests). Tickets and details are online or call the museum at (775) 687-6953.


Tahoe cruises to historic mansions

If you are not into kayaking or strenuous hikes, sail aboard the Tahoe, Cruise Tahoe’s vintage 1950 wooden cruiser, or Action Water Sport’s Rum Runner boat to the famed Vikingsholm Museum at Emerald Bay.  Cruise Tahoe also offers cruises to the Thunderbird Lodge on the east side of Tahoe.

Take a guided tour at the Scandinavian-inspired Vikingsholm Castle, a lavish summer home with beautiful interiors and striking architecture on Emerald Bay.  On Tahoe’s east shore, stroll through the Thunderbird Lodge, George’s Whittell’s retreat with gardens, secret tunnels and the boathouse of the legendary Thunderbird yacht.

The Tahoe departs from Zephyr Cove on the east shore of Lake Tahoe.  For more information, visit Cruise Tahoe at  The Rum Runner boat departs from Camp Richardson in South Lake Tahoe:

Packages include round-trip boat rides and tours inside the historic buildings.  Prices range from $69 to $180. Mask up for the guided tours.  Book in advance to avoid disappointments.

Meet history’s icons at Dangberg Ranch

The historic Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park, 1450 NV Route 88 in Minden, is kicking off the  Dangberg Summer-Festival  beginning June 25 through August. The event features a slate of Chautauqua performers, educational workshops, lectures and more.

The ranch of nearly 50,000 acres was the home of the family that founded the town of Minden.  Admission to the houses and the park is free, but donations are appreciated.  The main ranch house is furnished with period furniture and wall coverings and creates a nostalgic atmosphere.

The Dangberg Association hosts an eclectic and fascinating collection of summer Chautauqua performances, speakers and musicians aimed at delighting, educating and entertaining visitors.  The music ranges from cowboy songs to Cajun/Zydeco on six summer nights from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Featured performers: Lacy J. Dalton, Ciana (Celtic tunes) and the Catahoula Mardi Gras Party Band.  Concerts cost $20 per person or $15 for members.

Doug Mishler as Gen. Eisenhower

Chautauqua experiences enhance everyone’s knowledge and enjoyment of history’s most intriguing figures.  Characters include Mark Twain, Henry VIII, Eleanor Roosevelt, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Eliza Eppinger, who survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  Regional favorites include John “Snowshoe” Thompson.  Performance times from 1-2 p.m. on June 25 and 26, to 6:30-7:30 p.m. performances in July and August. Chautauqua performance admission is $15, $10 members.

Visitors are invited to learn about the unique heritage of the Sierra Nevada region by attending five free talks. Topics include ballooning, films made at the Nevada State Prison, a life of a Dangberg Basque shepherd, reflections of Lake Tahoe and the Lake Tahoe Water Wars.

Come to the CVIC Hall in Minden for the Dangberg Art Round Up onAugust 20, 4-8 p.m. The art auction with prize raffles, music and entertainment raises funds for historic restoration and preservation. Tickets are available now at

A full schedule of Dangberg Ranch events is available at The Dangberg Home Ranch is located at 1450 Nevada State Route 88 in Minden, south of the intersection of State Route 88 and Highway 395.

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