Monthly Archives: October 2015

Brews & Boos Beer Fest Event Recap

Inaugural events are very challenging. There are many unknown factors. It is challenging to predict attendance forecasts, correct budgeting, what other events you will be competing with, and if the event will be a success.

Brews & Boos

October 30, 2015 – Nugget Brews & Boos

Last night was the inaugural Brews & Boos Beer Fest held at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada. Forty-six breweries participated in the event. Approximately 800 guests were in attendance, which is great for a first-year event. Brews & Boos was competing with some heavy hitters around town including the Kevin Hart comedy show, Thunder from Down Under, and one of Reno’s premier Halloween events the 15th annual Wild Erotic Ball.

Brews & Boos Beer Fest started at 7:00 p.m. for VIP guests and 8:00 p.m. for general admission ticket holders. Event attendees wore costumes and went from table-to-table sampling seasonal and special brews. It felt like trick-or-treating for adults. The brew teams dressed up in costume and decorated their booths. Traveler Beer Company won the People’s Choice award for best beer. Drake’s Brewing Company won the best costume award, and Alaskan Brewing Company won for best booth display. The pumpkin contest was won by Pumpkin #6, which was carved to look just like a Volkswagen. The pumpkins were carved by Nugget employees for the annual employee pumpkin carving contest.

Snake Oil Sinners put on a rockin’ show! The band played for almost two and a half hours. They played covers from AC/DC, Ozzy, Van Halen, and my bosses personal favorite Led Zeppelin. The band was fantastic! The costumes were amazing and the crowd loved them. They were so good that people thought it was the DJ and that the band hadn’t started yet. Their performance was spot on! The artists were completely in character. A few guests found out who I was and they congratulated me on booking such great talent. They were really into it! A few brewers were begging me to book a similar act for Brew HaHa, which is a charity event we host in late January.

Brews & Boos Costume Contest Finalists

Photo Credit: Nugget Casino Resort Facebook Page

The beer festival also featured a costume contest. To qualify for the first round your costume had to be so good that we caught other event attendees asking for pictures. Guests had no idea how they qualified. We had a few employees observing and secret shopping the room to find out who the best of the best were. The finalists were then brought on stage and the winner was chosen by crowd applause. It was a tough competition but the creepy clown eked out a win.

I look forward to planning the 2nd annual Brews & Boos Beer Fest next year. The event was very popular for an inaugural event and I hope to see it become a premier Halloween event that attracts both tourists and local guests. I know all those in attendance this year had a great time. Special shout out and thanks to #TeamNugget. I work with amazing people! They held a Donald Trump campaign rally the day before and were able to flip the room in time for this spooktacular event. It was a huge accomplishment! Special thanks to the Wilbur D. May Museum for letting us borrow their Halloween decorations for the event in exchange for a donation. Community partnerships like this make Reno a great place and allow us to share our resources.

Happy Halloween to all! Hope to see thousands more at Brews & Boos 2016.

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Brews & Boos Beer Fest – Brewery List

Just here for the boosCraft beer is incredibly popular right now, and so are tribute bands. So we decided in honor of Halloween this year we would put them together and give Reno an unforgettable experience at Nugget Brews & Boos Beer Fest.

The event will be held on Friday, October 30th in the Nugget Ballroom. The rock show starts at 8:00 p.m. when Snake Oil Sinners band takes the stage. The band will perform everyone’s favorite big hair rock, melodic rock, metal and classic rock songs. 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.

There are 45 breweries participating in Brews & Boos Beer Fest as of right now. The number is subject to change up until the day of the event. There are different varieties of brew and a lot of brewers submitted fall and winter ales in hopes of winning the People’s Choice award. This time of year the Ciders are also a big fan favorite.  Check out the event promo video and the list below to see if your favorite brewery will be featured at this year’s inaugural Brews & Boos Beer Fest.

Kudos to Nugget Special Event Coordinator Adam Varahachaikol for creating the promo video.

