Labor Day a boon for Reno-area hotels

RENO - The last vacation weekend of summer brought throngs of people to northern Nevada, creating crowds at most Reno-area hotels.

And with tourist-drawing special events coming up, tourist officials were hopeful for a successful September.

''We had an excellent weekend,'' said Steve Trounday, spokesman for Fitzgeralds Casino and Hotel. ''We sold out all weekend.

''September is our busiest month with the balloon races, air races and Street Vibrations. So, it was a good start to what we hope will be a good month.''

Trounday suspected cooler than average temperatures and a Friday night mountain snowstorm may have convinced some people to stay inside casinos.

''If they couldn't enjoy a beach or a campsite, maybe they came to Reno instead,'' he said.

In Sparks, the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off drew an estimated 200,000 visitors to the downtown plaza.

''We had a huge weekend,'' said Mike Greenan, spokesman for John Ascuaga's Nugget said. ''I think it was a big weekend for everybody.''

Near Gerlach, more than 25,000 independent souls gathered in the Black Rock Desert for the 15th annual Burning Man celebration of art and radical self-expression.

The week-long event that culminates with the burning of a 52-foot tall wooden man ended Saturday.

Traffic flowed smoothly Monday as droves of visitors left the northern Nevada region, California and Nevada highway patrols dispatchers said. No major accidents were reported.


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