Burning Man attendees and enthusiasts, or “Burners” as they preferred to be called, have been heading through the Sparks and Reno area all week to make the long trek to the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada for the world-famous festival.
Spotted at WalMart shopping centers and gas stations, Burners have been stocking up with supplies all around the area, distinguishable by the bikes strapped to the backs of RVs and on top of cars.
And they just can't get enough stuff.
Rachael Pryor, a Burning Man “virgin” from San Francisco, said her group of six friends have been preparing for the trip for the last two months, planning to stay for the duration of the festival. On Monday, Pryor was loading bags of food and supplies for the often harsh desert in the WalMart parking lot off of McCarran Boulevard and Clear Acre Lane.
"We have lots of water," Pryor said, with a laugh. "You need water out there. We also have goggles (for the playa dust) lots of sunscreen and a lot of food."
Cramming their RV, Pryor explained that bikes are necessary because they are a main mode of transportation while out in the Black Rock Desert.
"A bike is really important," Pryor said. "And you also just want to listen to other people who have been (to Burning Man) for advice."
Advice, though, is something Meghan Ruiz, a sales associate at Prism Magic Clothing and Import at 2161 Pyramid Highway and fellow Burner, gives out all the time.
Ruiz, who helps sell unique vintage costumes, accessories and even bikes meant for Burning Man, said she gets first-timers and veterans coming in asking for outfit advice and generally what to expect to bring when they are out there.
"I love seeing people and seeing what they end up buying," Ruiz said, explaining that she often helps customers pick out comfortable and weather-friendly outfits. "A lot of people just get bright and vibrant colors. Anything goes."
And with this year's theme being "The American Dream," Ruiz said the costume interpretations are always interesting to see. While many people have bought American flag attire, Ruiz said others have dressed according to what “American Dream” means to them. She referred specifically to one customer who plans to dress himself entirely in trash.
"Most people dress outside of the box," Ruiz said.
With half the week already past, Ruiz said business is still steady at Prism Magic, as a majority of people leave work early today and stay for the rest of the weekend at Burning Man.
Those staying the whole week though, like Ben Smith, a London native, have planned and prepared for the festival, proving “the Man's” international appeal.
Estimating to have spent nearly $10,000 in supplies, transportation of the RV and airfare, Smith said his group of three friends have been looking forward to the festival for a year.
"It's like a playground for adults," Smith said. "And it really is a free festival in terms of thought."
Stocking up on bikes, food and eyelash glue, Smith said his group had prepared different outfits for all seven days at Burning Man.
Why fly over though?
"Because it's the only place in America like it," Smith said. "And for the free love."