Sierra Arts brews its annual fund-raiser

Mumbo Gumbo

Mumbo Gumbo

It’s still too cold to have an outdoor party, but you can get yourself in the mood for a summertime soiree this weekend with the aid of Mumbo Gumbo’s south-of-the-border tunes and a few heady samples of the country’s best microbrews.

Sierra Arts will hold its sixth annual Brew HaHa Saturday at John Ascuaga’s Nugget, and like many events marking the year 2001, this year’s theme is “A Spaced Odyssey.” Although this event doesn’t have anything to do with space, the combination of beer and dance music can leave you with the sensation that you’ve been blasted past the exosphere.

Sacramento septet Mumbo Gumbo once again headlines Sierra Art’s annual fund-raiser. The band is known across the west for its mixture of American pop, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, along with zydeco, Tex-Mex and New Orleans “voodoo mambo” for a little more Gulf Coast flavor.

Bill Fairfield, concert coordinator and founding member of Mumbo Gumbo, says the band looks forward to performing at Brew HaHa.

“We love doing it. It’s one of our favorite shows of the year,” Fairfield said.

He said Mumbo Gumbo fans should expect to hear some new music, which will be included on their as-yet-untitled CD. About 12 to 15 new songs will be on the CD, which will be released in May on Ruby Records.

Bill Kolton, special events director at Sierra Arts, said organizers always give a local band a shot at the Brew HaHa. This year, Vertigo Tango will open for Mumbo Gumbo. Like Mumbo Gumbo, the quartet uses multiple descriptions for its music, calling it “bluesy, jazzy, funky, rockin', reggae” music.

Kolton said beers from 25 microbreweries will be represented, including Full Sail, Angel Creek Amber and Ruby Mountain Brewery from Elko, plus local favorites Silver Peak Brewery and Great Basin Brewing Co. Pint tickets will be sold for $3 each.

In addition to beer, $5 raffle tickets will be sold. Prizes include a ravioli dinner for four at Bruno’s Country Club and a ride to and from the Gerlach restaurant; a flight package for two people, which includes a plane ride, a hot air balloon ride and a helicopter ride; and a pair of tickets to attend performances by the Reno Chamber Orchestra, the University of Nevada, Reno, Performing Arts Series, the Reno Philharmonic, Nevada Festival Ballet and Nevada Opera. Two pairs of tickets to Sierra Arts’ Night of Arts and Oscars will also be raffled.

Kolton suggested purchasing tickets quickly, as the event sells out every year.

“The phone starts ringing off the hook by Wednesday [before the Brew HaHa],” he said.

Kolton said Brew HaHa is Sierra Arts’ biggest fund-raiser. Money raised from the event will support Sierra Arts programs and services. The Reno News & Review is a sponsor of Brew HaHa.

Brew HaHa begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Rose Ballroom at John Ascuaga’s Nugget, 1100 Nugget Ave., Sparks. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the Nugget, Soundwave CDs or Sierra Arts. Details: 329-2787 or 356-3300.