Red, White and Tahoe Blue going back to roots for 10th anniversary | SierraSun.com

Red, White and Tahoe Blue going back to roots for 10th anniversary

Kayla Anderson
Special to the Bonanza

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — At one of the recent Red, White and Tahoe Blue board meetings, a group of dedicated community members are talking about the state of this year's events.

Tim Callicrate, Incline Village resident and chairman of this year's festival, gives a rundown about what makes the 10th anniversary of Red, White and Tahoe Blue so special.

With the help of Jim and Robin Beres doing marketing, the organization redesigned its website and took over managing the RWTB smartphone application, RWTB 2016, which has already seen a boost in visitation.

The RWTB board added co-chairman Brendan O'Donovan, who is president of the Rotary Club of Incline Village, and Brad Perry, in charge of entertainment, among others for the 2016 event.

Utilizing the brilliant minds that this town seems to attract, "people are able to volunteer their expertise without it breaking the bank," Callicrate says.

One of the main improvements of this 10th anniversary year is that RWTB is in the process of outright purchasing a 40-foot by 40-foot stage that not only will be used for this year's fireworks show — as well as the TOCCATA symphony performance and other entertainment — but can be used for additional off-season community events.

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"It would be great to hold a weekend of music on Village Green in October," Callicrate adds. "This stage is an exciting opportunity for the community."

A COMMUNITY COLLABORATION

Along with community entertainment on the Village Green all weekend long, the 10th anniversary of RWTB will put on yet another spectacular fireworks show administered by Lantis Fireworks and Lasers.

"Ken (Lantis) says that this is his favorite show to shoot all year," Callicrate says.

The Lantises — a family that has been in the pyrotechnic business since 1945 — used to vacation at Lake Tahoe and helped out with the community's fireworks show back when the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe and Ponderosa Ranch were major sponsors.

Callicrate noted that Lantis Fireworks and Lasers' three generations of experience in the pyrotechnic field has allowed them access to some of the world's top-tier fireworks.

"They worked with Disney on creating biodegradable shells and environmentally friendly explosives," Callicrate says. "Lantis is on the forefront of innovations in the pyrotechnic field."

RWTB's main focus has always been keeping the fireworks show tradition alive in the community, which is why donations are so important.

All things fireworks-related — including the barges on Lake Tahoe, security, permitting and explosives — costs around $90,000.

RWTB also has at least $50,000 in ancillary expenses such as portable bathroom rentals, fees for musicians, security, accommodations/meals for performers and the military, permits, and event rental equipment.

With a few thousand dollars spent here and there, RWTB rarely has any money left over, but they also partner with other local nonprofits to subsidize the cost of the fireworks, such as teaming up with the Incline Tahoe Foundation to put on the Beers and Brats event and splitting the proceeds.

Get in on the Rubber Duck Races

Other notable events this year include the annual Rubber Duck Races, which is supported by the Rotary Club of Incline Village.

"One of the fundamental changes of the races this year is that it is moving from Incline Beach to Village Green, so that anyone and everyone can watch them," says O'Donovan, chairman of this year's races.

A $10 duck has the chance to win a $1,000 grand prize and/or $100 per-each-heat win. Platinum ducks on sale have the opportunity to win a much larger cash pot.

O'Donovan says that the proceeds from the duck races get split 50/50 to RWTB and the rotary club, which in turn donates most of the profits back into the community.

"Last year, the rotary gave away almost $10,000 by Christmas," O'Donovan added.

Further, much of the proceeds from RWTB support the local schools' CYMBAL Foundation and baseball programs.

Wanna buy a duck? Brendan says that he will come to wherever you are to sell you one! Get in on this year's action by calling him at (323) 490-3281.

O'Donovan says he spends about 40-50 hours a week preparing for RWTB because he just enjoys volunteering.

"It makes me feel good," O'Donovan replies.

Callicrate backs that up by saying, "Brendan has done so much work (on RWTB events), especially in handling the permitting. I couldn't have asked for a better co-chairman."

Honoring Our Community's Veterans

Alongside the fireworks and duck races, a major part of Incline Village/Crystal Bay's marquee summer event centers on honoring America's veterans.

Last year was particularly special with Major Arthur Neil Black (the Vietnam War's longest held-captive POW) as a special guest — along with it being hometown Air Force veteran/hero Bob Wheeler's last Fourth of July.

The veterans celebrations hold a special place in the heart of longtime RWTB board member Shelia Leijon, who said her favorite event is the Veterans' Parachute and Rescue Demonstration on Incline Beach, where the Guardian Angels of the 129th Rescue Wing leap from thousands of feet into Lake Tahoe while performing a mock rescue.

