Organizers of the 20th Carson City Rendezvous at Mills Park said there might have been 10,000 more people than expected at the weekend event.
"We were thinking we might get 30,000 -- that was our high-end estimate," said Maxine Nietz, resident agent for event organizers the Arlington Group.
"But judging by what I've seen today, if this continues we could have 40,000. It's huge this year."
Cars were trolling lots and side streets for 15 minutes in their search for parking Saturday. The Rendezvous continues today.
The event, annual since 1983, celebrates Carson City's history and heritage, according to a message by Mayor Ray Masayko in the Rendezvous "Passport" program. While strolling amid the falling white tufts from the cottonwood trees, people used their programs to collect stamps from vendors. After they filled their passports with destinations, they received a free gift from organizers.
One of the 120 vendors they could have seen was the Salt City Candles booth run by Guy and Emma Nichols of Carson City. Guy fed bits of Indian Taco to his green-winged macaw "Malibu" while behind him the Latin Energy Dancers performed on the Pueblo de Nevada stage. Then 15-year-old Carson High School student Rosella Nunez danced and sang "Tejano" songs with a cordless microphone.
Battling the cottonwood fluff was bare-chested Dan Lewis at the Snowshoe BBQ Catering grill.
He swatted at the falling fluff with a spatula as it floated toward his tri-tip, chicken, and smoked ribs. His booth was busy Saturday.
"We had 170 pounds of meat cooked at 11 a.m. and it was gone in hour," he said. "We shut down for 30 minutes just to get our meat caught back up."
A thunderous boom echoed across the park.
"God, I love that," Lewis said, squinting over his shoulder.
It was Civil War re-enactors with the Second U.S. Regiment, Sykes Regulars, firing their cannon.
Watching their drill was Roonie Hogan, a six-year Carson resident.
"It's much better than last year," she said of their encampment with more than 20 tents. "The cottonwood we could do without, but that's OK," she smiled.
Up the path in the mountain man encampment Bill Burleigh of Gabbs was making obsidian knife blades. He uses a 24-inch diamond saw blade to cut blanks, then "knaps" the volcanic glass with copper-tipped tools.
In a large enclosed tent the BAC Stage Kids were performing their show "Why the Coyote Yodels." They did three shows Saturday and will perform two today.
Across the dry stream from their tent Gary Jackson of Nevada Camel Company in Mound House has two of his 10 camels available for rides. Michael and Milagro -- both about 15 years old -- were hauling single riders around a fenced area for $3 or two riders for $5.
"The weather's been perfect," said Jackson while laying on the lawn. "If you could talk the cottonwoods into cuttin' loose a few less pieces of cotton that would be nice."
Francine Tohannie and Keith Andren of Fallon were leading families in traditional American Indian dances. Their group, Sage Spirit Dancers, does exhibition dances and drumming for school and community groups.
There have been no problems so far at the Rendezvous, according to Carson City Sheriff's Office Reserve Mounted Deputy Tom Lindley.
The Rendezvous continues today at Mills Park with Civil War battles, Pony Express riders and buck skinning demonstrations.