As Burning Man nears, Tahoe burners promote sense of community | SierraSun.com

As Burning Man nears, Tahoe burners promote sense of community

TAHOE-TRUCKEE — Some people look forward to the end of August because it's when school starts, or when the weather finally starts to cool off.

For others, it's when thousands of people begin their annual pilgrimage to Nevada's Black Rock Desert for Burning Man — with many driving from the Bay Area right through Truckee and Lake Tahoe on their way "home."

More than 70,000 people attended last year's Burning Man festival, according the event website. Though there is no official count, a solid portion of those visitors come from the Truckee-Tahoe area.

"We have a really active burner community," said Justin "JayDee" Curtis, who is one of several official regional contacts for Burning Man in the Tahoe-Truckee area. "It's probably got a lot to do with our proximity and our lifestyle — the outdoor adventurous lifestyle."

JayDee said he's attended Burning Man annually since 2001, except for one year.

He and his wife, who goes by the playa name "Lucky," took last year off when they had a baby. This year, they're returning to the playa for what he calls a "short burn."

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Tahoe and Truckee, meanwhile, are full of regular attendees, and many of them host their own gatherings both on and off the playa.

"The best social event I know about is the Tahoe Camp block party," he said.

The block party, which is in its third year, will be held at Burning Man on Thursday, Sept. 1. Curtis said several camps will participate, and all of them are made up of Tahoe-Truckee locals.

"It's a fun little gathering for Tahoe locals," he said. "I was there for the first year and there were well over 200 people."

He said last year there was a windstorm on the playa that limited attendance at the party, but he's got high hopes for this year.

Curtis said that there are so many events at the festival just for Tahoe-Truckee locals, it can be hard keep track of them all.

But off the playa, the Tahoe locals host plenty of events for the Burning Man community as well.

"As regional contacts, we try to connect to burners on and off the playa and keep those connections throughout the year," Curtis said.

Last year, for example, the group hosted a Burning Man-themed ski day, an after-burn event aimed at helping people relax that also included a film festival.

Though no dates have been decided for any of this year's post-Burning Man events, Curtis said anyone interested in keeping up with the local community can follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/tahoeburners — there, you can find helpful tips and ask questions of fellow burners about last-minute news and preparations before the 2016 event kicks off Sunday, Aug. 28.

Good to know

Burning Man attendees are encouraged to check out the official survival guide on the event at survival.burningman.org; there, you can find plenty of information about the event, its history and more.