A little over an hour drive away from the scenic Lake Tahoe is the valley of the city of Sparks. Located in the Truckee Meadows of Northern Nevada, Sparks is in a high desert climate at an elevation of nearly 4,500 feet with four full seasons and sunshine almost 80 percent of the year. Those moving to Sparks will discover that it is widely known as the premiere special events venue for all of northern Nevada, with attractions on Victorian Square which brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to annual events such as Hometowne Farmers Market, Hot August Nights, Nugget Best in the West Rib Cook-off and Hometowne Christmas.
The City of Sparks Economic Development Division is the catalyst for shaping the City's future economy. With economic, social, and technological advancements occurring at such a rapid pace, Sparks continues to show its ability to be flexible and adaptive. For example, Sparks, Nevada's biggest employer today is a hotel and casino business by Sparks Nugget, Inc. which employs 1,985 people followed by United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) which has around 700 employees. The Economic Development Division has equipped itself to be the driving force in the thriving Northern Nevada economy through aggressively establishing a pro-business attitude. Although originally distinct from Reno, the city has grown close to its western neighbor to the point where today they are often referred to as a twin city ("Reno-Sparks").
Sparks was created to the east of Reno in 1904 to replace Wadsworth as the big switching yard on this section of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Originally named Harriman after the railroad tycoon, Sparks was hurriedly rechristened to honor Governor John T. Sparks, whose ranch was nearby. Sparks remained a small and quiet town until the 1950s, when economic growth in Reno triggered people into moving to Sparks for housing. During the 1970s, the area south of the railroad started to fill up with warehouses and light industry. In 1984 the tower for John Ascuaga's Nugget was finished, giving Sparks its first, and currently only, high-rise casino. In 1996, the redevelopment effort of the old and unsightly B Street business district across from the Nugget that started in the early 1980s took a step forward with the opening of a multi-screen movie complex and the construction of a plaza area. This area, now known as Victorian Square, is a pedestrian-friendly district that hosts many open-air events.
The City of Sparks, Reno's immediate neighbor, has a flavor and feel all it's own. Moving to Sparks can mean going to somewhere a bit quieter and more residential, but it still hosts numerous fun events throughout the city. Another wonderful destination in Sparks, Nevada includes the picturesque Sparks Marina. Eighty acres of water surrounded by swimming, boating, fishing, scuba diving and picnicking facilities, with breathtaking views of the nearby mountains. Events are always happening at the Marina, including Arts in Bloom, Pro Wakeboard Tour and the Scheels Turkey Trot. The city is continually developing its tourist destinations, the newest addition to the list include the Legends at Sparks Marina - a premiere shopping and dining experience. The Sparks-Reno area is filled with entertainment and cultural sites. Gaming action is available at many local casinos, and the area includes museums and other attractions as well.