Virginia City, Nevada, is known for two things: mining history and quirky, off-the-wall events. In 2019, those two things come together with the announcement of the historic town’s annual special events lineup. The town’s major fan-favorite and long-running events return, including the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry, Chili on the Comstock and Fourth of July, along with some new history-centered events like the International Mining Games in March.
This September marks the 60th anniversary of the International Camel & Ostrich Races, an event which began as a bet between the Territorial Enterprise and the San Francisco Chronicle, but honored the history of camels being used on the Comstock to help pull ore from the ground.
The 30th annual World Championship Outhouse Races take place in October and are an ode to a fateful day when outdoor toilets were outlawed in Virginia City and angry residents took to the streets with their commodes in protest. Even the famed Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry & St. Patrick’s Day Parade, taking place in March, are a testament to the Basque and Irish heritage on the Comstock.
Grab your calendar and mark down some of these memorable events in Virginia City, guaranteed to be unique:
6th annual Devil Made Me Do It Saloon Crawl, Feb. 9, 2019
Celebrate love in Virginia City with the Devil Made Me Do It Saloon Crawl. Singles, couples and those who aren’t sure which category they fit into are welcome to Virginia City’s historic saloons.
5th annual Father-Daughter Day & Dance, Feb. 23, 2019
Victorian princesses take over historic Virginia City as this special Father-Daughter Day event takes place throughout the town. The all-inclusive ticket package includes attractions in Virginia City, lunch, old time photos and more followed by a charming dance for daddies and daughters at the historic Piper’s Opera House.
28th annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry & St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 16, 2019
Have a ball this St. Patrick’s Day in historic Virginia City at the 28th annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry. Join 7,000 other daring revelers for a party that only the Comstock could throw. Sample tasty testes from cooks competing for the title of Best Rocky Mountain Oyster Cook in the West.
41st annual International Mining Games, March 20-23, 2019
Virginia City, home to the largest strike in the world, hosts students from across the globe as mining returns to the Comstock with the 41st annual International Collegiate Mining Games. With an estimated 200 participants, this year’s event is hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno’s Mining Team, Mackay Muckers. Seven events make up the competition: Single Jack Hand Steel, Jackleg Drilling, Hand Mucking, Gold Panning, Track Stand, Swede Saw and Survey.
48th annual Virginia City Grand Prix, April 27-28, 2019
“C Street” gets loud as the roar of motorcycles hits full throttle during the Virginia City Grand Prix, one of the largest and most competitive off-road motorcycle races in the west. For the first time this year, racing takes place on C Street throughout the day so spectators can get an up-close and personal view of this high-speed race. The annual two-day event draws more than 1,000 racers the Comstock to battle the rough terrain for glory.
36th annual Chili on the Comstock, May 18-19, 2019
The 36th annual Chili on the Comstock brings more than 30 of the best chili cooks in the west, a Fun with the Runs 5k and the Fireball Saloon Crawl. Endless varieties of chili and of course plenty of cold, refreshing beer wash it all down awaits.
Fourth of July on the Comstock, July 4, 2019
Historic Virginia City’s Independence Day celebration is pure Americana. The streets are decked in red, white and blue, the parade is a full of candy-throwing and classic cars. Experience the boom of the fireworks in your bones as they shoot into the clear night sky over the small mountain town. It’s a Fourth of July celebration to remember with live music, festive foods and a jovial atmosphere all day long. This event is free.
Hot August Nights Kickoff Rally, Aug. 2-3, 2019
Step back in time to revel in the sights and sounds of yesteryear. The region’s most prominent classic car gathering, Hot August Nights, kicks off in Virginia City. The town comes alive with rumbling engines and nostalgic tunes to kick off the event’s 33rd year. Walk the historic streets to see an array of cars and enjoy free, daily entertainment. This event is free.
Virginia City Rodeo & Fiesta Del Charro, Aug. 24-25, 2019
Don your cowboy boots and hats for a rodeo event, including a long-horn cattle drive down C Street, a mutton busting tournament and a Hispanic rodeo, Fiesta del Charro. The rodeo is produced by renowned promoter Cotton Rosser and the Flying U Rodeo. Get up close and personal with bull riders, wild broncs, escaramuzas, dancing horses, kids’ mutton busting and all the sights, sounds and smells of a Hispanic rodeo.
Civil War Days, Aug. 31 – Sept. 1, 2019
Experience history this Labor Day weekend as the Great Civil War Reenactors bring epic battles to Virginia City. Hundreds of reenactors battle out great scenes on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad and even right in the middle of C Street as part of the Labor Day Parade. Dress in your finest Victorian garb and join the ladies for High Tea, or take a ride on an evening champagne train and see a battle from your seat.
60th annual International Camel & Ostrich Races, Sept. 6-8, 2019
Camels, ostriches and even zebras descend on Virginia City for the 60th annual International Camel & Ostrich Races. This hilarious annual tradition dates back to the 1950s, and features jockeys precariously perched on their beasts as they maneuver the track at high speeds, aiming for a win among the cheering audience in this historic mining town. For the first time this year, the races include Hot Camel Nights, a Friday evening race for a totally different experience.
30th annual World Championship Outhouse Races, Oct. 5-6, 2019
This is the one time and place where potty humor is accepted and encouraged! Back when outdoor plumbing was outlawed in Virginia City, angry residents took to the streets with their outhouses in protest, and a tradition was born. This hilarious event pits teams of costumed outhouse racers against each other in an all-out potty race pushing their home-made outhouses down C Street toward the toilet paper finish line. This is a free event.
Hauntober on the Comstock, October 2019
Virginia City is known for being one of the most haunted towns in all of the United States. Celebrate the supernatural and all things unexpected this October with an entire month of events including the outhouse races, ghost tours, safe trick-or-treating, a goblin parade, zombie run and a family fun Thomas the Train excursion.
Christmas on the Comstock, December 2019
There’s no place like historic Virginia City for that warm and fuzzy, traditional Christmas vibe. This year the town is going all out, all month long. This Victorian-style holiday celebration features an official tree lighting, a new take on a holiday classic “The Comstock Christmas Carol” at Piper’s Opera House, a saloon crawl, a concert with David John and The Comstock Cowboys, the inaugural Christmas Bonanza shopping experience, the V&T Candy Cane Express and much more. Visitors should prepare for this to be their new favorite Comstock holiday tradition.
All tickets for events are on sale now. Check here to view more event details and purchase tickets. Courtesy photos