Christmas in Elko is a delightful mini-season that begins each year with the Festival of the Trees, which came this year on the last day of November.
This is one of the major annual art exhibits in the American West, and the medium is not oil paintings or photography, it is Christmas Trees.
This Festival of Trees has become a major annual event here, raising many thousands of dollars for local charities by the sale of Christmas trees, holiday wreaths, stockings and other Christmas fare.
The trees are decorated and contributed by individuals, families, businesses and other organizations of all kinds, and offered up for sale in a 2-day silent auction — and they are bought by individuals, families, businesses and other organizations of all kinds.
Toward the end of the final day, determined bidders struggle to keep their bids above the rest and especially attractive trees resemble rugby scrums as time runs out.
The Festival is hosted by the Elko CVA with no charge to participate, and no entrance fee. The halls have been jammed with spectacular trees of every description except plain. And then they get jammed even tighter as half the population of Elko County comes to marvel.
This year’s Festival was the first event to be held in the new building at the Convention Center complex, and the added space allowed more participants than ever to take part, and they raised more money for the local charities than ever before — more than $25,000.
Announcing the 2016 Must-See Must-Do Awards.
This year we’ve changed the name of the ‘Person of the Year’ award — too clunky — to the more elevated (inflated?) “Travel Hero of the Year” because every recipient of the award so far has shown a heroic combination of vision, ability and perseverance, and this year’s winner is no different. In fact, he may be exemplary. His name is Herb Robbins, and he has brought a ‘ghost town’ back to life.
No-one had ever done that before without starting a mine back up.
Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram
|Christmas Cheer to All|
from Virginia City’s Red Dog Saloon
and everyone at the Nevada Travel Network
Awards are also given to the City, Attraction, Event, Hotel, and three Restaurants — oh, and to the Hidden Treasure of the Year which is the actual ramshackle ghost town Herb has rescued and re-created from the remnants of Gold Point Nevada.
I attended the Governor’s Global Tourism Summit at the Lake Las Vegas Hilton in Henderson in mid-November. If that new title — it was formerly just the Conference on Tourism — seems a bit grandiose, you are a step or two behind the times; Nevada is a major player in international tourism these days.
The event began with a ‘marketplace’ putting 75 tour
operators from Europe, North and South America and Asia across a table from representatives of Nevada destinations, lodgings and attractions helping them design tours that bring visitors to the state. Nothing could better demonstrate Nevada’s standing as an international destination than seeing all those people working out the logistics and opening up the pathways together.
Steve Richer was the first Executive Director of the newly-created Commission on Tourism in 1983. He led the effort that established Nevada’s first overseas office in Japan. In June 2004, Lt. Governor Lorraine Hunt played a major role in establishing a Nevada tourism office in Beijing, the USA’s first such presence in China. Over the next few years other offices were opened in Canada, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, France and Australia, and last year Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki led a sales mission to India to scout another important emerging market for visitors.
When the Tourism Commission met in the afternoon, Claudia Vecchio unveiled the new TravelNevada ad campaign breaking that day, driving traffic to the completely overhauled and redesigned website that was launched that very day.
First impression: They nailed it. It’s fabulous. They figured out Nevada’s strengths as a destination and are presenting them brilliantly.
Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram
Volney Rollins checked his sidearm and buttoned his coat against a cold draft as he walked down the concrete hallway toward the dining area. His last duty was to secure the prisoners. It had been a long day, and he just wanted to sit in front of a fire with his family.
I’ll lock ‘em up for the night, and I’m out of here. It was the last thought he remembered from that day.
Thus begins Jim Reed’s account of the biggest person break in American history, when 27 convicts broke out of the Nevada State Prison in September, 1871. It’s an excerpt from “Fatal Affair in Monte Cristo Canyon”, the detailed story of the breakout, the men involved, and how it all ended.
Return of the Dubliner
Joseph Griffin of Balbriggan, North County Dublin, Ireland, attracted the attention of more than seven million YouTube viewers when he documented his first trip to Las Vegas with the GoPro camera pointed directly at his face. Now he’s come back, and this time Las Vegas created a double-sided GoPro for Griffin so he could shoot both ways at once.
He was met at the airport by a Las Vegas showgirl and a waiting limousine to take him to his suite at The Mirage Hotel & Casino. From there, Griffin experienced some well-known Las Vegas sights such as the High Roller at The LINQ Hotel & Casino, dinner at Delano Las Vegas’ Rivea, VIP nightlife experience at TAO Nightclub at The Venetian and a zip line ride down Slotzilla at the Fremont Street Experience. We have yet to see the new video, but here is the original that so delighted the millions:
Overheard at the Gallery Bar in Elko: Here’s how it is Billy — Men think in herds and go mad in herds, but they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.