On the third of July, visitors and residents will be treated to a hands-on experience with the pararescue crew and a HH-60 Pave Hawk (used by the US Air Force) static display on the Village Green.

Leijon says it's special to have active duty military professionals here for the 4th of July holiday thanks to the late Bob Wheeler sharing his connections.

"Everyone loves it," Leijon says.

RWTB is making a huge effort to provide accommodations for the 45 military personnel and pararescue jumpers who will be in town this year.

"We are working with (Bob's daughter) Jamie Golden on housing for the military; it's a huge challenge," Leijon said.

The pararescue demonstration is truly a crowd favorite — especially since you can see it from various vantage points around the lake.

"It's unusual to get them to do this for the crowd on the 4th of July, but they are a team so I'm sure it's a nice break for them to get some downtime together in Lake Tahoe," Leijon said.

Are you an IV/CB resident who can host pararescue jumpers during the 4th of July holiday? It's a tax write-off! Email Callicrate at timc@redwhitetahoeblue.org if you're interested.

Leijon's next favorite RWTB event is the Veterans' Recognition Lunch at Aspen Grove on July 2. Sponsored by Cornerstone Community Church and provided by Brimm's Catering, this event gives the community a chance to dine with the veterans.

One of the most emotional and patriotic RWTB events is the flag retirement ceremony to be held on the Hyatt beach on Friday, July 1. Boy Scout Troop #37 will be there for its eighth year along with a bagpiper.

"It's extremely moving," Leijon adds.

A 'No Fences' Hometown Celebration

Callicrate, O'Donovan and Leijon all stressed that the 10th anniversary of RWTB is going back to its roots as a hometown celebration.

Their indirect "no fences" theme is meant to exude a backyard-like, open feel where visiting folks and neighbors can hang out together to celebrate the nation's independence.

"I said that the only way I'd be a part of this is if we do it without tickets and fences on Village Green. The prerequisite to coming onboard was that it is free," O'Donovan said.

However, O'Donovan stressed that to keep events free of charge in the future, the community needs to support the food trucks and beer/wine tent.

RWTB will also have merchandise such as beach towels, trucker hats and water jugs for sale that can be refilled at the IVGID-provided Tahoe Tap stations.

As a transitional year/time of rebuilding, RWTB is aiming to create a "full-on family atmosphere where you get to see friends and neighbors," Callicrate says.

The Village Green will be completely open with no admission fees and free music all weekend long. The Community Fair is coming back with 30 local businesses/nonprofits promoting their services along with food trucks, a portable restaurant, kids carnival games, ice cream social, a pie-eating contest and more.

"Village Green will be the place to be the entire weekend," Callicrate says.

"We took to heart the feedback we got from the community the last couple of years; we want to get it back to its roots. [RWTB] will really showcase what's in this town," Callicrate added.

For the full lineup of 2016 events, please download the app, RWTB 2016 or visit redwhitetahoeblue.org.

Kayla Anderson is an Incline Village-based freelance writer with a background in marketing and journalism. She loves sharing stories about Lake Tahoe and her community. Have a story idea? Email her at kaylaanderson1080@gmail.com.

RWTB Chairman Tim Callicrate’s Top 3 ‘Must-See’ Events

1. July 2: Tahoe Salutes Our Heroes Parade. “I’ll be bawling like a little kid because we’ll have the Air National Guard, marching bands, a nice tribute to the grand marshal, and all of the folks in our community will be participating,” Callicrate said, adding that it’s emotional to see IV/CB come together to celebrate independence. “Every year it’s getting bigger and better.”

2. July 4: Veterans Parachute & Rescue on the Lake. “It’s so cool to see,” he said.

3. July 4: Armed Forces Tribute and Fireworks Extravaganza with the Air National Guard Band of the West Coast. To be held on the Village Green, this spectacular fireworks display will be the biggest and brightest show yet thanks to the community’s donations, sponsorships, and volunteerism.

Note: The 2016 RWTB Parade Grand Marshal is 2nd Lt. Harry Ray VanDelinder, ret., a longtime Incline resident who unfortunately passed away May 21, 2016. VanDelinder — a World War II veteran and B-17 pilot who conducted 35 heavy combat missions over Nazi Germany from 1943-1944 — will be honored during the Saturday, July 2, parade.

For the full lineup of 2016 events, please download the app, RWTB 2016 or visit redwhitetahoeblue.org.

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