  • 21 Amendment
  • Alaskan Brewing Co.
  • American River Brewing Company
  • Anchor Brewing
  • Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
  • Boulder Beer
  • Brewer’s Cabinet
  • Brooklyn Brewing Co.
  • Carlsberg Breweries
  • Common Cider Company
  • Coronado Brewing Company
  • Corona and Modelo (Constellation Brand Beer)
  • Deschutes Brewery
  • Drake’s Brewing Company
  • Grand Teton Brewing Company
  • Great Basin Brewery
  • Guinness
  • Hangar24 Craft Brewery
  • High Sierra Brewing
  • Kronenbourg Brewery
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company
  • Lake Tahoe Brewing Co
  • Leinenkugel Brewing Company
  • Lost Coast Brewery
  • Mammoth Brewing Company
  • Left Hand Brewing – Milk Stout Nitro
  • Ninkasi Brewing
  • North American Breweries
  • Paulaner / Hacker Pschorr
  • Pizza Port Brewing Company
  • Rekorderlig Cider
  • Rogue Ales
  • Rubicon Brewing Co.
  • Ruby Mountain Brewing Company
  • Sam Adams
  • Schilling Cider
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Stoneyhead Brewing
  • Tieton Cider Works · American Craft Cider
  • Track 7 Brewing Co.
  • Two Bald Guys Beverage Company
  • Under the Rose Brewing Co.
  • Vermont Hard Cider Co.
  • Warsteiner
  • Wasatch Brewery

Purchase your tickets today at and get fired up for a new Halloween experience at Brews & Boos Beer Fest!

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

Friday Night Pumpkin Walk – Reno Fun!

October 9, 2015 Pumpkin Walk

Great May Center Pumpkin Walk, 2015

Friday night was the 4th annual Great May Center Pumpkin Walk. The event took place at the Wilbur D. May Center at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park.

More than 500 hand carved pumpkins were lit up along the path through the May Center garden. There was trick-or-treating for kids and the event was part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, which is an awareness campaign to be sensitive to food allergies during Halloween trick-or-treating.

It was very obvious that the event is a big success and that this year the attendance increased dramatically. There were long lines, challenges with parking, and all the things you expect at a successful event with thousands of people.

The event took place Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. I arrived at about 6:00 p.m. and got in the long line making a big circle in the grass area at the park. Security thought it would take about 20 – 30 minutes to get through line but it actually took a little over an hour. I’m not complaining though, standing in line was still entertaining.

There were lots of children and adults running around in costume and the people in line around me were friendly. I used the time to catch up with my friends and their adorable son who was dressed up as a tiger. I also enjoyed watching the families in line and guessing who would go into melt down mode first after standing in line, the parents or the kiddies. There are some really good parents out there that made it a positive experience for the kids in line and taught them about being patient.

Tickets were $5.00 per person and children under 2 entered the event for free. This made it a great family event on a Friday night. This is also why attendance jumped so much this year. According to the event’s Facebook page a little over 4,000 people attended the Pumpkin Walk. Unfortunately they only had enough candy for 1,500 kids trick-or-treating.

The pumpkin walk was great fun! The holiday decorations and the pumpkins all along the trail were spooktacular. The volunteers were all very friendly and so were most of the people attending the event. Fall is a great time in northern Nevada, the weather is usually decent and the trees are beautiful as the leaves change color. This event really adds to the fall experience and celebrating Halloween.

I expect this to become a family tradition event in Reno and to keep growing. It has a lot of potential! If the event is going to continue to grow they will need to make a few changes. Here is my unsolicited advice from one event planner to another…

• 2 Night Event
o Twice as much work, but the event has grown enough to warrant having a second night. The event should be held on both Friday and Saturday night. This should help increase the funds raised and enhance the experience for your guests and volunteers since it will spread the crowds out over two nights. You have a quality event with lots of demand, it needs an additional night so everyone can enjoy the experience and you can raise more money for your cause.

• Admission Pricing
o Raise the price to $7 – $10 per person. Then discount it to $5 per person if they donate a pumpkin.

