Two Nevada towns want to be festival capital

There’s been a hitch in Sparks officials’ efforts to portray their town as “Nevada’s Festival City.”

That idea came from a Seattle company, Development Destination, hired by the city for $144,000 to give the city an identity and do “rebranding.”

It turns out that DD had Pahrump as a client before Sparks, and after the Seattle company asked Pahrump folks for suggestions, a town tourism official suggested that Pahrump could be positioned as a festival Mecca. Shortly afterward, the company seemed to lose interest in Pahrump. Officials there say their calls were not returned, the company says Pahrump officials were uncooperative. DD then proposed that Sparks build a new tourism promotion brand around the slogan “Nevada’s Festival City.” Before that happened, however, Pahrump officials—giving up on hearing from DD—developed their own promotion plan around the theme “Valley of Festivals.”

The Pahrump Chamber of Commerce, which helped pay DD’s fee ($25,000), wrote to Sparks officials: “It is our contention that we paid $25,000 to Destination Development and Destination Development then sold out the idea to you [the city of Sparks] for $114,000.” There was a reference to a lawsuit (against DD) and an injunction (against Sparks).

To tie everything together neatly, the Sparks Tribune’s Sarah Cooper reported on Feb. 26 that the city last year lost $180,000 putting on special events, more than the cost of the entire DD rebranding contract.