Reno River Festival returns to Wingfield Park

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Truckee River is reaching record levels as it flows through downtown Reno.

"It's running fast and strong at about 6,000 cubic feet per second. That's about five times what's normal for this time of year," said Reno Fire Chief Dave Cochran. "These are historic flows that I've never seen in my career."

Organizers with this weekend's Reno River Festival are expecting more than 35,000 people at the event in Wingfield Park.

"We have a full slate of live music, a professional kayaking competition, more than a hundred vendors, a kids village, shopping, a craft beer area, everything," said Neil Horning of Liquid Blue Events. "This is a kickoff to the event season and it's one of the best events in town."

The whitewater is good news for the professional boaters.

"With the river so high they can't be more excited about the competition; it's just going to be a great weekend," Horning said.

But the Truckee continues to be a concern for first responders.

"We've had several river rescues and we've also taken care of some equipment that's been lost on the river, some kayaks and rafts where people have lost them and we don't want them going in trying to rescue that equipment," Cochran said. "No life is worth the equipment."

The Reno Fire Department's WET team has been training in these conditions for weeks and they're staffing up for the festival.

"We're going to have six people on duty, WET team members in their gear ready to react at a moment's notice," Cochran said. "Come down, enjoy the festival, but be safe around the water. That means don't get too close because you could slip inadvertently; the rocks are wet and that water can sweep you away in an instant."

This is the 14th year for the festival. It runs though Sunday.