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The ultimate guide to Tahoe summer festivals

Natasha Bourlin  |

We all dance when nobody is watching at times. It’s almost like a dog wagging its tail — sometimes, the experiential bliss just can’t be physically contained, or the music simply takes hold.

That’s what happens at summer festivals in Lake Tahoe. First, corners of mouths start turning up. Depending on the type of festival, toes start tapping, heads start swaying, hands clap, some howls of happiness may be heard, and, at times, dogs head downward — literally and figuratively. And that’s just in the crowd. Kudos to those that do all this on a stage.

Get your groove, brews, bikes, bard, paws and sun salutations on at these Tahoe festivals. Here, you can unabashedly sync your sways, clink your glasses and barrel down mountainsides — sometimes all in one day.

Valhalla Renaissance Faire

Get out the Elizabethan garb and step back in time with a weekend filled with jousting, swordplay, magicians, actors, educational demos, food and beverages and much more.

When and Where: June 10 & 11, Camp Richardson Resort, South Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Brewfest

This inaugural celebration of brews on Tahoe’s south shore will feature samples from up to 13 local breweries, live music, food, shopping and family friendly games. Proceeds go to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe.

When and Where: June 10, Swiss Chalet, South Lake Tahoe

Thunderbird Paddling Festival

Finding balance is of the utmost importance at this stand-up paddleboard (SUP) festival that features competitions, gear testing, vendor expos, four- and eight-mile races and SUP education.

When and Where: June 10, Sand Harbor State Park, Incline Village

Alpenglow Mountain Festival

Mountain runs, rock climbing, yoga, stand-up paddle boarding and more — revel in the Lake Tahoe lifestyle at the fifth annual Alpenglow Mountain Festival. More than 50 outdoor-focused events, presentations and clinics will take place around the north shore, covering everything from safety to stargazing. Events are geared to beginner to intermediate skill levels.

When and Where: June 17-25, North Lake Tahoe

Peaks and Paws

Dogs can get down, with their owners in tow, at the 8th annual Peaks and Paws Festival. Two days of live music, food, wine and beer tasting takes place at Squaw Valley. A dog-friendly guided hike up the mountain, Splash Dog dock jumping competition and pet-product vendors round out the alpine event, with proceeds going to benefit the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe.

When and Where: June 17-18, Squaw Valley

Valhalla Art, Music & Theatre Festival

Internationally touring artists, regional musicians, wide-ranging theater performances, workshops, fine art shows and children’s art and drama camps comprise this five-month festival set in and around a historic Tahoe property.

When and Where: Begins June 21, Valhalla Estate, South Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

The bard would surely appreciate the view. This year’s lakeside Shakespeare productions are “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and the “Hound of the Baskervilles,” or catch additional music, dance and theatrical performances during Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival’s weekly Showcase Series.

When and Where: July 8-Aug. 27, Sand Harbor State Park in Incline Village

Art, Wine & Music Festival

Wine tasting accompanies an eclectic selection of artist and crafters’ wares along with live global music at this two-day event. Proceeds will help provide affordable physical and recreational activities for people with disabilities through Achieve Tahoe.

When and Where: July 8-9, Squaw Valley

Tahoe Truck Stop Food Truck Weekend

Food trucks converge for three days along with artists and interactive activities for this inaugural south Tahoe event.

When and Where: July 14-16, American Legion, South Lake Tahoe


Wellness is the focus at Wanderlust. Yoga workshops for all skill levels, farm-to-table dining, live music from around the globe and a lecture series remind attendees to breathe deeply and be mindful in the moment.

When and Where: July 20-23, Squaw Valley USA

Lake Tahoe Dance Festival

Lovers of dance can experience a weekend of wide-ranging, world-class choreography in an outdoor setting. Children can take part in instructional workshops as well.

When and Where: July 26-28, Gatekeeper’s Museum/William B. Layton Park

Wa She Shu It’ Deh Native American Arts Festival

Tribal representatives from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and South America gather at the home of Tahoe’s indigenous Washoe Tribe to celebrate native American traditions. This two-day festival features native American dancing, basket weaving demonstrations, food, crafts and music.

When and Where: July 29-30, Tallac Historic Site, South Lake Tahoe

Brews, Jazz and Funk Fest

Dozens of breweries provide samples while the stage pulsates with live funk and jazz music. Proceeds from the event benefit the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe.

When and Where: Aug. 12-13, Squaw Valley USA

Great Gatsby Festival

For two days, the 1920s come roaring back to life at South Lake’s historic Pope and Baldwin Estates with period attire, food, live music, children’s games, interactive historic house tours and vintage automobile rides.

When and Where: Aug. 12-13, Tallac Historic Site, South Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Music Festival

Maestro Timm Rolek leads the festival’s 20-piece academy orchestra, comprising elite student musicians from across the U. S., accompanied by violinist Michael Sutton and the Amaranth String Quartet. Five concerts, ballet performances and one interactive rehearsal take place during six days in August at various west shore and Truckee locations.

When and Where: Aug. 15-20, West Shore and Truckee

Tahoe City Fine Arts & Crafts Festival

More than 45 artisans and crafters show off their photography, oil paintings, jewelry, pottery and more.

When and Where: Aug. 18-20 and 25-27, Boatworks Mall, Tahoe City

Tahoe Mountain Bike and Brew Festival

Bikes and brews benefit the Tahoe Mountain Biking Association, an organization that fixes area trails. Formerly the Meyers Mountain Bike Festival, the fifth year of the event has a new name and additions. Take part in a Triple Crown ride, or take in the live music, locally brewed libations, barbecue, vendors, kid zones and demos.

When and Where: Aug. 26-27, Meyers