Category Archives: Special Events

How to Respond to Negative Reviews About Your Special Event

TypingWhether you love them or hate them, online reviews matter to you and your special events business. As an event producer, you should always pay attention to reviews about your event because they could impact your business if you ignore them. They could also give you a view of your event that you can’t see because you are too wrapped up in the details and planning of the event. Sometimes the closer we are to things, the harder it is to see what is really happening, especially with special events.

Keep in mind when you are responding to reviews, you need to respond with care. Even responding with good intentions can make a bad review situation worse. One of the challenges with online reviews is that once it is out there, you can’t take it back, so always respond with respect and be polite.

Why Respond to Online Reviews?

There are two main reasons to respond to online reviews. The first reason, they are your customers and you want to keep them as a customer so you need to acknowledge the issues and let them know you care. The second reason, other potential customers read online reviews and then decide to choose your business or keep shopping around. Online reviews can impact your business because people tend to blindly believe everything they read in reviews.


Tips for Responding to Bad Reviews

Don’t ignore! Read the review and digest the information. Don’t rush to respond before you do your research. Check out the validity of the complaint and the credibility of the person writing the review. You want to respond appropriately by acknowledging the problem they had, but it is important to know as much as possible about the situation before responding.

Respond in a prompt and polite manner. When I respond to reviews I always think about how I would feel if I was the customer in this situation. I also try to figure out if there is something I can do to change the reviewer’s mind. One of my favorite things about responding to reviews is that you have the chance to make an angry customer come back and like you. You have a second opportunity to make a good impression. It is fun and challenging to turn these situations around, so it feels really good when you can take an angry customer and somehow make the situation better and they become one of your fans.

Some people just want to be heard. I’ve had people call me to vent about a ton of different things throughout my event planning career. One of the biggest complaints I’ve had from some of the larger events I’ve produced is the lack of parking. There is never enough parking, that is the way it goes when you have tens of thousands of people going to an event at one time. My favorite way to handle these complaints is to first listen and make sure I completely understand their complaint and pay attention to the details. I sympathize with them because I understand where they are coming from. Then I try to tell them what we’ve done to make parking less of a problem and what we want to do to solve the problem. I also give them advice on adapting to the problem. I’ve had people call me to rip my head-off about parking problems and then at the end of the phone call they thank me for listening and for the insider tips. The most important thing is to listen. We also received these types of reviews online, so I would do my best to respond the same way as I would over the phone.

No canned responses! There is nothing more frustrating than taking the time to write a review and then have someone respond like a robot saying “Please email our office at wedontreallycareaboutyourcomplaint@wearelame.com so we can learn more” and then you see that same copy and paste response on all of their reviews. Nobody wants to talk to a robot, so they probably won’t bother emailing you, but they will tell everyone how bad your company sucks in their eyes, and at that point you won’t have the opportunity to respond publicly to their complaint.

Not all reviews deserve a response. It is hard to believe, but there are a lot of crappy people out there that completely make up stories and write bad fake reviews. If you see a review that is fake you should report it or flag it on the review site. Then the site moderators will have the opportunity to analyze the review and work with you to delete it if it is a fake review.

 

Special Event Yelp Review

It is hard for an event to come back from an incident where a car drives through the crowd and the driver is shot by police. It doesn’t seem fair to write a review of an event after an incident like that.

 

Hide your crazy, or don’t. There is also the case of the crazy reviewer that makes no sense or is completely belligerent. If they violate the terms of the review site with threats, personal attacks, or filthy language, definitely report them so the site administrator can analyze and remove the review. If the review is so crazy it doesn’t deserve a response and other potential customers reading the review will see that it has crazy written all over it, do not validate the review with a response. My favorite example of this was when we had a guest at the hotel I worked at that wrote a scathing review about our housekeeping employees because they only left one bottle of shampoo and conditioner on the counter for the guest. The guest went on to share they were staying for two nights and complained that there should be at least five bottles of each available to her per night. Now any normal person would see that this negative review has crazy all over it and would take it with a grain of salt, or skip past that review altogether. And if the customer isn’t smart enough to read that review and see the crazy, you probably don’t want them as a customer.

