When you think about the economic impact of the annual Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, your first thoughts might turn to substantial increases in the sale of legal products like sunscreen, hats, bottled water and portable barbecues, not to mention a few products deemed illegal that just might make their way to the celebration.

Perhaps the hottest commodity for at least the more well heeled attendees, however, is RVs -- thousands of them of all shapes and sizes. And Dublin's area recreational vehicle rental companies are basically all sold out.

"It's probably the busiest time of the year for us," said Joe Lane, director of marketing for El Monte RV, which has a busy location here in Dublin. "Basically, everything we have west of the Mississippi makes its way to Burning Man. We have almost a small army of drivers moving vehicles (to the west)."

Lane says the company will have rented between 750 and 900 RVs to Burning Man attendees. Those vehicles range from 22 to 35 feet long and sleep between five and eight people each. Depending upon how far out from the event people rented, and how far away from Northern California people were willing to go and pick up their RV, the costs range anywhere from $200 to $500 per day.


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The 2013 edition of Burning Man runs from Monday through Sept. 2, with an art theme of "Cargo Cult." Like most everything at the festival, themes are always open to interpretation, which is why Lane says they see all kinds of people come in to rent.

"It's seemingly the most straight-laced people on the planet and then big extremes in both directions."

In addition to the small army of drivers, there are also a large number of people who have to go through and clean the RVs post-Burning Man, and that usually means a treasure trove of strange and unusual items that get left behind.

"One day (last year) a full broadsword came back with the vehicle. I mean, what are we going to do with a full broadsword?" says Lane. The company tried to contact the renter to give the sword back, but got no response.

Splatter Returns: The cool art, food and wine festival with the weird name will return to Dublin for the "2 Splatter" event Sept. 21 at Emerald Glen Park. The Tasting Pavilion, which features food samples from several area restaurants as well as pourings from more than 15 great Livermore wineries, will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. There's entertainment all day long, leading up to the closing concert at 6:30 p.m. And, back by popular demand, the festival will end with a fireworks show at 8 p.m. If you attended last year's Splatter, as I did, then you know the main tent was great, but very hot. So, this year they've added air conditioning -- assuming we'll have another warm September Saturday.

I should also mention that there will be a carnival area for the kids and a number of art displays and vendors. There's also the chance again to custom-design your own souvenir T-shirt by venturing through "SPLATdemonium," where eager volunteers will help splatter your shirt -- which you wear over a protective jumpsuit -- with paint. Your best bet is to buy a Testing Pavilion passport in advance for $25, rather than the $30 price at the door. Follow the link from the event web page at www.dublinsplatter.com.

Contact Alan Elias at elias2000@sbcglobal.net.