Tag Archives: Tourism

Brews & Boos Beer Fest – Brewery List

Just here for the boosCraft 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.

  • 21 Amendment
  • Alaskan Brewing Co.
  • American River Brewing Company
  • Anchor Brewing
  • Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
  • Boulder Beer
  • Brewer’s Cabinet
  • Brooklyn Brewing Co.
  • Carlsberg Breweries
  • Common Cider Company
  • Coronado Brewing Company
  • Corona and Modelo (Constellation Brand Beer)
  • Deschutes Brewery
  • Drake’s Brewing Company
  • Grand Teton Brewing Company
  • Great Basin Brewery
  • Guinness
  • Hangar24 Craft Brewery
  • High Sierra Brewing
  • Kronenbourg Brewery
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company
  • Lake Tahoe Brewing Co
  • Leinenkugel Brewing Company
  • Lost Coast Brewery
  • Mammoth Brewing Company
  • Left Hand Brewing – Milk Stout Nitro
  • Ninkasi Brewing
  • North American Breweries
  • Paulaner / Hacker Pschorr
  • Pizza Port Brewing Company
  • Rekorderlig Cider
  • Rogue Ales
  • Rubicon Brewing Co.
  • Ruby Mountain Brewing Company
  • Sam Adams
  • Schilling Cider
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Stoneyhead Brewing
  • Tieton Cider Works · American Craft Cider
  • Track 7 Brewing Co.
  • Two Bald Guys Beverage Company
  • Under the Rose Brewing Co.
  • Vermont Hard Cider Co.
  • Warsteiner
  • Wasatch Brewery

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 at NuggetCasinoResort.com

Friday Night Pumpkin Walk – Reno Fun!

October 9, 2015 Pumpkin Walk

Great May Center Pumpkin Walk, 2015

Friday night was the 4th annual Great May Center Pumpkin Walk. The event took place at the Wilbur D. May Center at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park.

More than 500 hand carved pumpkins were lit up along the path through the May Center garden. There was trick-or-treating for kids and the event was part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, which is an awareness campaign to be sensitive to food allergies during Halloween trick-or-treating.

It was very obvious that the event is a big success and that this year the attendance increased dramatically. There were long lines, challenges with parking, and all the things you expect at a successful event with thousands of people.

The event took place Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. I arrived at about 6:00 p.m. and got in the long line making a big circle in the grass area at the park. Security thought it would take about 20 – 30 minutes to get through line but it actually took a little over an hour. I’m not complaining though, standing in line was still entertaining.

There were lots of children and adults running around in costume and the people in line around me were friendly. I used the time to catch up with my friends and their adorable son who was dressed up as a tiger. I also enjoyed watching the families in line and guessing who would go into melt down mode first after standing in line, the parents or the kiddies. There are some really good parents out there that made it a positive experience for the kids in line and taught them about being patient.

Tickets were $5.00 per person and children under 2 entered the event for free. This made it a great family event on a Friday night. This is also why attendance jumped so much this year. According to the event’s Facebook page a little over 4,000 people attended the Pumpkin Walk. Unfortunately they only had enough candy for 1,500 kids trick-or-treating.

The pumpkin walk was great fun! The holiday decorations and the pumpkins all along the trail were spooktacular. The volunteers were all very friendly and so were most of the people attending the event. Fall is a great time in northern Nevada, the weather is usually decent and the trees are beautiful as the leaves change color. This event really adds to the fall experience and celebrating Halloween.

I expect this to become a family tradition event in Reno and to keep growing. It has a lot of potential! If the event is going to continue to grow they will need to make a few changes. Here is my unsolicited advice from one event planner to another…

• 2 Night Event
o Twice as much work, but the event has grown enough to warrant having a second night. The event should be held on both Friday and Saturday night. This should help increase the funds raised and enhance the experience for your guests and volunteers since it will spread the crowds out over two nights. You have a quality event with lots of demand, it needs an additional night so everyone can enjoy the experience and you can raise more money for your cause.

• Admission Pricing
o Raise the price to $7 – $10 per person. Then discount it to $5 per person if they donate a pumpkin.

