Tag Archives: Star Spangled Sparks

The Business Cycle for Event Producers

Business Cycle - MadAboutEventsBlog.comThe business cycle is one of my boss’s favorite discussion topics. If you want to be successful in business or be a successful event producer you need to know about the business cycle. You better pay close attention to your performance and financial statements so you know your business cycle stage.

Business cycles are often described as periods of expansion and recession in the course of business. The cycle happens over and over. There are three main stages to the business cycle. The stages are growth, stability and decline.  It is important to have good accounting so you know what stage your business is in at all times. If your business slips into decline and you see the trend in your numbers it is important to find a way to grow, or you may just go out of business.

The business cycle also applies to special events. Many long term events stay in the stability stage for a long period of time. Events are able to maintain the stability stage a lot longer than most businesses. I’m in that situation with one of the events I produce. The event saw rapid growth but then over the last three years the numbers have been very stable. They are great numbers, but we aren’t seeing much growth. I don’t want to see the event get in to the declining stage, so we are trying to add more value and new experiences for event attendees.

Another event I plan, Nugget Star Spangled Sparks, is in the decline stage. This year is the 17th annual event. The event saw nice growth the first ten years. Then the event became stable. Sponsorships weren’t growing, revenue from food and beverage wasn’t growing, it was all stable but no real growth. This was pretty good considering it was the great recession. Then over the last six years revenue has slipped and the event has been hit with rising expenses. Even though the economy has improved, the event’s financial statement has not. This has pushed the event into the decline stage. The event has lost a few sponsors and seen event production expenses rise. Now we are faced with the reality the event is in the decline stage.

The decline stage doesn’t have to last long. This is the time to come up with new ideas and adapt to the business climate. That is why we are adding more daytime activities to Star Spangled Sparks. For example, this year the event will have a Patriotic Bike Parade for kids of all ages. Right now we are looking for the perfect sponsor for the bike parade. Maybe I’ll call Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys “R” Us tomorrow to see if he is interested.

Star Spangled Sparks will also feature craft vendors for the first time. We are trying to find additional sponsors and accepting donations through a GoFundMe campaign. With any luck all of these efforts will bring the event back to the growth stage and we can continue to expand the event for future generations.

The business cycle is important to consider when you produce special events. Especially because analyzing the business cycled doesn’t leave room for denial. As long as you keep good records and accurate accounting you should be able to tell what stage your event is in the business cycle. Don’t ignore the cycle and you will be able to live through the decline stage and find new growth opportunities.

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Best of Northern Nevada 2015 Awards Party

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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.

BestOf2015 - SSS

BestOf2015 - RCO

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!

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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.

RCO Award SSS Award


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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