Monthly Archives: May 2016

The 5am Challenge

Welcome to Special Events Season…don’t be Grumpy Cat!

Today is Memorial Day, so that means tomorrow is officially the first day of my busy season at work. I feel like I am busier this year than I ever have been. I realize I need to make some changes to adapt to all the additional work and responsibilities.

To do this, I’ve decided to take the 5:00 am challenge where I wake up at 5:00 am every work day until special event season is over. I’m not really a morning person. I know this challenge may sound ridiculous to some people because being a morning person might come easy to them. It doesn’t come easy for me. I am a night owl. Mornings have always been a challenge. I don’t drink coffee, never have. I struggle to wake up. I am a cross between grumpy cat and a dragon depending on what time I wake up, so this is going to be a big challenge for me.

I was inspired to start waking up extra early because I recently read a blog by a guy that started waking up at 4:30 am every day. He was amazed by the improvements and benefits of waking up early. He really sold me on the idea of becoming a morning person. It sounded so wonderful, all of it except waking up at 4:30 am.

Several studies have shown that waking up early has many benefits. I hope to experience all of these benefits until September 6, when Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off is over.  Some of the benefits from waking up early include being more proactive, better at anticipating problems, better at planning ahead and better at getting more exercise.

To do this challenge I will need to go to bed earlier. I will also need to find a way to listen to my alarm and not negotiate my way into more sweet dreams. I’m really good at negotiating with myself when it comes to more sleep. I’m going to have to work on my willpower to make sure I get up and get going every morning at 5:00 am. They say habits are developed in about 30 days so hopefully by the end of June it will all be smooth sailing.

Tomorrow is the first day of living the 5:00 am challenge. I’m looking forward to more quiet time in the morning, less stress, a nice commute, and seeing the sunrise. Now let’s just hope I can tame the dragon, be a little less grumpy cat, and become a real morning person.

Are you a morning person? Please post tips and advice you have to help me with this challenge. How can I become a morning person like you? Comment below.

Vote! USA Today Best BBQ Festival

Stop everything you are doing and vote for the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off as Best BBQ Festival in the USA Today Readers’ Choice Poll.

Click here!

Click picture to vote!

Being nominated as one of the best BBQ festivals in the country is a huge honor. Winning means a lot of national publicity for the event and a new level of community pride. We all know that Sparks, Nevada is home to the best BBQ festival in the country, so now we want the rest of the country to know. Six-days of rib cooking and 241,000 pounds of ribs makes this the nation’s winner when it comes to the largest BBQ festival.  Now we want the official title as USA Today Reader’s Choice Best BBQ Festival.

A title like USA Today Best BBQ Festival 2016 will also open doors for new sponsorship opportunities. It gives us a talking point when we pitch national sponsorships, and it would be nice to go back to the national companies that won’t give us the time of day and show them we are the best. The bragging rights that come with this title are enormous!

Voting is easy! You can vote once a day on each electronic device you own. That means you should vote using your home computer, laptop, smart phone, tablet, and work computer, as long as it won’t get you in trouble with the boss.

The contest started earlier this week. Overnight we went from #18 to #2. The contest ends on June 20th so hopefully we can take the lead by the end of the contest and bring home the title for our community. Please take a minute each day and vote for the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off.

Six Tips to Inspire Customer Created Content

Incorporating customers in your event marketing is a great way to add creative content to your event marketing plan. When a customer snaps a picture at your event and shares it on social media it gives your special event credibility and social proof, which is essentially the customer’s stamp of approval.  Like earned media, this is incredibly valuable. Customers can influence leads and future interactions, so embrace the content they create. This is especially important for attracting millennial customers since they value social proof more than most generations.

Human nature makes us social beings. Naturally people like being recognized, it is a powerful motivator. You can use this as motivation to encourage customers to create content to promote your special event. Why would they create content to help you? Because people are inherently good and want to be helpful, but you need to make it easy for them.  Customers are a great resource! Embrace the pictures and video they share on social media and try to incorporate the material into your marketing strategy.

Tips to Inspire Customer Created Content:

  1. Invite fans to create content. Ask them to take and post photos on social media accounts using a specific hashtag. Then you can search that hashtag and find customer created content to reshare on your social media channels. Make sure to thank the customer and give shout outs for their content. Ask fans of your special event to contribute pictures and images to your event social media platforms.

    5-23-16 brews & boos

    Photo Credit: Instagram

  2. Share the best of the best. Share what makes customers proud. Look for entertaining, educational, fun, enlighten and engaging content posted by your fans. Share anything that you think will make your other fans laugh or smile.

    5-23-16 - share

    Photo Credit: Twitter

  3. Tag them! Post customer content and then tag the customer with a thank you message. Encourage customers to tag themselves. Share content from influencers and make sure to show appreciation for their work. There are a few local photographers that have taken photos at the events I produce, I try to make sure to reshare their content and give them shout-outs for their work. They do a fabulous job capturing special moments at the event that should be shared.

