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.
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.
Leave a comment | tags: #EventProfs, Awards, Awards Events, Awards Night Party, Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off, Best of Northern Nevada, Biggest Little City, Event Management, Nugget Casino Resort, Special Events, Star Spangled Sparks | posted in Special Events, Tourism
Every summer smoke from California wildfires causes hazy conditions in Reno. The smoke reduces visibility and has a serious impact on Northern Nevada’s air quality. This is a common problem during the summer months when wildfires are most prevalent. The smoke rolled in this weekend and it put a damper on the Reno Balloon Races special event on Sunday. This reminded me of the 2013 Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off when the whole valley was covered in smoke and there was little visibility because of the poor air quality. We were afraid it would wreck our event, but we made it through and learned these valuable lessons.
1. Pay Attention
Looking back at the 2013 event I wish I had watched the weather patterns closer and paid more attention to the news about the wildfires. We took a lets pray and see how it goes attitude. In hindsight I wish we would have paid more attention leading up to the event and been more proactive, especially with our communication with the public about event contingency plans and how we planned on continuing even if the smoke hurt air quality in Reno.
2. Over Communicate
The news didn’t do us any favors, that is for sure! During the event local news kept telling viewers to stay inside and avoid smoke. They didn’t have one expert on to scientifically discuss how the smoke would affect viewers, they just said stay inside, don’t go outside. Period. Then it got worse. The news in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area started announcing the Rib Cook-Off was canceled due to the smoke and the fires. This was not true. We had hotel guests calling upset we canceled the event and received several nasty emails. As soon as we calmed the guests down we started reaching out to the media to let them know the event wasn’t canceled and that we wouldn’t cancel the event no matter what happened with the smoke and the weather. It was very challenging to get them to run corrections and share the correct information. In hindsight we should have been more proactive and sent out several press releases right away and increased our social media activity to let everyone know the event was going on as planned.
Photo Credit: RGJ.com
3. Make Lemonade
The first day of Rib Cook-Off 2013 our beverage sales were up 12%. I’m not sure if it was because the smoke made people want to drink more, or if attendance was up in general that day but we used this information to make lemonade out of lemons. We knew we needed some positive press to encourage people to attend the event in the smoky conditions. We looked at the event financial results after the first night (as we always do) and we realized they were great! We sent a press release announcing our record sales and that was newsworthy. Right away our local media gave the event positive coverage and shared the economic impact the event has on the community. Our community takes pride in special events and their great economic indicators. We make lemonade out of lemons, and so does the whole community.
Nugget Casino Resort Rib Cook-Off – August 2013
4. Keep up the Good Fight
One of the biggest lessons I learned from this was don’t give up. When the media is out there with bad information you need to keep fighting to get the accurate information out there. Half of the event attendees come from California, that is a few hundred thousand visits to the event. We needed to fight to get the information out there that no matter what happened with the smoke from the wildfires the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off would still be there for our attendees. Our team did a great job fighting to get accurate information to California media outlets. Our fearless PR Manager, Lauren Garber, wouldn’t give up until she got through, she kept fighting because it was the right thing to do.
When you plan special events things will happen that are outside your control. Mother Nature loves to torment event planners. It is important to adapt to whatever is thrown at you when you are an event planning professional. It isn’t always pleasant, but you need to look at the threats that might hurt your event and find ways to adapt and work around the threats. A good event planner can adjust so quickly and gracefully that most guests won’t even realize there was a problem.
I learned many valuable lessons during the 2013 Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. Even though at the time it was extremely challenging, I’m grateful for the lessons I learned and hopefully this will help other event planners think about these types of challenges and adapt quickly. Wildfire smoke and other natural events are out of your control, but you can control the way you respond and adapt.
Smoke, new layout not expected to dampen Nugget Rib Cook-Off in Sparks – RGJ Article
Looking Back at the Rib Cook-Off – Sparks Tribune Article
1 Comment | tags: #EventProfs, BBQ Festival, Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off, Communication, Event Management, Event Planning, Event Production, Lisa Jansen, Public Relations, Rib Cook-Off, Tourism | posted in Communication, Public Relations, Special Events
When people ask me about my career path they are always surprised to find out I went from producing a political television show to producing special events. They ask how I made the jump and I enthusiastically say – volunteer work!
Since my first year of high school I’ve been volunteering to plan special events. As a student at Wooster High School I was in leadership classes where we planned events, and I volunteered at the Italian Festival each year as part of the Partner in Education program with Eldorado Hotel Casino. I enjoyed volunteering at special events because it was fun, I learned new skills, met interesting people, and became knowledgeable about basic event logistics. I volunteered every time an opportunity was presented.
After college I became a Wrangler volunteer for Reno Rodeo Association and two years later a member. The more I volunteered to work on special events the more I realized it was a great creative outlet for me. After eight years producing Nevada NewsMakers television show, I decided it was time to make a change. I wanted to get out of politics and media to try something new. I started applying for marketing and community relations jobs. One day I realized I should also look at event planning. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” the famous Confucius quote became my motto.
Every job listing I saw for event planning required several years of experience. Since I spent most of my free time since being a teenager volunteering I had an incredible list of experience. I had a wide variety of volunteer references from my experiences volunteering with Reno Rodeo, Reno Santa Crawl, Rotary Club of Reno, and several other non-profits. All my experience came from volunteering and it made me the best candidate. If you want a career in event planning one of the best ways to develop experience is through volunteer work.
My suggestion for anyone that wants to start a new career in event planning is to get out there and volunteer. Use the volunteer opportunities to learn new skills and build a network. I’ve met some of the most amazing people in my life while doing volunteer work and they have made a big difference as I went from one career to the next. I was one of the lucky ones that turned my hobby and passion for special event planning into a paying gig, and you can too, if you get out there and start building a great resume through volunteer work.
City of Sparks
Great Reno Balloon Races
Hot August Nights
Barracuda Championship Golf Tournament
Know any other great special events looking for volunteers? Please post in the comments.
1 Comment | tags: Career Change, Event Management, Event Planning, Find Job Experience, Reno Rodeo Association, Special Event Careers, Volunteer, Volunteer Work | posted in Special Events