The 2018 Christmas season is upon us, with a bunch of holiday season events and activities coming to the Reno / Sparks area.

Some of the early December things you may want to check out include performances of “The Nutcracker,” Christmas shows at some of the casinos, free holiday movies and Santa visits at the Washoe County Library, Christmas music performances, and Christmas on the Comstock in Virginia City. There are Santa train rides at the Nevada Railroad Museum in Carson City and on the V&T Railroad in Virginia City.

Thanks to recent storms, there is plenty of snow for you to hit the ski slopes and/or enjoy family fun at our nearby snow play areas. The Downtown Reno Ice Rink at Greater Nevada Field will be open daily throughout the Christmas holidays.

You don’t need a bunch of money to enjoy the season, either. There are plenty of free holiday activities during December and other things to do that are inexpensive. Learn more from “Christmas Events and Activities around Reno and Sparks.”

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It’s not necessary to head out to the Christmas tree lots and spend big bucks for a fresh-cut Christmas tree.

Going out to get your own Christmas tree on public land can be a fun family outing and adventure. We have plenty of public land in northern Nevada for this activity, with most of it administered by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Both agencies currently have Christmas tree cutting permits for 2018 available to the public.

You can obtain permits for several types of trees, including various species of pine, cedar, fir, and juniper. Cutting areas are located around Lake Tahoe, in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, and on land administered by the Nevada BLM Carson City District. For more information about obtaining permits and where to get trees, refer to “Christmas Tree Cutting Permits.”

The 2018 Fall Fish Festival is Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7. This free annual event at Lake Tahoe offers things of interest for both kids and adults, and gives everyone a chance to learn more about Kokanee salmon and other fish swimming the waters of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Taylor Creek Visitor Center is the location for the Fall Fish Festival. Besides a chance to watch bright red salmon on their fall spawning run, the event includes lots of activities for children, informational booths by various agencies involved with wildlife and Lake Tahoe, and food and drink vendors. You can take a stroll on the Rainbow Trail to the stream profile chamber and see what life is like below the surface of Taylor Creek.

Taylor Creek Visitor Center is three miles north of the town of South Lake Tahoe on Hwy. 89 (locally known as Emerald Bay Road). It is a right turn (toward the lake), just past the Tallac Historic Site turnoff. There is a big parking lot, but it can fill up during the Fall Fish Festival. The best tactic is to get there early. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

Traffic note: Nearby Camp Richardson Resort holds its annual Oktoberfest during this same weekend. Come prepared for extra heavy traffic and be alert for wandering pedestrians.