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!
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.
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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One of my favorite annual events to produce is Brew HaHa. This year we celebrated Brew HaHa’s 21st birthday. The beer tasting event is a fan favorite for beer enthusiasts in Reno and all over the west coast. With 76 breweries pouring 3-4 types of beer you should easily be able to find some new favorites. Many breweries launch or market test new beers at the event. The variety and different styles of beer poured at Brew HaHa gives fans something to look forward to every January.
This is truly a community event. All of the beer at Brew HaHa is donated by breweries and local distributors. Beer comes from all over the country. Highlights from this year’s event included a raffle with more beer swag than anyone could imagine, live music by Whitney Myer, and the extremely impressive Artist Village. The Artist Village featured 40 artists. It is fun to see guests at the event interacting with the artists and buying art directly from the artist. The event gives artists an opportunity to network and share their art with the community while also helping Sierra Arts raise funds to support arts programs.
Sierra Arts Foundation Check Presentation 2016
This year Brew HaHa 2016 was an enormous success! We raised $38,752 for Sierra Arts Foundation. The event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Sierra Arts. The funds will support Sierra Arts community arts programs, such as the Elder Care Concert Series, the Arts Integrations Project, and my personal favorite Arts in Education program.
This is one of my favorite events because it is so unique. There are a lot of beer events, but Brew HaHa is special because it has its own vibe and unique atmosphere. Everyone that works the event is fabulous! I have fun working with the brewers and distributors to make sure all the beer makes it to the event and everything goes well. The Sierra Arts Foundation employees and volunteers are top-notch. We have so much fun working together it doesn’t even feel like work.
I absolutely love this event! What’s not to love? We work closely with the Sierra Arts team to throw the biggest kegger in northern Nevada. Finally all those skills I developed having parties in my youth are paying off. I’m now using those skills to raise funds to support the arts community, and that is something to be proud of.
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Saturday, March 5, is the 4th annual Shamrock Shuffle in downtown Sparks. Shamrock Shuffle runners will be decked out in green running gear, funky holiday socks, and as much St. Patrick’s Day flare as they can collect.
The fun-run race begins at 4:00 p.m. on Victorian Avenue, right off Pyramid cross section in front of O’Skis Pub and Grill. Runners are encouraged to wear lots of crazy costumes for the 3.1 mile run through downtown Sparks. The more green the better! Registration is $25 per person and proceeds benefit Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful.
When the race is over, the fun doesn’t stop! After the fun-run enjoy great music and the after party. Crawl Reno is hosting a downtown bar crawl. Each bar has a $3 drink special, there will be costume contests and lots of photo ops.
If you go…
Dress to impress! There will be awards for best costume and fastest leprechaun.
Don’t forget to pick up your registration packet!
Parking is available in the free parking garages in the area.
Have a ton of fun! Be ready to have a blast and enjoy the after party with other fun-runners!
Don’t drink and drive. Get an Uber, take a taxi, or stay at the Nugget. Use Group Code TSHAMRK for a $39 room rate in the premier tower (plus resort fee and taxes) based on availability.
The deadline to register for the 2016 Shamrock Shuffle is 4pm on Friday, March 4.
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.
I love Sparks because…
My biggest concern for Sparks in the year 2030 is…
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.
The holidays are a magical time of year. There are so many traditions and more special events to attend than one can put on the calendar. To make the most of your family time this holiday season, don’t miss these three special events. They all offer family fun at an affordable price. Enjoy the season!
Sparks 29th Annual Hometowne Christmas Parade Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
This year the theme of the parade is “All Aboard The Hometowne Express!” and you should come down to Sparks to see one of the best holiday parades in the great State of Nevada. The traditional Christmas parade will feature a train theme this year. Enjoy entertainment, photos with Santa, and arts and crafts. Don’t forget to bring a toy for the annual Toys-For-Tots toy drive.
Parking: Surface lots around the parade route, in the parking garage by the theater or the garage on C Street. Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade Facebook Page
39 North Pole Village – New Event! Friday, December 11, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday, December 12, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
The Nugget Casino Resort and 39 North Downtown are partnering to bring you this new event that will turn downtown Sparks into a holiday winter wonderland. The event will feature thousands of sparkling lights, holiday shopping booths for unique gifts, great food, family fun and holiday cheer. Santa will be there to read special letters and take requests. Stop by the Hot Chocolate Holiday Train and take in a special showing of “The Polar Express” in the Amphitheater. This is an inaugural event that is sure to become a new holiday tradition for families in northern Nevada.