Burning Man event review

This is a spoof event review on Yelp. When you look at Burning Man reviews they are almost all snarky and written as satire.


What About Good Reviews?

Don’t ignore! Respond to the customer and thank them for their kind words, show your appreciation for their business, and don’t forget to tell them you look forward to serving them again in the future. It is always easier and more cost effective to keep a happy customer than to attract a new customer. People like to be acknowledged even when their review is not a complaint, so don’t be shy and make sure to say thank you.

Share the review with your employees. Show employees some appreciation for earning a great review. Offer extra kudos to any employee that is mentioned by name in the review because it is quite an honor for a customer to appreciate your service so much that they remember your name. Employees really take negative reviews to heart, so sharing the positive reviews is just as important, if not more important. I firmly believe that positive reinforcement and good reviews being shared with employees leads to more positive reviews from customers.

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Find Your Own Best Practices

Develop a strategy for responding to online reviews. Consider what you want to get out of responding to reviews and what your goals are before you get started. Also, determine some guidelines to make sure responses are polite and show respect for the customers. When I was looking for inspiration in handling a particularly bad review a few years ago I found a testimonial online by a restaurant owner. He said that he responded with all of his emotions and complete honesty to the negative reviewer, some very unkind words were exchanged between the parties. The reviewer ended up suing the owner of the restaurant and won. It nearly bankrupted the business owner. If that doesn’t put into perspective how important it is to have a strategy and guidelines for responding to reviews, I don’t know what could make it clearer.

Online Review Pic 1

Embrace Online Reviews

Reviews can impact your business, like it or not, so I suggest you take the online reviews coming your way and embrace them. Look at it as an opportunity. If they offer good constructive criticism, use it to your benefit to make some changes. Take the time to respond. You have the chance to let your customers know that they have been heard and that you care about them. Respond in a polite and respectful way to help protect your reputation and increase customer satisfaction. Most of all, take advantage of the opportunity you’ve been given to engage with your customers by embracing online reviews good and bad!

What are you doing to manage your special event reviews? Let us know in the comments below.


The Year of the Rooster!

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Photo by: Bobo Boom, Flickr.com

I know it might sound goofy to some people, but I find personal and professional inspiration in horoscopes. They tend to bring words of wisdom into your life at just the right time. Every year I celebrate the Chinese New Year in my own way by reading horoscopes and studying the attributes of the Chinese Zodiac signs to see how they might influence my life for that year. Since I’ve started this practice, the horoscopes have given me great insight and hope for the new year.

On January 28, 2017, we welcomed the Chinese New Year. This ancient system is thought be over 5000 years old. It is based upon a twelve-year lunar cycle. This year is the year of the Fire Rooster and most people are thrilled to see the 2016 year of the Monkey come to an end.

The best way to describe the Monkey Year is mischievous. People born in the year of the monkey are prone to be witty, intelligent, clever, curious, and practical jokers. The year of the Monkey is often challenging and prone to havoc and disorganization. I don’t think that anyone would argue that 2016 didn’t see its fair share of challenges. It was an all-around crazy year with many upsets and surprises.

Last year was a crazy year for so many people. The stories my friends in the event planning business have been telling me are hilarious, and sometimes down right insane. It was also a Leap Year, so it just seemed like an off-year for most. I know I had an off-year, but I ended up kicking-butt at the end by changing jobs and focusing more on the things that make me happy.

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Photo: pixabay.com

So, out with the old year, and in with the new as we welcome the Rooster Year. I have high hopes for the year of the Rooster. I think it will be a good year for event planners and public relations professionals all around. The Rooster Year will create a climate where people will enjoy unexpected successes and hard work will begin to pay off. Make sure to crow about your accomplishments like a Rooster, good news leads to more good news.

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Photo: pixabay.com

The traits of the Rooster Year are tremendously attractive. People born in the Rooster Year are very healthy people. They are usually polite, social, fun, popular with crowds, and enjoy the company of others. They also like to share good news and accomplishments, which makes this a great year for public relations professionals to share good news about their clients. The Rooster Year should also be a fantastic year for event planners because everyone will be feeling the social vibe of the Rooster. This should lead to a lot of successful special events.

