Truckee Thursdays back in historic downtown
The Truckee Downtown Merchants Association has hosted Truckee Thursdays for the past 10 years to give locals the opportunity to enjoy their beautiful town with other community members.
This weekly event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Merchant’s Association, providing money that can both support a robust event while also helping to pay for special activation for locals and visitors in the town of Truckee throughout the year.
“This is the biggest community event in Truckee,” said Truckee Downtown Merchants Association Director Cassie Hebel.
Hebel explained that Truckee Thursdays started during the recession as a way to bring the community together during hard times, continued to expand, and now exists as one of the most highly anticipated activities during the summer in Truckee.
“Locals and visitors get to learn all about Truckee and all of its art and culinary offerings,” Hebel said. “Truckee Thursdays celebrates Truckee’s authenticity.”
Behind the Scenes
Chelsea Walterscheid has been Truckee Thursdays’ event manager for the past five years, and will pass the torch this season to the committee’s new manager, Missy Konig.
“There’s so much that goes into putting on the weekly event, it’s really all-hands on deck,” Walterscheid said.
Walterscheid explained the weekly rundown in preparation of a Truckee Thursday event night. The event’s committee meets on a weekly basis to troubleshoot any issues and discuss new ideas.
On Tuesdays, the team begins placing signage around town alerting motorists to no-parking areas the day of the event.
“To host Truckee Thursday we have 100 vendors, at least 15 food trucks, the band and event sponsors, so we’re in communication with around 130 people, weekly,” Walterscheid said.
They work with vendors who rent out space, as well as local law enforcement and town stakeholders to ensure a safe, fun, and successful weekly event.
Walterscheid and her committee, in partnership with the Merchants Association and local artists have worked to ensure that each year Truckee Thursday brings something new and fresh to the locals.
“We’re always bringing on new artisan vendors with new items for sale,” Walterscheid said.
“This year we have a huge surprise, well not technically a surprise as it’s been approved; but a huge announcement for everyone whose been to an event before,” Walterscheid hinted.
She explained that new this year, Truckee Thursday will create a more accessible and inclusive environment for families by merging the beer garden area with the food truck area.
Now, guests age 21 and over will be able to carry an alcoholic beverage from the dining section of the event to where the live music is hosted.
Creating more flow on the side of the street closest to the transportation center will alleviate the need to have dad stay with the stroller while mom runs to the beer garden, for example.
“This event celebrates talented local artists and offers a free community event that is really designed for local families,” Walterscheid said.
“We don’t want to split people up or keep kids on one side of the music area while their parents are standing on the other side of the fence.
Hebel added that allowing people to casually walk along this entire side of the street is an effort to continue the family friendly atmosphere without making it difficult or frustrating for parents to enjoy a beverage.
Truckee police officer, Arnie Lopez, commented on the importance of making smart decisions during and after the weekly street fair.
“The event isn’t the problem,” Lopez said. “What we want to see is people being safe after the event is over. The shuttle is a great way to go.”
Lopez referred to the complimentary shuttle system set in place to get guests safely to and from the event, free of charge.
From June 8 through Aug. 17, seven bus routes will be available from 4:30 p.m. to around 10 p.m., transporting Truckee Thursday guests every 15 minutes from various neighborhood pickup locations.
Guests will be driven to downtown Truckee from pickup locations in: Prosser, Glenshire, Sierra Meadows, Donner Lake, Tahoe Donner, Squaw Valley, and Northstar.
“You’ve been set up in so many positive ways, from the shuttle to walking through historic downtown, taking the sights and great live music in, eating great food and having a shuttle ride home — why wouldn’t you go?” Walterscheid said.
Laura Schroeder, who works at La Galleria in downtown Truckee, said she loves getting to work during Truckee Thursdays both from a vendor and participant’s perspective.
“On behalf of the store I get to invite new people into the shop, who haven’t seen it before and love interacting with the locals,” Schroeder said.
“And as a local, I really love Red Truck’s quinoa bowl or Mountain Roots tacos, hanging out in the beer garden, and enjoying the free live music — it’s just a great time.”
The unsung heroes of Truckee Thursday are hands down the dedicated members of the Truckee Downtown Merchants Association. They work tirelessly to bring exciting events to the streets of Truckee, so they can create so many positive results of which many locals aren’t aware.
“We’re able to put money back into downtown Truckee through this event,” Hebel said.
Truckee Thursday profits benefit locals and visitors to this area in more ways than just the fun event. The committee uses money generated by the event to have the sidewalks and news racks steam cleaned, have lights and decorations hung throughout the streets during the holidays, even to donate a substantial scholarship to one Truckee High School senior each year.
“Truckee Thursdays is such a wonderful, family friendly event,” Hebel said. “It’s so much fun, you’ll either know someone there, or walk away having met new people.”
Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.