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Reno’s Riverwalk District is Among America’s Coolest

Travel and LeisureReno’s Riverwalk District recently charmed its way onto Travel and Leisure’s list of “America’s Coolest River Walks”.  Home of the monthly wine, beer and art walks, it’s a fun and unique attraction in Reno’s vibrant downtown area, and locals will attest to its beauty and popularity.

The Riverwalk through downtown Reno is approximately 1.5 miles long loosely bound by Arlington Avenue Bridge (upstream) and Lake Street (downstream). A 12-mile pedestrian path connects two urban whitewater parks- one in the heart of Downtown Reno that includes Idlewild, Barbara Bennett and Wingfield Parks and the newest whitewater attraction at Rock Sparks in neighboring Sparks.

The $1.5 million park in Reno is more than 2,600 feet long and beckons kayakers, rafters, swimmers and water enthusiasts to test out the class II to III rapids as well as 11 drop pools. The improvements and recent additions in Sparks include riverbank landscaping, shade structures, play structures, parking and better access for people with disabilities.

According to the engineer who designed the park, Wingfield Park Island in Reno has been a historic location for community recreation and gathering since Reno was established. The outdoor venue houses a myriad of attractions and performances year-round. The most popular is Artown during the entire month of July.

Engineers designed both whitewater parks in a way that entices and encourages the entire community to participate in the river. Temperate weather and clean water quality, and of course, the whitewater improvements themselves permit people of any age and skill level to experience the cool, crisp waters of the Truckee River. From a toe-dip in the river to an adventure on a raft or kayak – it’s a day well-spent.

After a day of people-watching, picnicking and soaking in the rays on the Truckee, the Riverwalk district offers a wonderful selection of good eats and drinks – Silver Peak, Spread Peace Café or the Wild River Grille are just a few. Go on and see, taste and feel for yourself!

Tahoe Whitewater Tours: (775) 787-5000, 400 Island Ave. Reno, Nevada 89509

The Country’s Largest FREE Showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show

Rocky HorrorThe nation’s largest free showing of the 1975 cult film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” returns to Reno for the 11th year! Starting in 1998 as a small gathering of “Rockyphiles” in downtown Reno’s Wingfield Park, this event outgrew the venue, moving to the Reno Hilton Amphitheater. The Reno Hilton played host through 2006. By then, this free event had gained notoriety as being the largest free showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in the nation with an estimated 2006 attendance of 4,000.

In 2007, the Reno News & Review and Lawlor Events Center produced the event, moving it from July to late August in an effort to provide students with a fun, free activity during their first week on campus. Attendance grew that year by about 1,000 people, to over 5,000. For 2008, Lawlor Events Center and the RN&R established a new record with attendance topping 6,500. The 2009 Rocky Horror Reno event was canceled in 2009 due to lack of sponsor support.

With the help of Lawlor Events Center and participating sponsors, the Reno News & Review presents the 11th free showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The event happens Saturday, August 21, 2010at Reno’s Lawlor Events Center. Doors open at 7pm, event begins at 8pm. San Francisco’s “Bawdy Caste” will be on hand to give the audience the full Rocky Horror Experience, with a costume contest, prizes and a “Time Warp” dance lesson.

General admission tickets are free for the asking at Keva Juice locations throughout Reno and Carson City. A limited number of floor tickets are available at Reno and Carson City Keva Juice locations, free with the purchase of a smoothie. Official “Rocky Horror” after-parties are scheduled at Red’s Little Waldorf and the 5-Star Saloon in Reno. 

For more information, please call John Murphy, 775-324-4440, ext. 3515.

-John Murphy, special to the Reno Tahoe blog

Ride in a T-6 Airplane during the Great Reno Balloon Race!

BalloonThe Great Reno Balloon Race, thanks to the generosity of the National Championship Air Races, is auctioning off six exclusive airplane ride packages on eBay. The winning bidders will get to ride in T-6 airplanes during the “Missing Man” formation while the National Anthem is sung. The package will also include an official Balloon Race poster and pins.

The package is valued at more than $800 and bidding will start on eBay at $300. The “Buy it Now” bid will also be available for $1,000. Three packages will be auctioned off between Monday, Aug. 23 and Sunday, Aug. 29. Three more packages will also be available for bid starting Monday, Aug. 30 and ending Sunday, Sept. 5. Bidding will close promptly at 3 p.m. on Sunday each week. The last day to bid will be Sunday, Sept. 5. Visit the Reno Balloon Race website to be directed to the eBay auction page.