I’m predicting that we will all start progressing and that the year will be full of positive events and good news. We will have to work hard, another trait of the Rooster, but we will reap the rewards. We are just dealing with the hangover from the Monkey year right now, and things will start flowing in a positive direction as we head into Spring.

It is time to go out and charge full steam ahead. Just embrace the Rooster traits of commitment, hard work, good manners, be social, and have some fun. It will be a great year!

Click here to discover what the year of the Rooster has in store for you!


39 North Pole Village 2016

39 North Pole Village Returned to Sparks December 9 – December 10, 2016

elf-shirts

Volunteer Sweatshirt

39 North Downtown community group presented the 2nd annual 39 North Pole Village on Friday, December 9 and Saturday December 10 at Victorian Square Plaza. I have had a lot of fun with this event because I helped start it last year, and I am helping it grow each year.

The event unofficially started in 2014 with a tiny event where parents brought their kids down to Victorian Square to write letters to Santa and put them in a large mailbox. Then in 2015, we decided to add a light festival and vendors to the event and call it 39 North Pole Village. Interest in the event skyrocketed! It has been very rewarding to see the event grow and I’m proud to be co-chair of the committee that is making this happen for the Sparks community.

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Photo by: Donald Abbott

The second-year of 39 North Pole Village was at least twice as large as the 2015 event. The winter wonderland featured thousands of sparkling lights, holiday shopping booths, great food and holiday cheer. There were free pictures with Santa and a special booth where children could write letters to Santa. The highlight of the event was Engine 39, the newest member of the “Rail City” fleet. Rides are always free, so this is a great option for families that are looking to entertain the little ones.

Another new addition this year was the Veterans Resource Center of America booth run by Shane Whitecloud and crew. This booth was fully stocked with Christmas cards so event attendees could sign a card and have it sent to military folks serving overseas. It was so popular that they ran out of cards and had to find more. It was a great addition to the second annual event and nice to see our community sending holiday wishes to our military serving far from home.
cards-to-military

39 North Pole Village is a truly special holiday celebration. This year we added the Griswold Family Challenge. The event, inspired by Clark Griswold in the Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation movie, saw families and businesses compete for the best light display. This is a really fun competition because there is cash on the line. It costs $100 to enter the competition and $50 per entry fee goes into the prize pool. The winner this year was Salon 2000 and they won $350. I’m going to try to get a lot more businesses to compete next year, hopefully the prize money is more than $1,000 in 2017.

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This was my Griswold Family Challenge display. I didn’t win, but the kiddos loved my display.

We also had a larger vendor tent in 2016. It was sold out to vendors renting space. The tent is heated so it is very popular at this winter event. The vendors said it was a great event for them and they all went home with quite a bit of extra money in their bank accounts just in time for the holidays. We hope next year to have so many vendors that we need two tents.

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Vendor tent at 39 North Pole Village – Photo by: Donald Abbott

We were happy with how the event turned out this year, but there was one big issue. Mother Nature. On the second day of the event it rained all day and all night, which put some pressure on the power grid and caused some of the light displays to go dark. We are going to need to invest in more electrical supplies and protective boxes since this is an outdoor winter event.

We also had a bit of flooding in the vendor tent because it was raining so hard. Our volunteers and board members jumped into action and we were able to save the light displays and reroute the flood waters as best as possible. Having events during the winter is challenging to say the least!

We have big plans for this event. I personally hope that over the next 10 years it continues to grow and eventually it is so big that the displays stay up the whole month of December. It is a lot of work to setup the displays so it is a bummer when you take them down after two days. The event needs to grow so that the displays can be built and left open to the public for the whole month.

We had several new sponsors this year and I’m sure that will also continue to grow next year. With the community’s help, we will grow a new holiday tradition for future generations!

I can’t wait to see what we accomplish with the 2017 event!
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For more information about 39 North Downtown click here.

If you would like to become a sponsor or volunteer for 39 North Pole Village, please email me at LisaJansenNV@gmail.com and I will send you more information.

