Brews & Boos Beer Fest & Costume Party returns to the Nugget next week. I’ve been working very hard on this event over the last few months. We are getting excited for the 2nd annual beer tasting and Halloween extravaganza! The event takes place this year on Saturday, October 29, 2016 in the Nugget Ballroom. Brews & Boos offers more than fifty types of brews and live entertainment by the world-famous Boogie Knights disco revival band.
We designed this event as a counter offer to all the crazy scary and scandalous options for Halloween fun you can find in Reno. We realized that a lot of people would like to hire a babysitter and then go out to enjoy a night on the town tasting delicious beers while being entertained by a live band. Our patrons wanted to go somewhere fun, but not too crazy. So we designed Brews & Boos to be a very fun and very laid back type of Halloween party where customers can enjoy tastings by going table-to-table trick-or-treating brewer-to-brewer.
Brews & Boos is more than a beer tasting event. It is a rocking concert! This year we are featuring the funky sounds of Boogie Knights, the renowned disco revival band. The band first started back in 1992 as a Halloween gag in Los Angeles. Almost overnight, the band became a big hit across the nation. They have a worldwide following, are featured on MTV programs and at major sporting events. All of this makes them the perfect band for Nugget Brews & Boos. The Boogie Knights show is complete with choreography, polyester, afros and bell bottoms. It is the greatest disco experience you can have this side of the 70s and a show not to be missed!
Last year approximately 800 attended the event. This year my goal is to sell 1,000 tickets. We dropped the price to $30 per ticket, so this is a really affordable option. $30 for all-you-can-responsibly-drink! How are we not sold out already!?!
This event is a beer enthusiasts dream! Brewers feature a lot of seasonal fall and winter ales that you can’t find every day at the grocery store, making this an even more unique experience. We are looking forward to the Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Falls, Autumn Ale, Punk’In Drublic Imperial Pumpkin Ale as well as more than two dozen IPAs that will be available. This isn’t a typical beer festival because the brewers are responsible for the ambiance as they get into the Halloween spirit and decorate their booths to compete for best decorated brewery booth. Everyone is encouraged to dress up in Halloween costumes for a chance to win the best prize ever – cash!!!
Alaskan Brewing Co. at 2015 Brews and Boos Beer Fest
Customers can win cash prizes for best costume and the brewers can win prizes for best booth display, best dressed brew team, and People’s Choice for best beer.
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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.
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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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
Photo Credit: Instagram
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.
Photo Credit: Twitter
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.
Photo Credit: Facebook
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.
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.
Photo Credit: Instagram
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.
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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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: Quotesgram.com
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.
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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:
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 more 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!
All special events produce waste. The good events try to limit their impact on the environment.
Over the years the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off has developed a recycling and waste management program. This year I’d like to take that program to the next level. To do this, the event needs a Cleaner Environment Sponsor.
The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off removed more than 20 tons of recyclable and compostable products from the event last year. There are recycling bins placed strategically around the event and in the VIP Rib Village. The Rib Village is a very important part of the program. All plates, cups, napkins, and utensils are made of biodegradable material. The glass and plastic at the event is also recycled. If it isn’t compostable or recyclable, we don’t buy it for the VIP Rib Village. Last year we recycled 600 cubic yards of cardboard. Since the program started in 2011, there has been a 39% reduction in the amount of waste sent to the landfill from the event. We are proud of this accomplishment, but we want to do more!
We’ve started to run into problems with our recycling efforts. We run into issues with contamination. Customers constantly put trash into the recycling bins. The bins are well labeled, the customers just don’t read them, or are lazy and don’t care. They also contaminate the bins by putting liquids into the bins. Once the bin is contaminated we can’t recycle the other contents. A few ruin it for the masses when it comes to this part of the recycling program.
Another problem we face is that the event produces so much waste that we can’t sort it and dispose of it fast enough. This means sometimes it just has to find a dumpster. Event attendees don’t know they can recycle at the event. They don’t realize there are recycling bins and that they have the opportunity to recycle. We need to educate the customers about the recycling program.
