Monthly Archives: September 2015

Best of Northern Nevada 2015 Awards Party


Reno News & Review Best of Northern Nevada

Every year the Reno News & Review does a poll to find out who is the best of Northern Nevada. Then they plan a big party to celebrate the great things about our community and especially focus on the people, the businesses and the culture that makes Reno and Northern Nevada a great place to live. According to the Reno News & Review website, this year was the biggest reader’s poll yet! They had 88,484 votes in 345 categories. My company was the lucky winner of two awards. We took home Best 4th of July fireworks for Star Spangled Sparks event on the 4th of July, and Best special event in downtown Sparks for the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off.

BestOf2015 - SSS

BestOf2015 - RCO

The awards party was Friday night at Peppermill Resort Hotel at Edge nightclub. We had a great time at the party. We ran into friends in line to get in and we were able to meet some local business owners. We were excited to meet the owners of Sup Restaurant, one of our favorite places to eat!


RN&R Best of Northern Nevada Party, Photo Courtesy of @TahoeBeer Instagram

The party was a blast. First you check in at the entrance, pick up the awards, take winner pictures and then you are free to get a drink at the bar and celebrate with other winners. The Peppermill served delicious appetizers and the desserts were amazing! Good thing diets always start on Monday…at least that is what I’ve been told.

Special thanks to Reno News & Review and their staff for recognizing all of us for our hard work and contributions. It inspires me to keep moving and doing the best I can because I know the events I help produce make a difference in our community. Reno News & Review you also make a difference and we appreciate you! Thank you for planning this fabulous awards party and for allowing the readers to vote on the Best of Northern Nevada.

Want more information on the Best of Northern Nevada award winners? See all winners listed here.

RCO Award SSS Award

Brews & Boos Beer Festival – New Nugget Event!

Brews & Boos Beer Fest

Nugget Brews & Boos Beer Fest

Now that the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off is over I’m focused on all of the upcoming Nugget events between now and the end of the year. The newest event that I’m the most excited about is Nugget Brews & Boos Beer Festival and Costume Party being held in the Nugget Ballroom on Friday, October 30.

The event is geared toward the beer enthusiast who wants to dress up and have a great time celebrating Halloween while sampling fall and winter brews. Each guest will be able to sample all the beer they can responsibly drink and take home a hauntingly cool commemorative cup.

We are expecting between 50 and 100 breweries to participate. The brewers will get into the Halloween spirit with costumes and Halloween-themed booths. This event is going to be a lot of fun because it will feel like trick or treating for beer when attendees go booth to booth sampling all the different brews. Finally trick-or-treating geared towards adults!

There will be a costume contest where guests will compete for best-dressed. There is a prize for attendees and a prize for brewers, so expect to see some over-the-top Halloween costumes at Brews & Boos.

The fun doesn’t stop with the beer tasting. The event will feature the ultimate rock show when the Snake Oil Sinners take the stage performing everyone’s favorite big hair rock, melodic rock, metal and classic rock songs. The band will perform the best rock songs from the ‘70s to the ‘90s. The artists honor the history of rock by wearing extravagant costumes while singing the smash hits from each rock genre. This is no regular band, and you won’t want to miss a minute of their show when they perform hits from Def Leppard, Queen, Ozzy, Aerosmith, Guns & Roses, Journey and more.

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. for the VIP ticket holders and 8:00 p.m. for general admission ticket holders. The Nugget doesn’t want anyone to drink and drive so there is a special $59 Take the Elevator Home room rate. We encourage everyone who attends Brews & Boos to get home safely or just stay the night at the Nugget.

