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Visitors Bureau hosting media event to promote city’s dining options

Roseann Keegan
Special to the Nevada Appeal

Food and travel writers are visiting Carson City this week to dine, stay and play, in a city-led effort to re-brand the area as a destination for food and fun.

The Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau is sponsoring a food tour for regional and national media today through Saturday, with stops at popular downtown restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner, complimentary lodging at The Plaza, and a visit the Capitol tree lighting and the city’s first ice rink.

“We’re trying to highlight the variety of places we have,” said Candy Duncan, executive director of the visitors bureau. “We have also incorporated some of the historic sights, making that available so they can see that when they’re done eating, there are some really great places to visit.”

The event is part of the bureau’s joint effort with the Carson City Redevelopment Authority to “re-brand” Carson City, meaning to change a particular image and its attributes. Following an 18-month, $65,000 study ” funded by room tax revenues ” Destination Development Inc. of Seattle concluded that a city should highlight its dining options.

This week’s tour, the first of its kind in Carson City, was created in hopes the journalists would convey to their respective audiences that the capital city is a great place to dine and recreate. The target audience is not only visitors from afar, but residents from neighboring Lake Tahoe, Reno and the Carson Valley.

“Right now with ‘staycations,’ people aren’t traveling very far,” said Denise Watson of Weidinger Public Relations, the agency organizing the tour on behalf of the bureau.

“We’re hoping to get more people from the lake and from Reno, or that are in the area itself, to come out and try some of these places.”

Looking to the future, Duncan hopes the positive press will lead to more eateries entering the area, perhaps an ice cream shop and a chocolatier to round out the area’s offerings.

“If we’re successful, we can attract other restaurants and places,” Duncan said.

Reporters from the Associated Press, the online magazine Suite 101, Creators Syndicate and local papers are among the confirmed attendees. Today, the schedule includes a cocktail reception at Bella Fiore Wines and dinner at Garibaldi’s Ristorante Italiano. Thursday, lunch is at the San Marcos Grill, then an evening trip to the Silver & Snowflakes Holiday Tree Lighting and the debut of the city’s first winter ice rink. Dinner is at Adele’s Restaurant & Lounge.

On Friday, lunch is at Red’s Old 395 Grill, followed by dinner at The Basil. Breakfast each morning is the diners’ choice, with vouchers for Heidi’s Restaurant, The Cracker Box and Comma Coffee.

When the writers are not dining, they’ll be encouraged to visit the Nevada State Museum & Mint, The Nevada State Railroad Museum, The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, or take a walking or driving tour of the 2.5-mile Kit Carson Tour.

They will also receive a recording of “Talking Houses,” 90-second narratives describing frontier life and secrets of the homes along the way.

Other diversions for the weekend include “Babes in Toyland” at the Brewery Arts Center, the Wild Horse Children’s Theater production of “Seussical Jr.,” and the Downtown Wine Walk Saturday from 1-5 p.m.

Christine Adams, director of marketing for Red’s Old 395 Grill, said the restaurant has participated in similar media events. She said the experience has been positive.

“We love Carson and we love to have people come through here,” Adams said. “A lot of people are still unfamiliar with the area. I think it’s nice they’re starting to highlight it a lot.

“We just love entertaining,” she added.