• Pumpkins Galore
o Accept pumpkin donations on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning in exchange for discount tickets so you can switch out pumpkins that have started to spoil. This year it was about 90 degrees on event day, which is unseasonably warm for Reno. This caused the pumpkins to spoil faster. If I were a local company that owned a refer truck I would seriously consider donating it to the museum that week to help preserve the pumpkins. Having that truck parked right in front of the event is basically a big billboard for thousands of people to stare at while in line.

• Line Management
o A few volunteers need to direct the line better. This year the line made a big circle and then it crossed over the line again a few times because there were so many people in line and no volunteers were there directing the line. It was really hard to figure out where the end of the line was. Having someone direct the line so it snaked around more and didn’t make a big circle would help keep it moving faster. Keep the line to one side of the grass area though so the kids still have room to run and play. Seeing kids make new friends and letting them run around and play in their costumes made standing in line easier for all the parents out there.

This is a very unique and special event. It has the qualities that make a legacy event. I hope the Great May Center Pumpkin Walk continues to grow and that it becomes a family holiday tradition here in Reno. The volunteers and event planners did an amazing job. Kudos to the local children’s organizations that carved the hundreds of pumpkins for the Pumpkin Walk. I look forward to attending this event again next year and seeing how it grows over time.

For more information about the event and Wilbur D. May Center or to make a donation to help support event expenses please click here.

Welcome to Reno, Uber!

John Cobb Photo

Photo Credit: John Cobb,

September brought exciting news to the Reno-Sparks area…we finally have Uber! If you don’t know what Uber is, click here.

It is official! The State of Nevada has finally approved ride sharing companies. We are all thrilled, especially because we have been stuck using two main taxi companies in town that have rude drivers and charge ridiculous rates. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced a few nice cab rides in town but I’ve also experienced some real doozies. My favorite experience was the time the cab driver yelled at me about politics on the drive home because when he asked what I did for a living, I told him the truth that I produced a political talk show. Huge mistake! Then when he finally dropped me off the fair was $50 and he felt he deserved a big tip for driving me across town. The drive took 15 minutes!

Reno is a tourist town. We want visitors to feel comfortable here and have a good time. Every time I take a taxi in Reno I pray that they take better care of the tourists than they do locals. Recently I went to a wine event in downtown Reno. I didn’t want to drive so I hired an Uber vehicle to drop me off and a taxi to take me home. Uber is going to take all the business away from cab companies if they don’t get it together. The ride sharing service is also going to be a big benefit to local tourism, especially when we are targeting millennial generation travelers.

My initial experience with Uber was fantastic. Uber Driver, Spencer, picked us up in a nice clean vehicle. He was friendly and easy to talk to on the short drive downtown. He dropped us off right where we requested and he was grateful when we paid the fare and added a tip.

On the way home that night we decided to take a cab since there were so many in downtown. We had two rude taxi drivers stop to pick us up. Each driver did the same thing. They wouldn’t open the door until we said where we were going. Once we told them we were going to a neighborhood about two miles away they refused to pick us up. It was unbelievable. Finally we walked another block and found another driver to pick us up. We didn’t tell him where we were going until we got into the taxi. This driver was nice but we were so frustrated by the experience that it didn’t really matter. That was the night I really became a big fan of Uber.

If the taxi companies want to compete and not lose business to Uber they need to change their business model. Here are a few things for starters…

1. Get an App! Everyone has one!

2. Make customer service a priority.

3. Institute a new policy that drivers must pick up customers no matter where their requested destination.

4. Invest in the product. To compete with Uber taxi companies will need to buy new vehicles that are more energy efficient.

5. Encourage your drivers to be ambassadors for Reno-Sparks and to be welcoming to customers.

Uber will add a new dynamic to the Reno-Sparks transportation scene. Taxi companies will need to adapt and find a new way to position their company or they will lose lots of customers. The service won’t be everyone, and some will still feel safer taking a traditional taxi, but it will definitely make everyone reconsider the business model.

Have you used Uber yet? Please share your story in the comments.

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