 


Saying Goodbye to NuggLife

Resigning is never easy. And resigning from a job you love is heartbreaking.

After four-and-a-half years and five event seasons, I decided it was time to try something new and to leave behind my beloved NuggLife. I had reached a new level of burnout after Rib Cook-Off and I was constantly dealing with illness. I was working six to seven days a week and a lot of overtime hours. It was supposed to be my slow season, but when your company sells, life changes. In the last four-and-a-half years I’ve been through two back-to-back company sales, which is extremely challenging. There were so many signs, and I knew it was time to move on and find a job that would offer me a better life balance and normal working hours. So, with a heavy heart and just a smudge of anxiety, I decided it was time to try something new.

I hadn’t started seriously looking when my mother sent me the job listing for the Assistant Vice President of Community Relations at One Nevada Credit Union. I was honestly trying to resign and be unemployed over the holiday season, but this job listing was exactly what I was going to be looking for. It was a perfect opportunity! I applied and after several interviews, I received a great offer. I started working at One Nevada on December 5, 2016.

My new job duties at One Nevada include developing public relations programs, marketing, sponsorship development, and event planning to engage with members and build community awareness about One Nevada Credit Union.

Before leaving the Nugget, I gave four weeks’ notice. My last day was December 3, which was the night we held the inaugural Nugget Christmas Tree Lighting event and kicked off the 12 Nuggets of Christmas charity event. I gave the company a lot of notice because I wanted to make sure this event went well. I am a huge fan of the Nugget. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I received while working there, so I didn’t want to let them down and leave them right before a big event. I worked with a fantastic team and I will always be grateful to them for their support and friendship. It was hard to say goodbye to my coworkers that I absolutely loved and adored. We had so many great memories together!

My Last Week at the Nugget and the Last Supper

My last week of work was crazy. You would never even know I was leaving. I was taking care of business as normal and making sure that we were ready for the tree lighting and the 12 Nuggets of Christmas event.  Even though we were busy, my team found time to have a going away lunch for me, Tim and Adam, who were also leaving at the end of the week. The Marketing Department tradition is that we walk down to Great Basin Brewery together for lunch and we take a group photo. This isn’t just any group photo, it is the Last Supper picture. The people leaving have plates held behind their heads just like halos. We all make a funny pose. I was so bummed to be leaving my coworkers, but I was glad we were able to celebrate together one last time. Below is the picture from our Last Supper of NuggLife.
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My Last Day Working at the Nugget

Like any good workaholic, I made sure to put in a whole day for my last day. I started at 9:00 a.m. and I didn’t finish that night until nearly 11:00 p.m.

It was an exciting day because it was event day. I love event day! The excitement, the butterflies, the burst of weird event energy, it is always a good time. I started the day off by going through all the event details. I was responsible for the tree lighting ceremony and also for making sure the 12 Nuggets of Christmas was planned. Everything looked to be in order. The checks were printed for the charities, and everyone knew when and where they were supposed to be each night of the 12 Nuggets of Christmas event.

The tree was magnificent! It was a towering 105 foot tall White Fir from Klamath Falls, Oregon. The tree was a gift from the Marnell Family and the Nugget to the community of Sparks. After a whole week of a sign company using cranes to decorate the tree, we were ready for the lighting. The ceremony began at 5:30 p.m. It started with Reno High School students singing Christmas carols. Mrs. Clause and Engine 39, the 39 North Downtown community train, delivered almost 300 unwrapped toys for local children in need. Then our general manager gave a welcome message, presented Toys for Tots with a $2,000 check, and we had the crowd countdown to light the tree. When the crowd gave the sign, my coworker’s two sons hit the big switch for show, and our Elf Greg hit the power box for real, and with a big pop the tree lit up. It was gorgeous!

The event went well, but if I was planning it again, I would add a big stage and have the general manager and an MC host the event. I would also add a DJ spinning high energy Christmas tunes and a few portable heaters. It was freezing out there!
tree-lighting-2016

After the ceremony and a lot of photos were taken, it was time to have a celebratory drink and then head back to my office to pack up. After I was gone, my coworkers told me that was the cleanest that office had ever been, even in the decade before I worked there.