The Great Reno Balloon Race is the largest free hot-air balloon festival in the nation, and the proceeds from this auction will go directly toward the event’s operating expenses. Those who are unable to bid, but would still like to support the Balloon Race may also make donations at the event’s Web site.

-Rebecca Wikler, special to the Reno Tahoe Blog

Reno is Voted America’s Best Whitewater Town!

Reno WhitewaterOutside Magazine has named Reno the Best Whitewater Town in the country in its annual “Best Towns” feature. The Biggest Little City’s downtown rafting and kayaking park on the Truckee River was chosen for its prime location, lush surroundings and outdoor amphitheater in Wingfield Park. It’s no wonder the location is home to the annual Reno River Festival, attracting hundreds of world-class participants and tens of thousands of spectators each year.

And that’s not all! Outside Magazine also listed the new Aces baseball stadium, affordable housing and renovated downtown area among other reasons to love Reno, as well as the newest whitewater park at Rock Park in neighboring Sparks.

The year-round downtown Reno Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield offers adventure in the heart of the casino and arts and culture districts.  The $1.5 million park is more than 2,600 feet long and beckons kayakers, rafters, swimmers and water enthusiasts to test out the class 2-3 rapids and the 11 drop pools, providing easy access for kayaking maneuvers with a consistent supply of fresh water. The success of the first element of the Truckee River Whitewater Park was followed by a second installment of whitewater adventure. The City of Sparks constructed a whitewater park at Rock Park. Along with pools for kayaking, tubing and rafting for all skill levels, the improvements include riverbank landscaping, shade structures, play structures, parking and better access for people with disabilities.

RiverThe Truckee River also flows through the Reno Riverwalk District, filled with unique shops and restaurants and home to the wildly popular monthly wine and beer walks. The river pathway connects Reno to the beautiful new whitewater park in Sparks. The 12 mile path is perfect for cyclists and pedestrians.

To see Outside Magazine’s Reno listing, click here.

To learn more about the endless water adventures in Reno Tahoe USA, click here.

Dorothy was right. There really is no place like home.

Renowned Artist Chester Arnold Premieres Exhibition at Nevada Museum of Art

Arnold_EntropicLandscapeSMFor artist Chester Arnold, painting is as much about politics and social responsibility as it is about crafting luscious large-scale oil paintings in the tradition of nineteenth-century European artists. With sometimes dark humor, the paintings in Chester Arnold: On Earth as It Is in Heaven opening August 14 at the Nevada Museum of Art, asks viewers to consider the impacts of human and industrial consumption, accumulation, and waste on the natural environment.

Since he began painting over three decades ago, West Coast-based artist Arnold has cleverly confronted a range of challenging subjects. Concerned about the increasing impact of human interventions on landscapes in a densely populated and deeply consumer-driven world, Arnold’s work questions the nature of human beings’ relationship to the landscape, offering cautionary warnings about society’s unbridled cycles of production and consumption on an industrial scale.

“My paintings are a big conversation I’m having with the world,” Arnold says of the richly-painted canvases spanning his thirty year career. Many of the paintings in the exhibition are based loosely on real environmental scenarios, such as the monumental canyon of discarded automobile tires that populates Arnold’s Entropic Landscape—a real larger-than-life discarded tire pile exists in California’s Central Valley. Arnold’s images of deforestation and tree harvesting BusinessSMin paintings such as Histories (2010) are not unlike the paintings of similar despoiled landscapes painted by nineteenth century American artists working long before him. And Arnold has also made three paintings of large-scale strip mines, including Holding Pond (1996) seen from an aerial view. The sublime terraced canyons are punctuated by smoky canyons and smoldering fires with holding ponds that contain mineral-rich, blood-red or copper-green drainage run-off that has been left behind by the mining process. Arnold’s depictions of such altered landscapes bring the consequences of human progress to the attention of viewers.

“The pieces in this exhibition engage with issues of work and labor, nature and environment, industrial production and consumption, and the amassing and disposal of consumer products,” says Ann M. Wolfe, Curator and Exhibitions and Collections, Nevada Museum of Art. “The works are both cautionary and confessional, revealing human foibles and follies and what Arnold considers to be their devastating consequences. Arnold’s landscape paintings also ask viewers to consider how human activities—of both the individual and large-scale industries—impact the landscape.”

Also featured in the exhibition is a series of paintings Arnold calls Accumulations, which reveal the ongoing cycle of consumption and disposal resulting from mass production. First created during the late 1990s, a time in American history noted for its booming economic prosperity, Arnold navigates America’s seeming disregard for accumulating and discarding mass-produced merchandise.