Things to know if you go…

Nugget Brews & Boos Beer Festival
Friday, October 30, 2015
Nugget Ballroom
VIP: $65 (allows guests to enter the event an hour early to have more time networking with brewers)
General Admission: $50
Doors Open: 7pm for VIP, 8pm for General Admission
Book a room by calling reservations at 775-356-3300
Buy tickets at

Craft beer is incredibly popular right now, the growth is explosive. This is a new event that we hope is a big success. We believe that local beer enthusiasts and tourists alike will enjoy this event and make it a reason to come to Reno for Halloween every year. Please help us make this event a big success by purchasing your tickets today at

Making Lemonade out of Smoke

Photo Credit:

Every summer smoke from California wildfires causes hazy conditions in Reno. The smoke reduces visibility and has a serious impact on Northern Nevada’s air quality. This is a common problem during the summer months when wildfires are most prevalent. The smoke rolled in this weekend and it put a damper on the Reno Balloon Races special event on Sunday. This reminded me of the 2013 Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off when the whole valley was covered in smoke and there was little visibility because of the poor air quality. We were afraid it would wreck our event, but we made it through and learned these valuable lessons.

1. Pay Attention
Looking back at the 2013 event I wish I had watched the weather patterns closer and paid more attention to the news about the wildfires. We took a lets pray and see how it goes attitude. In hindsight I wish we would have paid more attention leading up to the event and been more proactive, especially with our communication with the public about event contingency plans and how we planned on continuing even if the smoke hurt air quality in Reno.

2. Over Communicate
The news didn’t do us any favors, that is for sure! During the event local news kept telling viewers to stay inside and avoid smoke. They didn’t have one expert on to scientifically discuss how the smoke would affect viewers, they just said stay inside, don’t go outside. Period. Then it got worse. The news in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area started announcing the Rib Cook-Off was canceled due to the smoke and the fires. This was not true. We had hotel guests calling upset we canceled the event and received several nasty emails. As soon as we calmed the guests down we started reaching out to the media to let them know the event wasn’t canceled and that we wouldn’t cancel the event no matter what happened with the smoke and the weather. It was very challenging to get them to run corrections and share the correct information. In hindsight we should have been more proactive and sent out several press releases right away and increased our social media activity to let everyone know the event was going on as planned.


Photo Credit:

3. Make Lemonade
The first day of Rib Cook-Off 2013 our beverage sales were up 12%. I’m not sure if it was because the smoke made people want to drink more, or if attendance was up in general that day but we used this information to make lemonade out of lemons. We knew we needed some positive press to encourage people to attend the event in the smoky conditions. We looked at the event financial results after the first night (as we always do) and we realized they were great! We sent a press release announcing our record sales and that was newsworthy. Right away our local media gave the event positive coverage and shared the economic impact the event has on the community. Our community takes pride in special events and their great economic indicators. We make lemonade out of lemons, and so does the whole community.

Nugget Casino Resort Rib Cook-Off - August 2013

Nugget Casino Resort Rib Cook-Off – August 2013

4. Keep up the Good Fight
One of the biggest lessons I learned from this was don’t give up. When the media is out there with bad information you need to keep fighting to get the accurate information out there. Half of the event attendees come from California, that is a few hundred thousand visits to the event. We needed to fight to get the information out there that no matter what happened with the smoke from the wildfires the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off would still be there for our attendees. Our team did a great job fighting to get accurate information to California media outlets. Our fearless PR Manager, Lauren Garber, wouldn’t give up until she got through, she kept fighting because it was the right thing to do.

5. Adapt
When you plan special events things will happen that are outside your control. Mother Nature loves to torment event planners. It is important to adapt to whatever is thrown at you when you are an event planning professional. It isn’t always pleasant, but you need to look at the threats that might hurt your event and find ways to adapt and work around the threats. A good event planner can adjust so quickly and gracefully that most guests won’t even realize there was a problem.

I learned many valuable lessons during the 2013 Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. Even though at the time it was extremely challenging, I’m grateful for the lessons I learned and hopefully this will help other event planners think about these types of challenges and adapt quickly. Wildfire smoke and other natural events are out of your control, but you can control the way you respond and adapt.

Additional Reading:

Smoke, new layout not expected to dampen Nugget Rib Cook-Off in Sparks – RGJ Article

Looking Back at the Rib Cook-Off – Sparks Tribune Article

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