Nevada City OKs new events, funds marketing push | TheUnion.com

Nevada City OKs new events, funds marketing push

The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce website touts "There's always something going on in Nevada City."

That seems like no idle boast when you check out the calendar of events — and the list of requested street closures for events beginning with the Mardi Gras parade in February and running through multiple nights of Victorian Christmas in December.

This year, even more events are being planned, as well as new marketing pushes to bring even more visitors to Nevada City during the "shoulder" seasons in the spring and fall.

At Wednesday's city council meeting, chamber Executive Director Cathy Whittlesey asked for approval of street closures for nine separate events, including the First Friday Art Walks and Summer Nights. A new closure requested this year is for the Village Market Day, which is set for May 19 on North Pine Street between Broad and Commercial streets.

The inaugural effort last year was more of a shop-and-stroll event through downtown Nevada City, with restaurants and retail stores offering special deals. This year, Whittlesey said, it was decided to consolidate the sidewalk sale with music and vendors on just one block.

Another event that is morphing is the Nevada City Bicycle Classic Brewfest, held in conjunction with the bike race the weekend of June 1-2. Last year the event took place in the Three Forks Bakery & Brewery parking lot at 211 Commercial St., and featured craft beers from regional breweries, music and food.

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"This year, we want to spill over onto Commercial Street from Union to North Pine," Whittlesey said.

The council OK'd the requests, although council member Erin Minett indicated she wants to make sure Summer Nights and Victorian Christmas do not clash with city council meetings.

A brand-new event also pitched a closure: the Nevada City Fat Tire Festival on May 11, which is being sponsored by the Nevada City Fat Tire Festival and Bicyclists of Nevada County. The festival would close Pine and York streets between Spring and Commercial streets, Broad Street between Union and Mill streets, and Commercial Street between Union and York streets, from 4-9 p.m.

The event is pitched as "Bikes Bars Beers & Movies," with bicycling-related vendors, local bars screening mountain bike-related videos and a scheduled world premiere of Anthill Films' "Return to Earth" being screened at a location to be determined. Breweries will be donating select draught beer and wrist bands will be used to identify patrons who are of age, said organizer Shane Scrimager. All the proceeds will go to trail maintenance, he said.

Mayor David Parker expressed discomfort with approving another bike event for Nevada City, citing the declining popularity of the Bicycle Classic.

"Is the fat tire world that different?" Parker said.

The answer, said Scrimager, is a resounding yes. When he moved to Nevada County eight year ago, Scrimager said, often he would be the only guy out riding the trails off Highway 20 above Nevada City. Now, a recently built trail in that area will draw upward of 200 riders a day in good weather.

The street closure request passed 3-1 with Parker voting no.

City OKs marketing funding

At its Wednesday meeting, the council approved $4,000 in funding requests through its Community and Economic Support Program, intended to promote Nevada City's commerce and increase business activity.

The Chamber of Commerce asked for $3,000, to update its Heritage Tree Tour Map and print updated brochures; to increase promotion and marketing of the 58th Annual Nevada City Bicycle Classic race; and to publicize Nevada City Halloween activities. Folk Trails asked for $1,000 to publish a "History Hikes" guide for Nevada City and its outlying neighborhoods, encouraging walkers/hikers to get to know and appreciate the area and its history.

The idea is to promote sustainable tourism, said Pamela Biery, who will work with the chamber of commerce to develop the promotional materials and help with marketing.

Walking tours that showcase the town's trees, for example, gets tourists out of their cars and onto the streets to showcase the town's charms in a low-impact fashion, Biery said.

Biery argued that promoting Halloween would be a natural for Nevada City, given the high level of decorations downtown and the popularity of Mark Lyon's haunted Nevada City tours. She suggested the holiday as an opportunity to organize some events, adding. "It's something that wants to happen."

Several council members asked about the highly popular Halloween parade, which lasted just two years before complaints from neighbors shut it down in 2015. Attempts to redirect the parade onto an alternate route went nowhere, Whittlesey said, adding that there is still plenty of interest.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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