The Lili Claire Foundation is scheduled to host its fourth annual Nevada Wild Fest Sept. 20-22 at the Rio, 3700 W. Flamingo Road.
The foundation provides resources and support to children diagnosed with neurogenetic conditions and uses the festival as a fundraiser to keep its services free.
Keith Resnick, CEO of the foundation and director of the festival, said he’s hoping to see between 30,000 to 40,000 attendees this year.
“The success of the event directly correlates to the foundation’s ability to help children with special needs in the valley,” he said. “If it does well, we can help them. If it doesn’t, they go on waiting lists.”
While the festival will be in the Rio parking lot, Resnick said the event is not a “parking lot carnival.”
“We plan to take over seven acres and turn it into a beautifully landscaped area to provide maximum entertainment for all ages,” he said.
Businesses such as Moon Valley Nurseries and Little Baja are set to donate trees, fountains, statues and benches to create a park atmosphere.
More than 15 restaurant vendors and a beer-and-wine garden plan to offer food and drinks for additional fees.
“We will still have all the carnival food, but we’ve also added cuisine from around the world,” Resnick said.
The festival will be packed with entertainment, including live music, carnival rides and a Zumbathon.
Many local artists, such as the Blues Storm, Sin City Sinners and Thrillbilly Deluxe, are scheduled to perform throughout the weekend.
Hip-hop artists Kalin and Myles are scheduled to perform at 9 p.m. Sept. 20, and Danielle Bradbery, winner of the “The Voice,” is set to perform at 8 p.m. Sept. 21.
Celebrity meet-and-greets with Bella Thorne from Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up” and the cast from TLC’s “Sister Wives” also are planned for the weekend.
“We got some of the hottest performers this year, and they all come with the price of admission,” Resnick said.
In addition to live entertainment, Las Vegas Athletic Clubs plans to offer a two-hour Zumbathon inside the festival from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 21 and 22.
“It’s wonderful exercise, and anyone who attends will receive free admission back into the festival,” Resnick said. “That way they can Zumba, go home and shower and come back.”
About 30 carnival rides are set to run at the festival. Each ride will require three to five tickets that can be bought for an additional fee.
“These aren’t just a merry-go-round and kiddy rides,” he said. “They’re the real deal, and they will be going day and night.”
DockDogs, an Ohio-based organization, also plans to host two canine aquatic competitions free during the festival. Dogs will be required to complete three disciplines — the big air, extreme vertical and speed retrieval.
“The first program is for regular, amateur dogs,” said Grant Reeves, CEO of DockDogs. “Professional dogs will compete in the second program known as Iron Dog for the Best of the Best title.”
Six dogs were selected from around the world to compete in the Iron Dog competition based on their rankings as of Aug. 19.
“This is our third year at the festival, and we’re really excited,” Reeves said. “It’s for a really good cause and the people are always excited to see the dogs.”
Festival attendees can bring their dogs to the festival grounds from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 19 to give DockDogs a try. Registration can be completed at tinyurl.com/m3t3rx4 for $15. Space is limited.
“We accept any breed, any mix and any rescue from anywhere,” Reeves said. “If your dog has a good, strong drive and likes the water, you should give it a try.”
Festival tickets can be bought in advance at a discounted price at nevada wildfest.com/buy-tickets. General admission online is $6, and a family four- pack is $20. All-day carnival ride wristbands can be purchased for $24 at local Sonic restaurants through Sept. 19.
Tickets on the day of the event are $10 for general admission and $30 for an all-day carnival wristband. All proceeds are donated to the Lili Claire Foundation.
The festival will be open from 3 p.m. to midnight Sept. 20, 11 a.m. to midnight Sept. 21 and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 22.
“All the people working on the event are volunteers giving their time and resources,” Resnick said. “We could not do this without the intense support of the community. It’s a great time for a great cause.”