• Pumpkins Galore
o Accept pumpkin donations on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning in exchange for discount tickets so you can switch out pumpkins that have started to spoil. This year it was about 90 degrees on event day, which is unseasonably warm for Reno. This caused the pumpkins to spoil faster. If I were a local company that owned a refer truck I would seriously consider donating it to the museum that week to help preserve the pumpkins. Having that truck parked right in front of the event is basically a big billboard for thousands of people to stare at while in line.

• Line Management
o A few volunteers need to direct the line better. This year the line made a big circle and then it crossed over the line again a few times because there were so many people in line and no volunteers were there directing the line. It was really hard to figure out where the end of the line was. Having someone direct the line so it snaked around more and didn’t make a big circle would help keep it moving faster. Keep the line to one side of the grass area though so the kids still have room to run and play. Seeing kids make new friends and letting them run around and play in their costumes made standing in line easier for all the parents out there.

This is a very unique and special event. It has the qualities that make a legacy event. I hope the Great May Center Pumpkin Walk continues to grow and that it becomes a family holiday tradition here in Reno. The volunteers and event planners did an amazing job. Kudos to the local children’s organizations that carved the hundreds of pumpkins for the Pumpkin Walk. I look forward to attending this event again next year and seeing how it grows over time.

For more information about the event and Wilbur D. May Center or to make a donation to help support event expenses please click here.

Making Lemonade out of Smoke

Photo Credit: http://www.photl.com

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

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.

5. Adapt
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.

Additional Reading:

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

Nevada Would Welcome Gen Con with Open Arms

Gen Con

Image Credit: Gen Con Facebook Page

I’ve been closely watching the news out of Indiana this week about the controversial religious freedom bill. As someone that works in tourism I can see how damaging this bill could be to future tourism and convention business, as well as economic development in general.

I don’t want to focus on whether the bill is right or wrong. After eight years as a political television show producer I’ve mastered the art of agreeing to disagree so this blog is not the place to debate the issues in the bill. The real point of this blog is to invite business and conventions not happy with their political environment to consider Nevada and encourage you to pay attention to your political environment because it can have a tremendous impact on your business.

In this situation Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, is threating to leave the State of Indiana or limit future business growth. This would be a huge hit to their economy. In the convention and tourism industry Gen Con is threatening to move their convention because the new bill doesn’t provide the type of welcome environment that they need for their convention. This got me thinking we should get all the large properties in our area together to bring Gen Con to Reno. It also reminded me that the political environment that your business operates in can have consequences and it is important to be involved and pay attention.

Losing Gen Con would be a big hit to Indianapolis considering it is estimated that the event brings in $50 million economic impact. The event is billed as the “Best Four Days in Gaming” and is the original and longest-running gaming convention in the world. People come to the convention from all over the United States and from more than 40 countries. The event happens the last weekend of July, perfect timing right before Hot August Nights!

Gen Con Parade

Image Credit: Gen Con Facebook Page

Reno would be perfect for this crowd! We are welcoming, we have gamers locally, we have many different venues, and we love a good party where people dress up in costumes. Convention attendees would be welcome in Reno! They would find an affordable place to have their convention with a lot of different opportunities for entertainment. The convention is so big it could take over the town and we would welcome them with open arms!

As I did more research my dream of bringing Gen Con to Reno came to a screeching halt. It turns out the event is too big for Reno. With 56,000 unique attendees over four days we probably don’t have enough hotel rooms in the Reno/Sparks area, we have approximately 20,000 rooms. We might have more rooms by 2020 when their contract with Indianapolis is up for renewal.

In the meantime, I would like to encourage Gen Con to consider moving to Las Vegas, our bigger sibling city to the south. The weather is nice, and they are also welcoming and accepting of all people. Nevada is a great destination for conventions, we are happy to provide an environment that welcomes all attendees. The hospitality industry is what Nevada is world famous for and we know how to host world-class conventions. I know Las Vegas would welcome you with open arms. All of us in Nevada hope before you make any decisions you will come check out all the opportunities the Great State of Nevada has to offer.

Looking to book a convention in Nevada? Here are some helpful links:

Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority
Nugget Casino Resort
Travel Nevada – Nevada Tourism Commission

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