Category Archives: Tourism

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.


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

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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.

I love Sparks because…

Ribs Sky View

Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off 

We now have proof that special events in Sparks, Nevada are incredibly important to citizens in the community!

The City of Sparks just finished the first phase of #IgniteSparks, the planning process to develop the 2030 vision statement for the community. The goal of the first round of surveys was to find opinions on what is important to citizens in the community, how the city should grow, and what should be included in the next master plan for Sparks. The initial phase was a year-long collection of surveys with the goal of finding answers to three very important questions.

The questions…

  1. I love Sparks because…
  2. My biggest concern for Sparks in the year 2030 is…
  3. My wish to make Sparks better by 2030…

According to the Sparks Tribune, 743 survey responses were collected.  The results for the first question were no surprise to me.  The responses to I love Sparks because… 15.06% small town, 13.16 % community, and 10.04% events.  These are the main reasons I enjoy working in Sparks! I couldn’t agree with the responses more!

When people ask me about planning events in Sparks I tell them “We have small town charm and big city events.” We truly enjoy working with our friends at the City of Sparks during events season because there is a sense of community, it feels like a small town, and everyone is friendly. This survey really captures the City of Sparks greatest strengths, and something we should continue to grow and nurture.

It is no secret that the great people in Sparks take pride in their special events. I’m glad to see this is important to them and that it leads to civic pride. I hope they will continue to support special events in the future. There are many challenges on the horizon for event producers. Having support from the community is vital. The company I work for is interested in producing more events; we just need the support of the community to make them successful.

The next phase of #IgniteSparks will include a more detailed questionnaire that asks how the city should grow. If people love special events and want more of them it would be interesting to see what type of events they favor and enjoy attending. We look forward to seeing the feedback and hope it will help us as we develop new events and keep the legacy events that Sparks residents take pride in for future generations.

For more information about #IgniteSparks 2030 vision planning process please go to

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

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.

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

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