Introduction to Sparks, Nevada
The Nevada city of Sparks, part of Washoe County, is located in the Truckee Meadows of northwestern Nevada between the Carson and Virginia Mountain Ranges, only 4 miles east of Reno and about 12 miles from the California border. Perched at an elevation of 4,500 feet, the city is bisected by Interstate I-80. Named for former Nevada Governor John Sparks, the city which at various times had been called East Reno, New Wadsworth, and Harriman became incorporated as the City of Sparks in 1905. Although originally distinct from Reno, the city has grown close to its western neighbor to the point where today they are often referred to as a twin city ("Reno-Sparks").
Things to do in and near Sparks
Sparks is widely known as the premiere special events venue for much of northern Nevada. "Arts in Bloom", a Mothers Day festival held at the Sparks Marina Park, features artwork, food and entertainment. "Star Spangled Sparks" is a Fourth of July celebration which includes a milk carton boat regatta, a kite flying contest, arts and crafts, entertainment, food, and drink. Labor Day weekend is the setting for the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off, an event which draws an estimated 400,000 people annually who come to enjoy the free entertainment, fun events, and who get to taste and compare the fantastic food. Oktoberfest is a fall event celebrating the sights and smells of Bavaria and featuring musical entertainment. On Thanksgiving Day, Sparks hosts its annual Turkey Trot, where participants can work off their Thanksgiving dinner by choosing between a 2-mile walk and a 2-mile or 10K (6.2 mile) run. The Sparks Hometown Farmers Market, held every Thursday evening from June through August, features fresh picked produce from some of the region's finest growers, a variety of international food and beverage, arts & crafts, stage music, and street performers.
The Sparks-Reno area is filled with entertainment and cultural sites. Gaming action is available at many local casinos, and the area includes museums and other attractions as well. Here are a few of the area's points of interest:
- John Ascuaga's Nugget
- Silver Club Hotel/Casino
- Western Village Inn & Casino
- Mint Casino
- Rail City Casino
- Victorian Penny Park
- Tamarack Junction
- Sparks Heritage Foundation and Museum
- Atlantis Casino Resort (Reno)
- Fleischmann Planetarium (Reno)
- National Automobile Museum (Reno)
- Nevada Historical Society (Reno)
- Nevada Museum of Art (Reno)
- Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery (Reno)
- Wilbur D. May Museum (Reno)
- W.M. Keck Museum (Reno)
Sports fans can take the very short trip to Sparks' neighboring city of Reno, home of the University of Nevada, Reno and its Wolf Pack athletic teams. The Wolf Pack participates in the NCAA's Division I (I-A for football) as members of the Western Athletic Conference. Reno is also the hometown of a minor league baseball team, the Reno Silver Sox. The Sox are an independent team playing in the Golden Baseball League (GBL). In 2006, their inaugural season, the Silver Sox won the GBL Championship.