HistoriesSMUnderlying Arnold’s critiques of America’s consumer culture is an implicit acknowledgment of the economic engine driving mass production. Many of Arnold’s paintings allude to corporate business culture and the resources required to keep offices running throughout the country. The Business in America is Business (2008) and Means of Communication (2008) both depict streets littered with discarded office correspondence, perhaps cast from the skyscrapers of urban financial districts during past ticker-tape parades. It is especially ironic that the global financial services firm Lehman Brothers acquired one of Arnold’s paper accumulation paintings, Means of Communication (2008), for its corporate art collection not long before the company declared bankruptcy in 2008—the largest U.S. bankruptcy filing in history.

“Arnold’s works ask viewers to consider how one’s individual behaviors interface with ongoing cycles of industrial production and consumption,” says Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Nevada Museum of Art. “They ask us to acknowledge and celebrate hard work, but to consider the irrevocable consequences of our labors.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a special dialogue between San Francisco Chronicle Art Critic Kenneth Baker and artist Chester Arnold takes place Saturday, September 11 from 5:30 to 8 pm. Join Baker and Arnold as they discuss Arnold’s work on display in the Feature Gallery. A reception following dialogue is included in the ticket price. Cost: $15/$12 Museum Members; $18 at the door.

Chester Arnold: On Earth as It Is in Heaven is presented at the Nevada Museum of Art from August 14 through October 17, 2010 as part of the Museum’s wide-ranging Art + Environment Series, which provides timely, engaging, and rewarding educational opportunities for artists, scholars, and communities to engage with ideas pertinent to the intersections of art and environments. In 2009, the Museum launched the Center for Art + Environment, an international initiative that supports the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and the natural, built, and virtual environments. A book, published in conjunction with the exhibition, will be available in the Museum Store featuring essays by Ann M. Wolfe, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections and Colin M. Robertson, Curator of Education.

CITY OF SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO TAKES DOWN RENO TAHOE USA BILLBOARD

Reno Tahoe USA Twitter Billboard 1The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) regrets to inform that the City of South San Francisco has decided to remove the Reno Tahoe USA simulated Twitter billboard along the 101 North at Oyster Point on Friday, July 30. The billboard has been active since March 2010 as part of the RSCVA’s robust, new marketing campaign, Reno Tahoe USA…Far from expected. To learn about the removal of the billboard, please contact the City of South San Francisco at (650) 829-6601. Bubba, the talking Bighorn sheep and Reno Tahoe USA mascot, was the proud ‘spokesanimal’ of the LED billboard.

Bubba has requested this opportunity to address the separation. Below is Bubba’s letter.

Dear City of South San Francisco,

            As the saying goes, breaking up is hard to do. Writing this letter to you doesn’t eliminate the pain, but it does make the beginning of the separation a little easier. We’ve shared five glorious months together. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried and we’ve even winced a few times at all hours of the day, rain, fog or shine. Our relationship has been transparent – easy for the public to read, never having to guess just how closely and seamlessly we worked together. We were such a great team.

            Admittedly, I knew from the beginning I was far more invested in this partnership than you, and deep down I suppose I realized this day would one day arrive. Did you find someone else to replace me on the coveted billboard? Never mind. Don’t answer that.

            Was it the distance? I know people say long-distance relationships just don’t work, but c’mon, we’re a mere 3.5 hours apart. We wrote frequently (at least twice a day!) and admit it – it was fun.

            I want to believe this letter is hard for you to read and that in sending this I’m hurting you, but the harsh reality is you have been ready to sever this bond for quite some time. Don’t expect me to give up the mutual friends I’ve made. I can’t ignore the love I have for San Francisco. Maybe Sausalito or another quality suitor will be more accepting and understanding of the unique and wonderful qualities I bring to a relationship.

            I will always care about you, South SF. I admire your cool, confident aura. Maybe after some time apart you’ll realize the joy and relief I brought to the motorists stuck in that horrendous traffic.

Thank you for the opportunity to know you. I hope you find someone who will make you happier, but I highly doubt that will ever happen.

Sincerely,

Bubba, the Reno Tahoe Bighorn Sheep

www.visitrenotahoe.com

Twitter: @RenoTahoe

Google Chooses Nevada Commission on Tourism as Golden Child of Ad Campaigns

LovelockGoogle has chosen the Nevada Commission on Tourism’s (NCOT) online winter ski commercial as a success-story case study after it attracted 8 million viewers in seven targeted markets, said NCOT chair Lt. Gov. Brian K. Krolicki.

NCOT was among the first tourism entities in the country to use Google’s new technology, in-stream video, which places video ads into online video programs, including television segments, in a commercial break format as on regular television. Viewers who were exposed to the ad in markets where it appeared were 33 percent more likely to consider Nevada as a vacation destination than were those who saw other NCOT online ads that did not use Google’s technology, NCOT’s research showed.

