Virginia City seeks contractor to develop its special events

Virginia City looks to special events to provide growth for its tourism sector, and the Virginia City Tourism Commission plans to step up its efforts with the addition of an events promoter who will work under contract.

The search for an event promoter comes after the county government established a streamlined, low-cost process for groups that want to launch special events. That process includes an application fee of only $25.

Now the tourism commission is seeking proposals from event planning firms to coordinate new and existing special events in the Storey County community, one of the largest historic districts in the United States.

Deny Dotson, director of tourism and community services for Storey County, said last week the event-planning contractor would coordinate existing events such as the International Camel Races, St. Patrick's Day Parade and Christmas on the Comstock.

In some instances, Dotson said, the event planner specialist will be supporting community groups that historically have spearheaded special events in the town. The contractor also will have full responsibility for some events, including additions to the annual calendar.

The tourism commission will pay the contractor a monthly retainer as well as a percentage of the gross revenue generated by special events. The contract is projected to take effect on Feb. 14.

Dotson said the many businesses in Virginia City that rely on tourism generally support creation of more special events to further build the number of visitors drawn by its history.

But creation of new events sometimes is challenged by the town's steep topography, which limits parking and presents transportation challenges.

The Storey County government created the department headed by Dotson as the successor to a quasi-governmental tourism authority that previously had spearheaded tourism efforts.

One of the first steps taken by the county, Dotson said, was creation of the streamlined permitting process, which allows promoters to quickly move through the necessary permissions from the fire marshal, building inspectors, sheriff and other regulators.

One upshot of the new organization: The International Camel Races will be jointly marketed with the Great Reno Balloon Races, which usually are scheduled the same weekend. Visitors will be encouraged to see balloons in the morning and camel races after lunch, Dotson said.

RKPR Inc., a Reno agency, has signed on to assist with promotion of Virginia City events, including use of social media.


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