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Nevadan At Work: Stacy Allsbrook; Executive Director, Las Vegas Centennial Celebration31 January 2005
By Howard Stutz
So it seems fitting that Stacy Allsbrook is in charge of throwing Las Vegas' largest-ever celebration.
Allsbrook, a life-long Southern Nevadan and a 13-year city of Las Vegas employee, is serving as executive director of the Las Vegas Centennial Celebration, a year-long commemoration of the city's 100th birthday.
The party doesn't just begin and end on May 15, the date when a land auction established Las Vegas in 1905. Events began New Year's Eve and continue throughout the year.
Allsbrook, 33, fell into the executive director's role while serving on the committee overseeing the centennial celebration as one of the city's representatives.
"I wrote the job description to find the person," Allsbrook said. "We wanted the person to be all things and literally, and I just grew into the job. We were going to go outside, but our problem was we didn't have any money. That's not to say I'm the cheap answer to this, but the idea was we were already doing what we were doing, and so it was it was an answer at the time."
Allsbrook, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate, was a public information officer in the city's leisure services department. She became part of the task force in 2001 that eventually grew into the centennial committee.
The Centennial Celebration budget is $2.3 million and growing. Allsbrook said events will have both local and national attention with the ultimate goal of educating a vast audience about the city and its history.
Because there isn't a how-to handbook toward managing a centennial celebration, Allsbrook said she wants to make sure everything is covered.
"You only get one chance to celebrate being 100 years old," Allsbrook said. "You don't get to do this next year if you mess up. There are no do-overs on this one."
Question: How did you educate yourself in running a centennial celebration?
Answer: Ohio just celebrated its bicentennial, and we flew their executive director out here to meet with us. He said to get the community involved. We took that idea and created grants. We have more than $300,000 worth of grants to the local community and another $200,000 grant program for the education side. We award grants for something that either educates, celebrates or commemorates Las Vegas' history and culture.
Question: What's the audience for the centennial celebration?
Answer: There are two sides to the house; the 1.6 million people who live and work and call Las Vegas home, and then there are the 38 million people who travel to Las Vegas every year. That's a population the size of California. So, if you put that into perspective, those two different audiences have two different perspectives on Las Vegas. We're basically having two centennials simultaneously. The locals are the most important piece in this and they are being taken care of first. We have partners that speak to all audiences across the board. Everybody has to feel like they are a Las Vegan, and that's the mayor's ultimate goal.
Question:Has it been challenging to find centennial celebration sponsors?
Answer: We have a great sponsor and our sponsor is Clear Channel (Communications). They are a great partner. It's their job to go and parlay the Las Vegas name into some trendsetting sponsorships (American Express was announced as a sponsor Jan. 10). I say this because I can't think of another centennial that's ever been funded this way. The city is not footing the bill. Private dollars and sales of our commemorative license plates pay for centennial. More than 40,000 license plates have been sold and raised more than $1.3 million, which is paying for the the local events.
Question: How did some of the centennial celebration ideas come about?
Answer: Some of the best ideas came from our centennial committee. We went into a room, put up this massive timeline from 2002 to 2006. We got pieces of paper and everyone wrote down ideas. The mayor put up the mob museum, someone else put up an air show, and someone put up the world's largest birthday cake and 100 weddings. It was a huge brainstorming session; it was one of the most fun things I ever experienced.
Question: Helldorado is being brought back as part of the centennial celebration. What do you hope to achieve?
Answer:We just want people to know what Helldorado was and we hope it will continue. It was a staple of our history so bringing it back was a natural decision for everybody. For those folks who don't know about Helldorado, I think they'll be surprised on how big of a Western heritage Las Vegas has. I want people to know that Las Vegas has some wild, wild roots. We were a dust town. We still have laws on the books saying you cannot park your horse in front of a building for so long. There are some real funny things that are still out there.
Question: How much Las Vegas history did you know before getting involved with the centennial celebration?
Answer: I did know a lot of this history, mostly out of curiosity. Just from growing up here, I know a lot about the history from the late '70s. Some of the older history is a lot more fascinating than some of the recent history. What's amazing is that 46 percent of the population has been here less than 10 years. That's a staggering amount.
Question:How do you balance the needs of the centennial celebration with Mayor Oscar Goodman's zeal for publicity?
Answer: He's our chairman and I have to tell you he's the best spokesman on the planet for Las Vegas. When it comes to energy, love, understanding, luck, history, you couldn't a buy a better spokesman. To ride his coattails and his publicity and his zest, it only benefits the centennial celebration.
Question: What do you do when this is all over?
Answer: Take a big rest. Really, I love public service so I can't imagine there would be anything else besides doing government work. I absolutely hope to stay with the city afterward. I've been there 13 years and I think this is my home. I love Las Vegas. I consider it a community first and city second.
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