Lisa Lee, organizer of Saturday night's Taste of Downtown, watched a crowd line up for ice cream served by Sierra Glen Restaurant on the lawn of the Nevada Legislature while the 17-piece Mile High Jazz Band played "Fly Me to the Moon."
"It just keeps growing," she said of the fund-raiser for Advocates to End Domestic Violence. "It gets better and better every year."
The first "Taste," held in 1995, featured seven restaurants and one band.
This year, 26 restaurants and 11 musical groups participated.
She said all of the 1,500 tickets had been sold -- making the event a success.
"Of course, until about 1 a.m. the staff will be saying, 'Let's do something different next year.'"
People like Jerry Allred of Carson, however, hope it stays the same. He was enjoying the ribs offered by first-time Taste of Downtown restaurant participant, Cabin in the Sky.
"It's out of this world," he smiled. "I just had the smoky and now I'm going back for the one with sauce."
Allred said he's been getting psyched up for the evening.
"I spent all day watching a barbecue special on the cooking channel," he said.
Another first time participant, Costco, offered a shrimp-and-crab salad with diced Serrano peppers, cilantro, tomato, cucumber and red onions.
"There's a lot of creativity at Costco," said Robert Mancilla, a baker. For desert he offered a crispy flour tortilla with raspberry-chipotle cream cheese and cranberry salsa.
Singer Lori Libbee and her band, Jokers Wild, performed "Me and Bobby McGee" as Lori Marantette from Q's Barbecue made another batch of fresh coleslaw.
"It seems like we're making it every 45 seconds," she laughed.
The event spanned 14 city blocks -- from East Ocean Chinese Restaurant down to Carson Mall's Real Scoop ice cream shop.
At Red's Old 395 Grill Donn Leyba, general manager, was serving up smoked pulled-pork sandwiches.
"And each person gets one of these," he said, holding up a bottle of their "Howlin' Coyote" barbecue sauce.
Cathy Chapman of Genoa was dancing in the parking lot to a version of "Rocky Mountain Way" by Hardrive, a Reno band that played while flanked cardboard cutouts of Chewbacca and James Dean.
"They're happenin'," Chapman said.
Up Carson Street at Comma Coffee, Amber Rubarth was performing songs she wrote on her acoustic guitar.
June Joplin, owner of the coffee shop, was serving a warm three-cheese artichoke dip with toasted bagel chips and creme brulee Italian milkshakes.
Next door at Devincenzi's, Rick and Lisa Miller were serving their huge sausage ravioli -- a recipe handed down in Lisa's family for three generations. The couple is putting the final touches on their new restaurant, which will open for good on the first of July.
The Taste of Downtown is the biggest annual fund-raiser for Advocates to End Domestic Violence.
Sheriff Ken Furlong caught two car thieves in the industrial area before arriving at the event to shake hands.
"I wish we could have more of these," he said while the Carson Feetwarmers played old-time jazz across the street.
"This is the kind of event that makes Carson different from communities all across the country."