I’m officially a recovering workaholic. It is a bit odd to go from working so much and in such an intense environment to working a normal schedule in a calm work place. I love my new job, but it is definitely different. I’m adjusting, but sometimes I miss my old coworkers and the high energy felt working in a casino. I’ve been going through files and old pictures trying to get organized and get my life back together at home. I’ve been finding a lot of souvenirs that bring back memories of NuggLife.

In my new role at One Nevada, I will continue to blog about event management, public relations, marketing, customer service, sponsorship relations, and community relations. I will also tell a few stories and share some memories of my crazy days at the Nugget. Now I can tell the really good stories! Stay tuned!


2016 Brews & Boos Beer Fest – Brewery List

Saturday is the 2nd Annual Nugget Brews & Boos Beer Fest. The event will be held in the Nugget Ballroom. Tickets are $30 per person in advance for the all-you-can-responsibly-drink experience and concert. Ticket prices go up to $40 the day of the event. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and the concert starts at 8:00 p.m. when Boogie Knights world-famous disco revival band takes the stage. The band will perform everyone’s favorite ‘70s tunes while completely dressed in costume including ’70s style leisure suits and bell bottoms. It is a show you won’t want to miss!

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Photo Courtesy of Boogie Knights

There are 41 breweries participating in Brews & Boos Beer Fest.  Each brewery pours 1-3 types of beer depending on what they want to bring to the contest. There are different varieties of brew and all the breweries are hoping to win the People’s Choice award. Check out the list below to see if your favorite brewery will be featured at this year’s Brews & Boos Beer Fest.

  • 10 Barrel
  • 21 Amendment
  • Alaskan Brewing Co.
  • Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
  • Big Sky
  • Blue Moon
  • Brewer’s Cabinet
  • Brooklyn Brewing Co.
  • Common Cider Company
  • Constellation Brand Beer (Corona and Modelo)
  • Coronado Brewing Company
  • Deschutes Brewery
  • Drake’s Brewing Company
  • Epic Brewing Company
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • Founder’s
  • Golden Road
  • Great Basin Brewery
  • Hangar24 Craft Brewery
  • High Sierra Brewing
  • Kona
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company
  • Leinenkugel Brewing Company
  • Lost Coast Brewery
  • Mammoth Brewing Company
  • Moylan’s
  • North American Breweries
  • Nowhere in Particular
  • O’Hara’s
  • Paulaner / Hacker Pschorr
  • Pizza Port Brewing Company
  • Rekorderlig Cider
  • Rubicon Brewing Co.
  • Ruby Mountain Brewing Company
  • Saint Archer Brewing Company
  • Sam Adams
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Killian’s
  • Stone Brewing
  • Tap It Brewing Co
  • Virginia City Brewery & Taphouse
  • Warsteiner

 

brewsboosadtilePurchase your tickets today at NuggetCasinoResort.com 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
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Nugget Ballroom
General Admission: $30
Doors Open: 7:00 p.m. 
Take the Elevator Home Package Available for $59
Book a room by calling reservations at 775-356-3300

Buy tickets at NuggetCasinoResort.com

 


Reno Lantern Fest 2016

Last October I missed the inaugural Reno Lantern Fest. I read about the event after it was already sold out. I was disappointed because I knew I missed out on something extraordinary.

Saturday I was able to finally attend my first Lantern Fest. I talked my parents and my friend Val into attending with me. They weren’t quite sure what they were in for, but I knew it would be an amazing experience.

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Mom & Dad at Reno Lantern Fest

The Lantern Fest is a celebration held out at the Fernley Raceway, about thirty minutes from Reno, NV. Thousands of people attended the event. They wrote their dreams and wishes on paper lanterns and then released them as a symbol of hope.

The floating lanterns are a beautiful tradition. It is a meaningful experience to release a lantern and the experience leaves you with a positive attitude and feeling optimistic.

Additional event information can be found at www.thelanternfest.com.