We believe that with a sponsor we can invest more in the recycling program for the event. It is a great opportunity for a company to make a difference by helping the environment while also marketing their brand as an environmentally friendly business. We are looking for a sponsor that would contribute $15,000 – $20,000 for the program. The sponsorship funds will go towards hiring temp workers to help collect the waste at the event, purchasing tools needed for the program, purchasing additional bins for recycling, and advertising to promote the new program.
The vision for the official Cleaner Environment Rib Cook-Off sponsor is a partnership to enhance recycling efforts as well as education efforts. The funds from the sponsorship will help build a recycling station at the event where customers can give their trash to volunteers who will then sort it into the appropriate recycling and waste groups. This should cut down immensely on the amount of waste and increase the amount of materials recycled at the event. Having an assembly line of volunteers working with the right tools to sort the items would also help.
Additional funds from the sponsorship will be spent on advertising the program and promoting the recycling efforts at the event. It is going to be important to educate the public so they are aware of the recycling program. This is a great opportunity for the sponsor to receive positive press and news coverage for their contribution to the event’s recycling efforts. The program will be a main talking point at the media press conference luncheon in August.
We firmly believe that with the right partner we could dramatically improve the recycling program at the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. This sponsorship package is available for local and national sponsors. If your company is interested in pursuing this opportunity, please email RibCookOff@nuggetresort.com.
Photo Credit: RSCVA & UNR Center for Regional Studies
The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA) partnered with the City of Reno and City of Sparks to collect opinions from locals about special events. They wanted to hear from residents in particular because if they aren’t drawn to special events in the community the events probably won’t be attractive enough to draw tourists from out the area. The other goals were to share the information with event producers so they can use them to enhance their events, and use the information to solicit new events. Special events play a valuable role in our community. They add to quality of life and generate economic impact for the region. It is important to have a combination of residents and tourists to support special events.
Nina Brown, RSCVA; Francine Burge, City of Sparks; and Alexis Hill, City of Reno were the leaders for the survey project. They did a fantastic job! The survey was funded by the RSCVA, City of Sparks and City of Reno. Survey analysis was provided by Center for Regional Studies at University of Nevada. The survey responses are going to be incredibly helpful to all of us event producers in the region.
The results of the survey were shared with event producers at a meeting this week. There was a lot of good information, way too much to review in one blog post. There were a few results that were very fascinating to me. I will elaborate in future blog posts, but for now I’d like to highlight a few results that caught my attention.
Reno…Always Tardy for the Party!
The survey asked “When you go to an event, how far in advance do you make the decision to attend?” The top two responses were when first notified of event and the week of the event. Very few responders made plans further than a week before the events they attended. Event producers constantly talk about how Reno-Sparks ticket buyers usually buy tickets the day of the event and it always makes us nervous because we can’t forecast event attendance. The survey results just proved that we were right in our theory that they don’t plan ahead. It also made me think we should boost all of our advertising big time the week of the event to get as many locals to show up as possible.
Traditional Media Isn’t Dead
Everyone is crazy about social media and e-newsletters. If you want to attract millennials that is where you should be. If you want to attract customers 35 and older, you might want to consider spending some money on periodic publications, TV or radio. In the Reno-Sparks market that seems to be where most people over 35 years old get information about events and activities to attend.
Reno-Sparks is Price Sensitive
When it comes to spending money at events or on tickets, customers in the Reno-Sparks area are very price sensitive. They want to attend free events but not pay much for them. This is a pretty hard business model to follow. I couldn’t help but wonder if this community culture was caused by the heyday of the casinos when everything was comped because gaming was so profitable. Did everyone get used to having great experiences, the best entertainment, and low cost food and beverage subsidized by gambling? Why aren’t people willing to pay for the experiences that the special events offer? How can we make sure to price events correctly and offer enough value to keep customers coming back? This section of the report gave me a lot to ponder.
I look forward to delving deeper into the survey and applying the knowledge to the events I produce. Stay tuned for more blog posts about the survey results. There are countless morsels of good information to share that event producers can use to improve their events and give customers more of what they want. I can’t wait to apply some of the lessons learned this upcoming event season!
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