There is no happier beacon in the dark desert night than the sign on the roof of the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, and no warmer welcome than the one awaiting within. I’d been driving for hours through the icy night on a recent trip south, and was greeted by the Peavine Pickers performing for an appreciative audience of locals and travelers in the Great Room. Pure magic.
Quick Note From Beyond the Mountains —
Nevada is a busy place as the snow begins to fall. The holiday season is well underway in the Reno-Tahoe area and in Sparks on December 11th through the 12th, the Sparks Nugget will hold a 39 North Pole Village an excellent event for families. Explore the cosmos in Reno on December 12th at the National Automobile Museum at Christmas in Space!, a unique event complete with an Astrolab, Planetarium show and a “simulated spaceflight aboard the Starship Horizon”!
On December 26th through the 31st join the Reno Chamber Orchestra at Nightingale Concert Hall in the University of Nevada Reno Campus at the Nevada Chamber Music Festival. You won’t want to miss the Eldorado’s Zoot Suit Riot on December 29th through Jan 3rd. Get decked out in your dancing shoes and hit the dance hall! . . Virginia City hosts it’s annual V&T Candy Cane Express on December 12th and 13th. Get you tickets HERE. On December 12th on down town Carson City for an Old Time Christmas Santa Parade. The parade start at 11:30am and lasts through 2:30pm. Neighboring Gardnerville host a New Year’s Eve Candlelight Labyrinth Walk on December 31 from 6:00 to 9:00pm. . . Settled beneath the Sierra Mountain’s snowy white peaks at Lake Tahoe the holiday festivities kick off in a major way with the Tahoe Adventure Film Festival at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa on December 11th. Sleep in, but not too late on December 12th so you can attend the South Lake Tahoe Annual Holiday Parade. I hope you get real real hungry, because on December 15th is the Shred for Sushi Rail Jam for Charity at the Sushi Pier. The exciting aerial phenomenon known as snowboarders flying through the air should further increase your appetite in case you didn’t bring one. On the west side of Lake Tahoe you can go Skiing with Santa Claus at Homewood resort on December 18. Then proceed to the SnowGlobe Music Festival that will take place on December 29th through the 31st at Lake Tahoe Community College. The event’s musical line-up is really quite astounding to behold. For further details click here. To top it all off Celebrate New Year’s Eve on the M.S. Dixie II, a experience you are likely to keep close in heart and mind. . .
Just off of Highway 95A go down to Yerington for the Arts to see Hila Plitmann a Grammy Award-winning Soprano on December 31st . . . Just off of Interstate 80 on December 7th the Fernley Chamber of Commerce Annual Christmas Parade, located in downtown Fernley is on Main Street at 10:00am. . . In eastern Nevada just of Interstate 80 in downtown Elko is the 13th Annual Snowflake Festival, the streets will be closed while the stores will cater to your needs. . . Just off Highway 50 head on over to the Comstock Cowboys Christmas Concert in Fallon at Barkley Theater on December 13th at 3pm to 6pm. Farther east on Highway 50 brings you to Austin that is
holding a Live Nativity on December 16. At the eastern edge of the state, Highway 50 takes you to Ely that will host it’s Volunteer Firemen’s Ball on December 31st from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am. . .
Down in Southern Nevada, Henderson will host it’s Winter Fest 2015 that runs on December 10th through December 12th.
In Laughlin is
McKenzie’s Rage At The River – SNORE Off-Road Race that is scheduled to start on December 11th and lasts through the 13th. In Las Vegas check out the Ice Rink at Boulevard Pool on December 21st. The fantastic and flavorful Ethel M Chocolates Holiday Cactus Garden kicked off in
November and will last through December to January 1st. In Boulder City on December 11th the Red Mountain Choir Christmas Concert will commence to dazzle open ears with a dramatic forte of sound. Henderson’s North Pole Holiday Craft Fair will be held on December 12th.
For all Rodeo enthusiasts and horse owner’s head on down to Las Vegas for the 2015 NFR Cowboy Christmas Gift Show that runs from December 3rd through the 12th. . .
Not to be missed, check out the Fireworks Over Pahrump for New Year’s Celebration. The sky-travaganza starts at 8:00pm – Midnight.
Parting Shot —