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Rib Cook-Off 2016 Entertainment Lineup Announced

Yesterday, it was my pleasure to visit local radio stations with my coworkers and announce the main stage entertainment lineup for the 28th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. Usually we aren’t able to announce the entertainment lineup until late July, so I was very excited to announce the entertainment on the last day of May. Feeling like a bit of an overachiever right now!

This year’s main stage lineup features artists from many different genres. We booked different types of acts so there is something for everyone. All shows are free and there is a fun festival vibe to be enjoyed while eating as many ribs as your heart desires.

Wednesday, August 31 – The Rocket Man Show – Elton John Tribute

I am so excited about this show! We’ve had several tribute acts at the Nugget over the last year and they are some of the most talented musicians I’ve seen. I suspect Rus Anderson’s performance will blow me away! He performs as a young Elton John in a fun tribute show with lots of energy and costumes that Elton John would be proud to wear. Wait… he was proud to wear them! He once owned these gorgeous costumes. This is going to be a high energy, fun-filled show to kick-off the event!

Thursday, September 1 – The Garage Boys

We are pleased to feature the Garage Boys at the Rib Cook-Off this year. They are a band out of Las Vegas and they have a big following in northern Nevada. They are high energy and they know how to rock. The Garage Boys will sing some of their original songs and also perform those covers that everyone loves. From the 80s to today, Classic Rock to Country, they have it covered. The crowd is going to go crazy when The Garage Boy take the stage!

Friday, September 2 – Vertical Horizon

I love the ‘90s! Who doesn’t? That is why we booked Vertical Horizon for Friday night. Vertical Horizon has released three albums. Their big hit was “Everything You Want,” which sold over two million copies. The song was the most played single of 2000. This pop rock band is incredibly talented! Vertical Horizon has several radio hits that are sure to take you back to the ‘90s Friday night at the Rib Cook-Off.

Saturday, September 3 – Jessie James Decker

About 8 years ago my dear friend Valerie introduced me to Jessie James music. Val was obsessed with the Blue Jeans song. It is a catchy tune and it gets stuck in my head every time I hear it. Since then Jessie James has gone on to release several hits. She recently married Eric Decker, the famous NFL wide receiver that plays for the New York Jets. She also stars in a popular E! reality TV show documenting her life with Eric. I really admire Jessie James! She is a savvy business woman with her own clothing and accessory line, reality show, and hit internet channel with online beauty tutorials. She believes in empowering women through her businesses. I admire her for her dedication. She has also traveled to the Middle East to visit troops stationed overseas. She has kept true to her vision and her dreams even when the record companies were trying to mold her into something else. She is a very funny, sassy, flirty, and somewhat unfiltered personality on her TV show. The crowd will fall in love with her during her first song.

Sunday, September 4 – Eddie Money

He has two tickets to paradise and by that I mean the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. We are excited to feature the legendary music of Eddie Money. From the late ‘70s until today he has had a huge career and puts on one hell of a show. I predict the VIP Rib Village will sell out Sunday night once the word gets out that Eddie Money is the performer that night.

Monday, September 5 – The Original Wailers

This is the last day of the festival. The concert is in the early afternoon. Burners returning from Burning Man stop by to get their fill of ribs on the way home. We wanted to book an act that would be peppy, bring a happy festival vibe, and draw people from every age group as well as attract the Burning Man crowd as they head home. We found our perfect match in The Original Wailers. Their music is internationally known. The band, with Bob Marley on the microphone, sold over a billion dollars worldwide with their unique beats, memorable and touching lyrics, and amazing guitar sounds. I saw the band a few years back in Lake Tahoe and they put on a great show. I will never forget the experience of seeing them live on stage. They were fantastic! The show will be packed as we enjoy our last concert at Rib Cook-Off 2016.

The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off will be held August 31 – September 5, 2016 in Sparks, Nevada. The six-day BBQ festival is the largest BBQ festival in the country and features a fantastic entertainment lineup. The event features approximately 40 artists on two different stages. Today we announced the entertainment for the Main Stage. We will announce the entertainment lineup for the Floor & Decor West End stage in the next few weeks. We are just fine tuning the lineup right now.  Stay tuned!

For more information or to buy tables at the VIP Rib Village please visit www.nuggetribcookoff.com.


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