    5-23-16 Tag

    Photo Credit: Facebook

  4. Produce contests that allow customers to pick their favorite posts from other customers. Offer prizes and keep the positive energy for your event flowing year-round. Encourage fans to enter contests by sharing their favorite features of the event and then see what kind of amazing content they come up with.
    5-23-16 - SSS Instagram
  5. Offer fun onsite photo opportunities. Whether it is a photo booth or something people just can’t help take their picture in front of, try to find fun onsite photo opportunities. A few years ago we added a new welcome sign to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. I thought it was a great welcome sign, but I was shocked by how many people took their picture in front of it and posted it on social media.

    5-23-16 - Ribs Sign

    Photo Credit: Instagram

  6. Share real time live content. If you have the manpower during your special event monitor social media and hashtags that relate to your event for customer content. Share customer content and engage customers in real time. It adds a fun element to special events, especially any event where there is a guest speaker.
5-23-16 Directions

Photo Credit: Twitter

It is easy to include fans in content creation marketing if you make it a priority. The benefits of customer created content are enormous. Use customer content to engage with fans and listen to what excites them about your special event. Practice these tips to prove to fans that their opinions count and to embrace customer created content to promote your special event.

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Secret of Life…

In my humble opinion, being an event planner can drive you a little crazy sometimes. The long hours and pressure can take its toll and change your attitude. So can all the praise and misdirected appreciation when an event is a huge success.

Over the years I’ve seen ego and self-interest ruin several high caliber event executive directors. When they become bigger than the purpose they serve it is usually fatal to their careers. I understand what it is like, sometimes it is hard not to let it all go to your head. The good event planners that are capable of enjoying a long steady career in the special event industry don’t let it go to their head. They show appreciation for their team and know the importance of staying humble and kind.

You know in the movie City Slickers where Curly asks Mitch if he knows what the secret of life is?  That one thing. This is that one thing! Thank you Tim McGraw for so eloquently capturing the secret to life. If you live life this way being an event planner won’t drive you crazy.


Remember that scene…


Photo Credit:

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [points index finger skyward] This.

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.

Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”

Curly: [smiles and points his finger at Mitch] That’s what you have to find out.


If you believe that being humble and kind is the secret of life and enjoyed this blog post please use the handy buttons below to share with your friends and family. Hope everyone has a blessed Sunday!

Reno Sculpture Fest 2016


Reno Sculpture Fest 2016

The 2nd annual Reno Sculpture Fest was held on May 6 – 8 in downtown Reno, Nevada. The event featured 30 art installations including larger-than-life sculptures, art cars, sound stages for live performances, interactive activities, and after parties. I was really excited after the inaugural event last year. I feel like Sculpture Fest has a lot of potential and I look forward to seeing what it grows into over the next few years.


The top two factors that make this a great event:

  • Larger-than-life sculptures – There is something so humbling about seeing an enormous piece of artwork. It gets your imagination working and inspires you. I am awestruck by the artists and their sculptures. The sculptures at this event do not disappoint!
  • Location! Location! Location! – Having the event right under the Reno Arch is perfect! This makes it easy to get to the event because there are several nearby parking options. The location also enables event attendees to take fabulous pictures with the world-famous Reno arch in the background. Every picture is like a post card promoting Reno. Great photo ops for locals and tourists alike!

Tips if you go next year:DSC00067

  • Go early in the day. The early morning hours are best. We went in the late afternoon and the event was awkwardly crowded. We couldn’t read about the art on the small signs and it just felt like we were in the way when trying to look at the sculptures and take pictures. We also saw more than our fair share of burners, street performers and panhandlers that afternoon. My friends that went in the morning had a much better experience. They had time to enjoy the art and the event was much less crowded. They were also able to take some really great photos with the morning lighting.
  • Bring your camera! My camera stopped working after our first twenty minutes at the event. It was operator error, but still a bummer. Thank goodness for cell phones! Don’t just bring a camera, bring a backup camera.


I look forward to seeing what Reno Sculpture Fest has in store for fans in 2017. I like Burning Man, but I hope Sculpture Fest starts moving away from a Burning Man theme and there is IMG_4792more focus on sculptures of all sizes. The sculptures make this event truly unique, hopefully more artists are drawn to the event next year and it continues to grow.

This is a great opportunity for artists to show their work and to rally for art sculptures and culture. Potential art donors and sponsors should be drawn to this event. There is a great opportunity to build an artisan marketplace for sculptures and specialty artwork. I could see this eventually becoming a major event for people looking to purchase artwork.


Did you go to Sculpture Fest? Comment below about your favorite piece of artwork. Got pictures? Please share them!   


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