The 2013 Burning Man Festival has wrapped up and by now most of the 61,000 “Burners” are on their way home from Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
At least 15,000 of the revelers passed through Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which is more than happy to have them: according to airport officials, Burning Man is the single largest annual event to pass through the airport, bringing with it an estimated economic impact of $11 million from airline ticket sales, car rentals and money spent in the restaurants and retail shops.
To make the Burners feel welcome, the airport had a eight foot tall Mini-Man in the terminal and, in the airport gallery, an exhibit of art from the Black Rock Arts Foundation.
And the airport was well-prepared after the event:
Because Burners must take out everything they brought into the Black Rock Desert, many of them bring their trash to the airport and dump it there. “We place extra large trash repositories on the curb for this purpose,” said airport spokeswoman Heidi Jared.
And because everyone’s stuff is covered in dust and sand from the desert, airlines wrap all checked bags in plastic or place them in a tub. “If luggage were not treated this way, the sand would clog up the airline bag belt system,” said Jared.