Cost: FREE (Christmas light donations are appreciated)
Parking: Surface lots around the event, in the parking garage on C Street, or in the Nugget parking garage. 39 North Pole Village Facebook Page
Friday, December 18 – Wednesday, December 23 Reno Dance Company’s 14th annual Nutcracker appearance will be held in the Celebrity Showroom at the Nugget Casino Resort. The Nutcracker ballet is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffman, and is always popular during the holiday season. The story takes place on Christmas Eve and has become a special tradition for many families that take in the show each year the week before Christmas. Proceeds from the show benefit Reno Dance Company.
Cost: Tickets are $26.95 for regular seating. $21.95 for seniors, and $19.95 for children under 12. VIP booth seating is available for $36.95 per ticket. Click here for show times, ticket purchases and additional ticket information.
Parking: Nugget Casino Resort parking garage or surrounding parking lots.
It truly is the most wonderful time of year. Enjoying time with family and friends is important, so please share this information with your loved ones. We hope to see you at all of these great events in Sparks!
Do you have a tradition or favorite special event you attend during the holiday season? Please share your traditions by posting a comment.
Inaugural events are very challenging. There are many unknown factors. It is challenging to predict attendance forecasts, correct budgeting, what other events you will be competing with, and if the event will be a success.
October 30, 2015 – Nugget Brews & Boos
Last night was the inaugural Brews & Boos Beer Fest held at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada. Forty-six breweries participated in the event. Approximately 800 guests were in attendance, which is great for a first-year event. Brews & Boos was competing with some heavy hitters around town including the Kevin Hart comedy show, Thunder from Down Under, and one of Reno’s premier Halloween events the 15th annual Wild Erotic Ball.
Brews & Boos Beer Fest started at 7:00 p.m. for VIP guests and 8:00 p.m. for general admission ticket holders. Event attendees wore costumes and went from table-to-table sampling seasonal and special brews. It felt like trick-or-treating for adults. The brew teams dressed up in costume and decorated their booths. Traveler Beer Company won the People’s Choice award for best beer. Drake’s Brewing Company won the best costume award, and Alaskan Brewing Company won for best booth display. The pumpkin contest was won by Pumpkin #6, which was carved to look just like a Volkswagen. The pumpkins were carved by Nugget employees for the annual employee pumpkin carving contest.
Snake Oil Sinners put on a rockin’ show! The band played for almost two and a half hours. They played covers from AC/DC, Ozzy, Van Halen, and my bosses personal favorite Led Zeppelin. The band was fantastic! The costumes were amazing and the crowd loved them. They were so good that people thought it was the DJ and that the band hadn’t started yet. Their performance was spot on! The artists were completely in character. A few guests found out who I was and they congratulated me on booking such great talent. They were really into it! A few brewers were begging me to book a similar act for Brew HaHa, which is a charity event we host in late January.
Photo Credit: Nugget Casino Resort Facebook Page
The beer festival also featured a costume contest. To qualify for the first round your costume had to be so good that we caught other event attendees asking for pictures. Guests had no idea how they qualified. We had a few employees observing and secret shopping the room to find out who the best of the best were. The finalists were then brought on stage and the winner was chosen by crowd applause. It was a tough competition but the creepy clown eked out a win.
I look forward to planning the 2nd annual Brews & Boos Beer Fest next year. The event was very popular for an inaugural event and I hope to see it become a premier Halloween event that attracts both tourists and local guests. I know all those in attendance this year had a great time. Special shout out and thanks to #TeamNugget. I work with amazing people! They held a Donald Trump campaign rally the day before and were able to flip the room in time for this spooktacular event. It was a huge accomplishment! Special thanks to the Wilbur D. May Museum for letting us borrow their Halloween decorations for the event in exchange for a donation. Community partnerships like this make Reno a great place and allow us to share our resources.
Happy Halloween to all! Hope to see thousands more at Brews & Boos 2016.
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Craft 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.
Alaskan Brewing Co.
American River Brewing Company
Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Brooklyn Brewing Co.
Common Cider Company
Coronado Brewing Company
Corona and Modelo (Constellation Brand Beer)
Drake’s Brewing Company
Grand Teton Brewing Company
Great Basin Brewery
Hangar24 Craft Brewery
High Sierra Brewing
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Lake Tahoe Brewing Co
Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Lost Coast Brewery
Mammoth Brewing Company
Left Hand Brewing – Milk Stout Nitro
North American Breweries
Paulaner / Hacker Pschorr
Pizza Port Brewing Company
Rubicon Brewing Co.
Ruby Mountain Brewing Company
Tieton Cider Works · American Craft Cider
Track 7 Brewing Co.
Two Bald Guys Beverage Company
Under the Rose Brewing Co.
Vermont Hard Cider Co.
Purchase 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 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 atNuggetCasinoResort.com
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 NuggetCasinoResort.com
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 NuggetCasinoResort.com.