“We seek innovative, cost-conscious ways to maximize the return on investment of each tourism dollar, and Google’s video advertising program achieved this for us,” Krolicki said. “The ads captured the attention of the consumers we sought and stimulated their interest in visiting Nevada. They got our message.”

Tracking technology showed that 45 percent of the viewers watched the entire 30-second commercial that appeared on in-stream video. The lively ad showed skiers on snowy Sierra Nevada mountain slopes overlooking blue Lake Tahoe. Travel Nevada: winter commercial.

“We have advertised Nevada’s tourism attractions in many ways, including traditional television, outdoor advertising, online display ads and mobile ads, and we found the exposure and maneuverability of Google’s in-stream video really got results,” NCOT Director Dann Lewis said.

Google used a process called geo-targeting to show the NCOT ad in designated marketing areas that offer convenient travel to Nevada and are home to skiers and snowboarders aged 25 to 54 with high-level household income: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco Bay Area, Dallas, Seattle, Chicago and Phoenix.

River FestNCOT’s research company, TNS Custom Research, and its Digital Marketing Effectiveness Study enables the tourism agency to track the effectiveness of its advertising campaigns and measure the return on investment, which last winter, when the ads ran, was $22 for each $1 invested. NCOT is funded by hotel room tax revenue that visitors pay, not by the state General Fund.

Google’s NCOT case study is available online Google TV Ads Microsite: success stories.

For more information or news from Travel Nevada, click here!

Country Star Jo Dee Messina Performs in Reno Tahoe

Jo Dee MessinaMultiple No. 1 hits and a series of popular albums, including some pop cross-over success, has propelled Jo Dee Messina in to the music-scene forefront. This Friday, you can see Jo Dee Messina live in the Celebrity Showroom, July 30, at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.

Part of country music’s late-’90s crop of female crossover stars, Messina’s appeal nonetheless remained more with country fans than pop audiences. It seems like it only took a few short years for Messina to rise to the elite ranks of female country artists who headline their own tours. The truth is, however, that Messina has been singing and plugging away since her early teens, determined to be nothing else but a country music star. She sang in musical plays starting at age eight but discovered country music at age 12 and got hooked on the likes of the Judds, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton. She soon started performing live, and by 16 she was playing local clubs with a rhythm section made up of her brother and sister. At age 19, she moved to Nashville in search of greater exposure and sang regularly for prize money in local talent competitions. One win led to a regular gig on the radio show Live at Libby’s, which in turn caught the interest of producer Byron Gallimore, who helped her assemble a demo tape. Gallimore was also working with the young Tim McGraw around the same time, and Messina befriended him. Backstage at one of his concerts, Messina met an executive from his label, Curb, and jokingly suggested that they needed a redhead. Producer James Stroud, who had just heard Messina’s demo, stepped up to vouch for her, and she soon wound up on Curb, with Gallimore and McGraw serving as her producers.

Messina’s self-titled debut album was released in 1996 and gave her two Top Ten hits in “Heads Carolina, Tails California” and “You’re Not in Kansas Anymore.” The album sold well, setting the stage for Messina’s star-making sophomore effort, I’m Alright. Released in 1998, it made Messina the first female country artist to score three multiple-week number one hits from the same album: “Bye Bye,” “I’m Alright,” and “Stand Beside Her.” She nearly had a fourth, but “Lesson in Leavin’” stalled at number two. Honored by both the CMA and ACM in 1999, Messina staked out even pop-friendlier territory on her third album, 2000’s Burn. It became her first number one album, and the lead single, “That’s the Way,” her fourth number one single. Two more Top Tens followed in “Burn” and “Downtime,” and a fourth single, the Tim McGraw duet “Bring on the Rain,” also topped the charts, helping Burn sell over a million copies. Messina followed it with the holiday album A Joyful Noise in late 2002, and just months later, with only three albums to her credit, Curb released a Greatest Hits compilation. In 2005 she released her official follow-up to Burn, called Delicious Surprise, with Unmistakable coming in 2010.

Jo Dee Messina plays one night, July 30, in the Celebrity Showroom at 8 p.m. Tickets are just $50 and are available by calling (800) 648-1177 or (775) 356-3300 or by visiting janugget.com. Dinner and show packages are available.

It’s messy, it’s painful and it’s a ball!

PaintballsI really should’ve taken a picture of the small, perfectly round welt that formed on my wrist. Aside from this blog and the video, it was the only physical evidence of my presence at the Reno Indoor Paintball, Inc. (RIP) studios.

