When Shirley’s Farmers Market kicks off Thursday afternoon in downtown Reno, in partnership with Sands Regency, a half-decade of effort and intent will come to fruition.
“It’s something I’ve been working on for about five years,” Sands Sales and Marketing Manager Lisa Miolini said. “Shirley (Sponsler, the owner of Shirley’s Farmers Markets) and I have been friends for many years, about 15 years. After every farmers market I was always trying to coerce her to moving her market to the Sands.”
The idea remained a pipe dream however, because of limitations on the tented area that the Sands had available at the time that Miolini intended for the market.
That changed in 2014 however, when Sands acquired its current lot on 3rd Street, which allowed the casino to hold gated events with a variety of entertainment.
“Once we moved in early 2014, I approached Shirley and just said ‘you have to come check out this venue; it would be so cool to have the farmers outdoors but underneath a big tent,’” Miolini said.
Sponsler made a trip to the new location with a few farmers in tow, and the group was floored.
To expand the appeal of the event, Sands partnered with Kyle Miller of Dancin’ Shoes Presents to line up a variety of musical acts to perform at the Thursday night markets, “with styles ranging from progressive bluegrass to funk-soul-hip-hop to old timey music with a modern twist,” according to a press release.
“We knew it was going to be an investment for us financially but we decided if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right,” Miolini said. “We have a phenomenal entertainment lineup.”
Miler highlighted a number of the acts that will be appearing this summer.
“The Magic Beans, they’re a real upcoming band out of Colorado,” the promoter said. “They have a lot of buzz going right now, kind of a cross between String Cheese (Incident) and the Motet.
“I’m also excited about the Rumpke Mountain Boys which is kind of like an early String Cheese Incident, they’re playing a lot of quick bluegrass. They’re out of Ohio; I’ve been trying to get them out here for a while, so I was stoked to be able to get them.”
The series will also feature a number of country musicians including Reno’s own Lacy J. Dalton, among others.
“We have Brenn Hill playing on June 25th while the Reno rodeo is here,” Miller said. “He’s going to be a big hit. He typically plays as only a single or duo, but we were able to get him as a trio.”
The 10,000 square foot tented area will feature a dedicated beer garden, along with a wide range of food and beverage vendors. Net proceeds will benefit Moms on the Run, a non-profit for local breast cancer patients undergoing treatment in the Reno area.
“It’s just going to be fun, we have a kid zone, we have some great food vendors that we’ve partnered with,” Miolini said, noting the wonderful opportunity that locating the market in downtown Reno provides for the area’s guests.
“They’re going to have a little shaded, covered picnic area for people to eat their food,” said Miller, a Reno native. “That area will be right in front of the stage area, so there’s going to be large areas of shade. There’s going to be a Jampro Factory stage which is going to be on the opposite side of the market which will feature local singer-songwriters from Reno.”
This smaller stage will feature music from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. intermittently, with the main acts playing from around 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Miller said.
For Sponsler, the new location and music lineup are the next step in a career dedicated to Reno area farmers markets.
“I have worked with farmers’ markets for 23 years and during that time, I have seen many changes in the farmers’ markets in northern Nevada,” she said in the press release. “Partnering with the Sands is a progression from that first market to a culmination of my years of experience put together with the vision of the Sands.”
“I think it’s going to be fun,” Miller said. “I think it’s great for downtown Reno to have a farmers market. We’re happy it moved from Sparks. It’ll give people a place to go hear live music and get fresh fruits and vegetables as well as a bunch of local vendors. It’s a great add to downtown Reno, and all the events that are already going on.”
Music and markets? Sounds like a match made in heaven; or at least, downtown Reno.
- Thursdays Downtown Farmers’ Market at the Sands
Where: Sands Regency Hotel & Casino (Tented lot south of Third Street on Arlington Avenue)
When: Thursdays June 11 – August 27, 2015; Market opens at 4 p.m., Live Music from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
- Music Lineup:
June 11: Lebo & Friends
June 18: The Novelists
June 25: Brenn Hill
July 2: Forrest Day
July 9: Brothers Gow
July 16: Acoustic Jimmys
July 23: Rumpke Mountain Boys
July 30: Lil’ Smokies
August 6: Dustbowl Revival
August 13: Magic Beans
August 20: Lacy J Dalton and the Dalton Gang
August 27: Dusty Green Bones