Tag Archives: Engine 39

39 North Pole Village 2017

39NPoleI’m a proud board member for 39 North Downtown, community group. Our next special event is 39 North Pole Village. Below is a press release I wrote for the event. Hope to see you all at 39 North Pole Village!


39 North Pole Village Grows to
Three-Day Light Festival

WHEN: Thursday, December 7 – Saturday, December 9, 2017
WHERE: Victorian Square Plaza

Santa at 39 North Pole Village

Santa at 39 North Pole Village

Sparks, Nevada – Two-days of holiday cheer in downtown Sparks was not enough for the thousands of people that attended 39 North Pole Village holiday light festival last year, so this year event planners have added a third day of festivities.

The popular event held December 7 – December 9, in downtown Sparks has thousands of holiday enthusiasts eagerly anticipating the transformation of Victorian Square into a winter wonderland. More than 10,000 people are expected to visit 39 North Pole Village this December. The annual holiday light festival features thousands of twinkling lights, FREE Engine 39 train rides, live music, craft vendors, great food, family fun and holiday cheer.

The heated vendor village tent will provide guests with an opportunity to stay warm while they shop local this holiday season. Santa will also be there to take requests and read special letters he has received to make this a truly special holiday tradition.

39 North Pole Vendor Village, Sparks, NV

39 North Pole Vendor Village 2016

Returning this year is the Griswold Challenge, where local families and businesses compete in a light display contest inspired by the one and only Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Last year Salon 2000 from Sparks won $300 in the contest. To enter teams will pay a $100 entrance fee for a 10×20 space to decorate.

Salon 2000, winner of the 2016 Griswold Challenge

Salon 2000 won the Griswold Challenge in 2016. The team won $300.

The Griswold Challenge is a unique contest because the displays are all built by local businesses and families. This is a People’s Choice award contest, so people attending the event will determine the winning team.  The winners will receive half of the contest registration fees as a cash prize. The more teams that compete, the larger the prize money awarded. “It’s really fun to compete in the Griswold Challenge. Last year contestants were working their displays and encouraging people to vote for them. It was really competitive,” said co-chair and community volunteer Lisa Jansen. “Voting ends at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night, and then the winner will be announced as soon as the ballots are counted. Everyone should make sure they come down early and vote for their favorite display.”

“This is a community event and we are seeking help from families and businesses in the community that would like to sponsor the event, compete in the Griswold Challenge, or volunteer,” said Angela Handler, 39 North Events Director. “We’re also accepting donations of new holiday lights and decorations.”

39 North Pole Village is sponsored by 39 North Downtown, City of Sparks, Nugget Casino Resort, One Nevada Credit Union, Tholl Fence Company, NV Energy, Nevada Health Link, and Contract Flooring.

People in the community who would like to support the event or compete in the Griswold Challenge can contact Angela Handler at (775) 690-2581 or angela@39NorthDowntown.com for more information.


39 North Pole Village Schedule of Events*
Thursday, December 7:

Event Hours: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

  • 4:00 p.m. – Display lighting and booths open
  • 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Free rides on Engine 39
  • 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Santa Visits
  • 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Excel Christian School Live Nativity Scene
  • 9:00 p.m. – Event Closes

Friday, December 8:

Event Hours: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

  • 4:00 p.m. – Display lighting and booths open
  • 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Free rides on Engine 39
  • 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Santa Visits
  • 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Excel Christian School Live Nativity Scene
  • 7:00 p.m. – Retro Radio Dolls Musical performance
  • 9:00 p.m. – Event Closes

Saturday, December 9:

Event Hours: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

  • 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Food Trucks
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. – Fate Awaits: Teen local band
  • 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Ugly Sweater Making
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Excel Christian School Live Nativity Scene
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. – Visit with Santa
  • 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Free Rides on Engine 39
  • 4:00 p.m. – Display lighting
  • 4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. – Laughing Owl Preforms: Egg Nogged (A tale about a clumsy Elf)
  • 5:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. – Visits with Santa
  • 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Free Rides on Engine 39
  • 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Excel Christian School Live Nativity Scene
  • 7:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. – Tintabulations Handbell Ensemble
  • 9:00 p.m. – Event Closes

*Subject to change. Please check website for the latest schedule information.


39 North Pole Village 2016

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


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.


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.

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.


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.


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!

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.


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