RIP President Lawrence “Larry” Kagawa became a paintball enthusiast in the Army. In his 21-year military career, he experimented with non-lethal military training that involved both laser tag and paintball. He fell in love with the spirit and professional aspect of the sport, and decided to test his entrepreneurial side in Reno, Nevada two years ago.

“Paintball is an extreme sport with the teamwork of a traditional sport,” Kagawa said.

Reno Indoor Paintball, Inc. is the only indoor paintball facility in all of Northern Nevada. Players are as young as 10 and as old as 72.

“He comes all the way from Fallon to train and really gets into it,” Kagawa said of his oldest player.

DSC_0003It hosts tournaments, coaching clinics and is home to the national champs, NV Reign. The squad currently holds the national title for the National Professional Paintball League, and in two weeks the team is headed to Washington D.C. to see if they can retain that honor. Talk about bragging rights. (No pressure. You’re only representing the state of Nevada.)

And that’s not all. Reno Indoor Paintball, Inc. is proud to announce that the Regional Paintball League (RPL) will be visiting Reno July 24 and 25. It’s the first paintball tournament in Reno history! Teams will travel to Reno from San Diego, Oregon, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. The ultimate goal of RIP is to entice the National Professional Paintball League to host its annual tournament in the Biggest Little City.

Immediately following this history-making event, Reno Indoor Paintball, Inc. is supporting the Western States Police and Fire Games.

To learn more RIP or what it takes to be a paintball player, check out the video! Listen closely. You can hear when I get pelted.

US Bowling Congress Selects Reno to host the USBC Women’s Championships

 US Bowling Congress Selects Reno to host the USBC Women’s Championships in 2013 and 2014

The additional event bookings will generate 190,000 room nights in Reno Tahoe USA. 

USBC Queens 2The LA Times didn’t call it the “Taj Mahal of Tenpins” for nothing. While most cities have a bowling alley, Reno Tahoe USA has an entire stadium dedicated to the sport, and it’s the one-of-a-kind facility and community spirit that has enticed the U.S. Bowling Congress to return year after year.

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) announced Tuesday that Reno has been selected to host the Women’s Championships in 2013 and both the USBC Open Championships and Women’s Championships in 2013 and 2014. This marks the first time in USBC history that both events will take place simultaneously in the same city.

“We are extremely pleased to have been selected as the host city for the 2013 and 2014 USBC Open Championships and Women’s Championships,” said Ellen Oppenheim, RSCVA President and CEO. “We are equally thrilled to continue to build our long-time partnership with the prestigious events. We are looking forward to welcoming participants of the USBC and their families to our destination for several more years to come.”

Approximately 85,000 bowlers from across the United States and several foreign countries including England, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, Bermuda, Canada, Bahamas and France participate in the Open Championships. Additionally, more than 45,000 guests will visit Reno Tahoe for each tournament. The economic impact for both the additional Open Championships and Women’s Championships in 2013 and 2014 is projected to be $242 million in direct local spending.

“The positive impact of winning this piece of business in 2013 and 2014 will be felt by all of the hotels, restaurants, attractions, and shops in the destination,” said Oppenheim. “It also brings Reno Tahoe the opportunity to continue to host one of the largest events in the country. This agreement demonstrates that the National Bowling Stadium is a first rate venue and bowlers enjoy coming to Reno Tahoe.”

The USBC Open Championship will be held inside the one-of-a-kind bowling stadium with simultaneous competition for the Women’s Championships inside the Reno-Sparks Convention Center (RSCC). The last time the RSCC was used for a bowling event was in 1990.

Reno is writing a new page of USBC history in becoming the first city to ever host consecutive tournaments. During previous Open Championships in Reno, 106,916 teams (representing more than 535,000 participants) have competed for more than $30 million in prize money. The Open Championships or Women’s Championships have been held at the National Bowling Stadium 11 times in the past 15 years and are scheduled to return seven  more times.

Sometimes a bowler just has to face the music. Why not do it in the National Bowling Stadium?

 

About United States Bowling Congress:

The United States Bowling Congress, as the national governing body, ensures the integrity and protects the future of the sport, provides programs and services to nearly 2.5 million adult and youth members and enhances the bowling experience.

                               

About the RSCVA:

The RSCVA is the primary tourism agency supporting convention and tourism business for the Reno Tahoe region.  Reno Tahoe supports unlimited possibilities from outdoor recreation to 24-hour Nevada style gaming and entertainment.  For more information about Reno-Tahoe call 800-FOR-RENO (800-367-7366) or visit www.VisitRenoTahoe.com.