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A night of art, music and some of the region’s best brew comes to the Nugget Casino Resort on Jan. 27 with local favorite, the annual Brew Haha. Entering its 22nd year, the event is the main fundraiser for the Sierra Arts Foundation. Beginning at 8 p.m., this year’s Brew HaHa features more than 100 different beers and ciders, a VIP Brewer’s Reception, artist displays and live music by local band Mojo Green. Tickets are on sale through the Sierra Arts Foundation or the Nugget, and can be purchased online at

This year, a VIP Brewers’ Reception starts the fun, with early admissions opening at 7 p.m. Tickets for the VIP area run $65, and include early entry, special samples and the opportunity to talk to brew masters from featured breweries like Silver Peak, Great Basin and Pyramid Brewery. The VIP pre-admission also gives attendees the opportunity to taste more of the beers and ciders that breweries will have on tap before the crowds roll in at 8.

Regular admission prices are $50 per ticket, and include a special tumbler for the event, and of course, all the beer, cider and ale one can responsibly drink. One more bonus: because proceeds benefit the Sierra Arts Foundation, half the ticket cost is tax deductible.

“We generally bring brewpub-exclusive beers instead of our widely-distributed options,” said Cameron Kelly, brewer and director of sales for Great Basin Brewing Company. “People at the event tend to already be super familiar with Great Basin, so we want to give them something they might not have seen.”

Though what Great Basin will offer at Brew HaHa won’t be decided until right before the event, Kelly expects that tasters might find the brewery’s Wee Bee Heavy Scotch, Tectonic Event IPA or their Cerveza Chilebeso.

The artists

“Last year was my first experience at Brew Haha. There was a fun, and very eclectic assortment of artists there,” photographer Janis Knight said. “This is the kind of event where you meet a lot of nice people strolling by, and also engage potential customers by introducing your work to them. Everyone is in a great mood,” she said.

Upward of 40 local and regional artists are participating at this year’s affair, showcasing their talents at tables, booths and tents throughout the ballroom. The evening gives artists the opportunity not only to share their art with the community, but allows event goers the chance to buy directly from the artists and learn about their crafts. Art this year includes glassware, jewelry, paintings and ceramics.

Pottery artist Joe Winter is one of the many displaying his wares — fired steins, mugs, pitchers and growlers — during Brew Haha.

“I love the event,” said Winter, who’s been participating at the fundraiser for the better part of a decade. “It is a nice opportunity to meet new customers and showcase my beer items to breweries. I always donate items for the raffle too.”

This partnership “allows emerging artists a venue to sell their wares and also interact with the audience. On every level, we try to provide opportunities for engagement and interaction so everyone involved will have an experience to reflect upon later,” said Eric Brooks, marketing and public relations gallery associate for Sierra Arts Foundation.

The party

Keeping the good vibes flowing along with the brews this year, local band Mojo Green, a seven-piece soul-funk group right out of Reno, headlines a huge, rollicking dance party. The ever-popular yearly raffle will once again take place, featuring prizes donated from around the community.

“We have all kinds of prizes this year,” Brooks said. “Original art from local and regional artists; prize packages from local businesses including a Reno Aces four ticket day at the park. We also will have a plethora of beer related prizes coming straight from the vendors,” he said. Past prizes like fire pits, mini refrigerators and a poker table make the raffle a can’t-miss addition to the night.

Brew HaHais the most important fundraiser of the year for the Sierra Arts Foundation, and last year brought in more than $38,000 to benefit the many programs they run in the community.

“With the funds raised we are able to strengthen our Arts Integration, Arts Education, [and] Music 1.2.1 Programs,” Brooks said.

The history

Founded in 1971, the Sierra Arts Foundation focuses on supporting the arts in the Reno-Tahoe area by offering educational opportunities for community members of all ages, as well as providing financial support, promotional and marketing help for local artists themselves.

Among the many ways the Sierra Arts Foundation uses art to benefit the community include the Arts in Education Program, which partners with local schools; Arts Alternatives, providing art education to Washoe County’s disadvantaged youth; and the Elder Care Concert Series (ECCS). With live acts from jazz to classical to folk and bluegrass, the ECCS brings music right to the homes of elders in our community who live in assisted living facilities, skilled or custodial nursing homes and who would otherwise not have the opportunity to get out to experience live musical performances.

Benefiting both local schools and participating students, Sierra Arts Foundation’s Music 1.2.1. Program brings private music lessons directly to schools themselves, allowing students a convenient way to add one-on-one instruction to their music educations. Depending on site participation, school revenue can be near $500 per month in additional income.

According to the foundation, participating students’ “minds are opened, their self-esteem is increased and they are equipped with a valuable stress relieving tool. Our teaching musicians inspire the children — they teach them to love and appreciate music, thus adding value to their lives.”

The foundation works to maintain an artist registry, where local artists are invited to participate in learning, creative and educational opportunities throughout the community. They also provide a grants to artists program, which helps to fund artists and their careers at any stage, from high school, college and beyond.

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