The days are getting shorter, but the spirit of summer is still going strong at “America’s Best Lake” as designated by USA Today readers. From Lake Tahoe’s inaugural crawfish Boil ‘n’ Fry festival to the Labor Day fireworks, Tahoe South has the calendar packed with food festivals, blockbuster outdoor and casino showroom concerts, and athletic events.
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The 28th annual Great Gatsby Festival is a return to the 1920s on the Pope Estate at the Tallac Historic Site, Aug. 10 and 11. Visitors will find antiques, Roaring ’20s-era costumes, live music, interactive historic house tours, vintage auto rides, ice cream, cotton candy and vintage kid’s games.
With Lake Tahoe teeming with crawfish, why not celebrate the tiny fresh water crustaceans with their own festival? MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa fires up the vats and gets the stew pots steaming Aug. 24 with the inaugural Boil ‘n’ Fry Day Festival, featuring fresh crayfish straight out of Lake Tahoe. The all-day festival at the MontBleu Outdoor Event Center features live music by five bands, crawfish fried, boiled or barbecued, carnival and lawn games, a dunk tank, craft beer and a full bar, hot wings, a cool-off zone, cash prizes and raffles.
The third annual Tahoe Show body building and sculpting competition at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa is Aug. 24, and will bring hundreds of the region’s fittest to compete for cash prizes in a judged competition featuring bodybuilding, figure and physique, fitness and bikini. The women’s pro figure segment is International Federation of Body Building and Fitness sanctioned and they’ll compete to win a $6,000 prize.
Described as “The Best in the West” the 24th annual Lake in The Sky Air Show takes flight, Aug. 23 to 25 and features some of the world’s top aircraft performers, radio-controlled demonstrations and military aircraft.
The Valhalla Arts and Music Festival celebrates music and visual arts through fall. In its 33rd year, this event series is set against a Lake Tahoe backdrop and the Tallac Historic Site. It features performances and comedy at the Boathouse Theater, outdoor concerts, festivals, and cultural events.
Tahoe Geotourism Expo celebrates the Eight Worlds of Tahoe: sky, water, land, wildlife, plants, culture, community and heritage, Sept. 7 and 8 at Lakeview Commons, El Dorado Beach. Geotour activities include paddleboard yoga, kayak tours, wildlife viewing, Washoe cultural ceremonies, water science demos, and heritage hikes.
The Sept. 1 Heavenly Mountain Run takes runners from the California Base Lodge at 6,565-feet up to Tamarack Lodge at 9,150. Finishers will be greeted by cheering fans and a post-race spread of food, drinks, and activities for all ages. Runners can enjoy a scenic ride down the Heavenly Gondola back to the base or descend on their own.
Tempt the senses Sept. 1 at the fourth Annual Sample the Sierra, South Lake Tahoe’s only farm-to-fork festival, Labor Day Weekend. Sample the Sierra brings together local chefs, farmers and winemakers in an irresistible tasting trifecta. To complement the infusion of flavors, a marketplace will feature local artists showcasing everything from handmade soaps to jewelry, apparel to fine art.
As dusk arrives Sunday, Sept. 1 at 8:30 p.m., the sky will explode with colors during the Labor Day Weekend Fireworks Extravaganza. The pyrotechnic show features a simultaneous musical broadcast on local radio stations KRLT-FM 93.9 and KOWL-AM 1490. Prime view seating is available on Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, M.S. Dixie II, and Tahoe Queen.
The 21st Great Lake Tahoe Sternwheeler Race churns through the lake’s clear blue waters as the South Shores’ two paddlewheelers, California’s Tahoe Queen and Nevada’s M.S. Dixie II, are pitted against each other on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m. Brunch is served from 10 until 11 a.m. and then departs from respective marinas to battle. The M.S. Dixie II leads the “battle of the paddle,” series 12-8, which is a 4-mile race along the shoreline. Whistles toot while spectators on the beach and boats cheer the victor across the finish line and into a year’s worth of bragging rights. This distinctly Tahoe experience invites passengers to celebrate on either boat while enjoying brunch and drink specials. Tickets are $25 for adults and $13 for children.
Three days of family-style Labor Day weekend action, from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, will be featured at the Heavenly Mountain Base Lodge during the South Lake Tahoe Community Fair. The event will feature a carnival with rides featuring a 40-foot Ferris Wheel, games, pine cone racing; cooking, preserves, flower and art competitions.
Old school cars, hotrods and vintage trucks and motorcycles will be on display at the Heavenly Valley Days of Labor Day Car Show, Aug. 30 through Sept. 2. Festivities include food, a sidewalk sale, trophies and a poker run. The show returns to Heavenly Village, Sept. 13 to 15 for Cool September Days.
The 2013 Harvey’s Outdoor Summer Concert series continues with fun and special guest Tegan and Sara, Aug. 27; Brad Paisley with Chris Young, Lee Brice and the Henningsens, Aug. 30; Dave Matthews Band, Sept. 4; Journey, Sept. 14.
The South Shore Room at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe line-up features: The Sun Kings, Aug. 10; Unauthorized Rolling Stones, Aug. 15; Dickey Betts & Great Southern, Aug. 17; The Spinners, Aug. 24; Dance to the Music: A Salute to the Music of Sly and the Family Stone, Aug. 29; The Mavericks, Aug. 31; The Zombies, Sept. 7; The Yardbirds, Sept. 14; Robert Cray Band, Sept. 21.
MontBleu’s Outdoor Event Center summer concerts conclude with Rebelution and Matisyahu, Aug. 21. The MontBleu Theater hosts Comedian Whitney Cummings, Aug. 9; San Francisco Comedy Competition, Sept. 14; Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell, Oct. 5. At BLU nightclub, shows include Andre Nickatina, Aug. 9; Electrik Blu Full Moon EDM Party, Aug. 21.
Biking and running
Bicycling enthusiasts looking for a beautiful ride can pedal their way around Lake Tahoe at the 11th annual Tour de Tahoe Bike Big Blue to Cure Diabetes, Sept. 8. Circumnavigating the lake, the Tour Blue is a fun ride, not a race, with spectacular scenery, fresh mountain air, rest stops with food and beverages and staffed by volunteers from various organizations and professionally managed by Bike the West. An after ride pool party is at Tahoe South’s Horizon Casino Resort.
More than running occurs at the annual Lake Tahoe Marathon, Sept. 27 to 29. The point-to-point runs pass some of the world’s greatest scenery in both states. Challenges await half and full marathoners as they climb and descend along Lake Tahoe’s western shore in California heading toward South Shore. The run includes the switchback hills near Emerald Bay.
For real-time updates on events, promotions, packages, conditions and events in Tahoe South, The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority is on Facebook at facebook.com/TahoeSouth, Twitter at twitter.com/TahoeSouth, YouTube at youtube.com/LTVA. For Tahoe South information contact 1-800-AT-TAHOE (1-800-288-2463) or tahoesouth.com.