Why does Truckee Tahoe ‘Burn?’

Staff report
The Burning Man experience is bigger than a party, bigger than the enourmous art installations — it is an enlightening, long weekend.
Courtesy Chuck Grooms |

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Burners are flowing down Interstate 80 in decorated vans, cars and wild sculpture tethered to trailers out into the Black Rock Desert for the phenomenon that is Burning Man. Two avid “Burners” share their thoughts about the cultural mystique of the ever-growing event.


This time of year, every where you go, you see everyday people, and you can pick out, the ones who are headed for the playa, by the things they are buying, and every conversation, with everyone you meet, includes whether or not you have a ticket, where will you be, if not there, why not, why do some veteran burners, choose not to go this year?

It is a harsh environment: physically, mentally, emotionally. Great expectations can lead to great disappointment.

It is a magic place: physically, mentally, emotionally. An open mind finds no closed doors.

My takeaway from Burning Man, is that there are people you meet who might be a catalyst for your growth, not only in Black Rock City, but definitely in Black Rock City. — Chuck Grooms has departed for the playa, to camp at his traditional site, Floristonia.


Originally, I went to burning man for the endless party. It is like the most amazing carnival from your dreams. But my reasons have changed over the last five years, as I have grown from the experience.

Now, I go to live in a society were everyone is happy because they are doing exactly what they want to do, which can be greeting people as they enter, cooking food, making art, or teaching classes. Everyone has something to give, and it makes everyone happy.

Last year I put extra time into my costumes, and this year I am teaching five classes, like transforming loneliness into solitude, finding the joy in your life by changing your thinking, and silk scarf dying. I have enjoyed the amazing classes I have taken in the past and I look forward to sharing what I have learned in these last few years. The Burning Man experience grows with you each year.

Burning Man is a time to focus on your interest outside of work and day-to-day life challenges. It is a time to let your dreams come to life and be inspired by other people’s dreams. It is a time to enjoy art and find the most amazing beauty in the harshest desert environment. — “Stitch” aka Lewis Kawecki.


As Black Rock Desert begins to fill with the wonder that is Burning Man, we here at the Sun are celebrating all that is desert art with a Facebook Burning Man photo contest.

Enter your photos — past and present — for a chance to win one of three great prizes:

Rinse Off: a night’s lodging for two in at The Hampton Inn & Suites in Truckee.

Fill Up: a $50 dinner certificate from Rubicon Pizza in Northstar.

Cool Down: a basket of local, handmade soothing spa products from Lather & Fizz Bath Boutique.

The contest deadline has been extended to Sept. 22, to allow 2013 Burners time to participate.

Upload your high resolution image(s) to the Sierra Sun’s Facebook page and let the voting begin.

The three images with the most “Likes” on Sept. 22 will be the official winners of the Sun’s FB Burner contest.

Please remember we are a community publication / site. Images must be appropriate for all ages. The Sierra Sun will also print a selection of images during and after the contest — be sure to include a photo caption and photo credit.

The Sun’s Facebook Burning Man photo contest is sponsored by The Hampton Inn & Suites, 11951 Highway 267, Truckee, 530-587-1197; Rubicon Pizza, Northstar Village, 530-562-2199; and Lather & Fizz Bath Boutique, with “two great smelling locations,” The Village at Squaw Valley, 530-584-6001 and The Cobblestone in Tahoe City, 530-583-9900.

Contest winners and photos will be published in the Sierra Sun the week of Sept. 23.

If you have questions, email

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