Tag Archives: Sparks Nevada

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.


Shamrock Shuffle into Sparks Saturday

Calling all leprechaun runners!

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…

  1. Dress to impress! There will be awards for best costume and fastest leprechaun.
  2. Don’t forget to pick up your registration packet!
  3. Parking is available in the free parking garages in the area.
  4. Have a ton of fun! Be ready to have a blast and enjoy the after party with other fun-runners!
  5. 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.

For more information go to CrawlReno.com.

3-3-16 Shamrock Shuffle

Best Holiday Events to Attend: Sparks Edition


Photo Source: pixabay.com

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.
Cost: FREE
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


The Nutcracker
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.

Star Spangled Sparks Event Recap

Following a long tradition, this year the Nugget Casino Resort hosted the 16th Annual Star Spangled Sparks 4th of July fireworks show. This event was a tradition started under the Ascuaga family ownership of the Nugget Casino. The Nugget began hosting the fireworks show after several other shows in the area were canceled due to a lack of funding. Local legend is that John Ascuaga stood up after other fireworks shows were canceled and declared someone needed to provide fireworks, so he volunteered to put on the fireworks show to save the community’s Fourth of July celebration.

The fireworks were a success this year, we shot them at 9:49pm which was only a 4 minute delay. I’d call that show on-time. Not too shabby for a show with 5,000 pounds of fireworks. About 50,000 people filled Victorian Square to enjoy the FREE fireworks show. We had a good crowd this year. The police report for the annual event is usually about three pages long, this year it was only one page. Everyone enjoyed the show and the cooler weather helped keep everyone calm and relaxed.

Fox 11 Morning Show - Star Spangled Sparks

Lisa Jansen & Lauren Garber talking about Star Spangled Sparks with Bill Frankmore on Fox 11 Morning Show

The weather was a little rough on us leading up to the event this year. Our pyro team had to work around the daily thunder storms. Turns out it is a little dangerous to put together explosives on the roof of a casino in thunder storms. The rain is also an issue. The techs couldn’t put the explosives together if they got wet. So the crew worked around the weather and then at the last minute we had additional pyro team members show up to help finish the last part of setup. It was a challenge but it all turned out well in the end. The event attendees enjoyed the show and were delighted with some of the new types of fireworks.

We are already making plans and discussing next year’s Star Spangled Sparks event. The event has become extremely expensive. It costs approximately $150,000 to host this event. We’ve been lucky to have sponsors help cover some of the expenses over the years, but in the end the Nugget has spent about $100,000 each year to make sure Reno/Sparks has a great fireworks show on the 4th of July. The Nugget plans to continue hosting Star Spangled Sparks, but is looking for more community support in the form of local business sponsorships.

Drone Video:

July 4, 2015

Director of PR Lauren Garber & Director of Special Events Lisa Jansen AKA Team #NuggLife

Next year the event will look quite different. There are two new housing developments going into Victorian Square that will change the look and feel of Star Spangled Sparks. The Nugget has worked with the City of Sparks on these developments and made a land-swap to guarantee there is still room for special events over the summer.

The community doesn’t acknowledge or appreciate it yet, but at some point they will wake up and realize the new owners of the Nugget are committed to supporting a vibrant downtown area and keeping special events alive in the old rail city. The new owners continue to donate to local causes and support the community, they may not have a public image like the Ascuagas with their involvement of these causes, but they are there in the background supporting area programs, special events, and charitable organizations. Both Star Spangled Sparks and the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off will continue to grow and be events locals can be proud of that make our community a great place to live.

If your company would like to become a sponsor of Star Spangled Sparks please contact me at Lisa.Jansen@NuggetResort.com

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