Nevada Day was very big this year, being the Sesquicentennial edition and all. The year-long effort to celebrate the milestone with events and activities around the state — more than 500 of them — had focused more attention than ever on our annual Celebration of Statehood, and it showed.
Oh sure, easy for you to say
First and foremost were the parades. There has been a Nevada Day parade in Carson City since 1938 (they called it Admission Day then) and it is a cast-iron tradition now.This year October 31, the actual date of Nevada’s entry into the Union fell on a Friday. The big parade was set for Saturday in Carson City, so Virginia City, Elko and Las Vegas each sponsored “Actual Day” parades on Friday. Friends from around the state have contributed photos which we have assembled as our Parting Shot below.
One determined parader picked up his ‘float’ at closing time from the Carson City sign shop that had just laid the last layer of paint on its side, and at 5 am the next morning he headed south for Las Vegas and its first ever Nevada Day parade, scheduled there the next day.
His name is Joel Dunn and he is the ED of the Carson City Visitors Bureau. His “float” is a recently rejuvenated 1961 Willys Jeep JR3 postal delivery vehicle that also serves as a major guy-magnet in the CCCVB vendor booth at travel shows.
It was riding high on the trailer behind the haul truck and it caught a lot of eyes along the way to Las Vegas. I call it Little Willy.
The Douglas High School Marching Band
“It’s got a small block Chevy 283 engine with a 700-R Ford transmission,” Dunn says. “I’m pretty sure it’s the fastest parade float in the state, and willing to bet money it’s the quickest off the starting line.”
Little Willy’s arrival at Beatty coincided with a Model A club rendezvous, and drew an appreciative crowd and fervent invitations to join in an impromptu parade right then and there. But Little Willy sped on.
As anticipated, the odd little silver cube of a car caught the attention of the onlookers along the length of the Fourth Street parade route in downtown Las Vegas.
Once across the Finish line, Little Willy drove up onto the trailer, and when everything was cinched down tight the rig drove off. It was turning northbound onto US 95 while the passengers aboard the last floats in the parade were still smiling and waving and throwing candy to the spectators on Fourth Street.
The Elko High School Marching Band
The Elko parade has been a Nevada Day fixture for a generation now, and Virginia City mounts a parade down C Street almost at will, so Las Vegas was the only newcomer to the Nevada Day Parade scene and brought it off in fine style. But with no Sesquicentennial funding and nobody running for office in 2015, the Nevada Day’s parade’s future in Las Vegas seems iffy.
Little Willy seems to have been the only entrant to have paraded in Las Vegas on Friday and then hurried home to join the Big Parade in Carson City the next morning. Others who had paraded in Elko and Virginia City on Friday also paraded in Carson City the next day. Is this a new tradition? [See the photos below.]
The 2014 Governor’s Conference on Tourism was held earlier in the week at the Atlantis Hotel Casino in Reno, a shining hive of hospitality just north of the Convention Center on Virginia Street.
The event was the anticipated combination of pep rally and vocational schoolhouse, and it provided attendees with an update on the activities of the Nevada Commission on Tourism and a chance to network and schmooze, and to enjoy the elegant cuisine at the Atlantis.
Highlights of the event were the high-energy presentation by Nevada-born musician Eric Whitacre, who got the crowd to singing, and the reluctant and affectionate farewell to Brian Krolicki, termed out as Lieutenant Governor and as standard-bearer of the state’s Economic Development and Tourism Commissions.
But the brightest highlight of all was the opening reception at the Nevada Museum of Art. The food was good, the art was great and the 36th Star exhibit upstairs was priceless. Three of the museum’s galleries were devoted to a unique display of artifacts from the national collections as well as from our own Nevada archives. One underlying theme was the effort to answer the question “What does it really mean for a state to be Battle Born?” Answers to the question ranged from the Emancipation Proclamation that President Lincoln signed, to the muster rolls of the Nevada Volunteers, and it included that Icon of all Nevada Icons, the Sanitary Fund’s precious sack of Flour. That alone made the exhibit unforgettable.
Wheezeritis: In researching the career of Wheezer Dell, the first Nevada baby to play baseball in the big leagues when he grew up, I fell to wondering one day about who the second one was. The problem with Wheezer is that he moved away before he was out of diapers and grew up in Butte Montana. We have the legal rights to him, but it was Butte that raised him. I wanted a major league ballplayer who grew up here.
It turns out that the second Nevada man to get to the big leagues was Gordon Rhodes, who was born in Winnemucca in 1907 and played four years for the Yankees, three more for the Red Sox, and a final year, 1936, for Connie Mack and the Philadelphia Athletics. But “Dusty” Rhodes’ parents left Winnemucca when he was a baby, and moved to Salt Lake City where he grew up and went to high school. Hmmpf.
Number three seemed promising. Ted Davidson was a “stylish reliever with a good fastball who admitted to using a spitter now and then” and threw his curveball sidearm to lefthanded batters. He made 54 relief pitching appearances for the Cincinnati Reds in 1966. But his career suffered a setback during Spring Training of ’67 when his estranged wife ended an argument they were having outside a bar in Tampa by shooting him twice in the torso. She was arrested and later released when he didn’t show up in court to testify against her. He pitched some more after that but he had lost his winning ways. He died in Bullhead City in 2006. Oh, and this from his obit about his boyhood in Las Vegas: “he moved away at an early age”.
Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram
The only disappointment of my recent visit to Las Vegas was that Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas was not yet open.
I don’t know who number 4 is and for now at least I’ve lost my enthusiasm for the search . . . but I can’t help thinking these three demonstrate the transient nature of our population over the years. And all three were pitchers, if that is a clue to anything.
What They’re Saying About Us
Quick Notes from Beyond the Mountains:
The new management at the Hotel Nevada & Gambling Hall in Ely has opened a Sports Book downstairs. The table games are back on the main casino floor, and sporting events are shown on the high definition tvs at The Bar. Need it be said that this hotel is one of the most delightful discoveries in eastern Nevada? It has been a landmark since is went up in 1929 — the tallest building in the state at six stories — and staying there is a pleasantly retro experience. Just ask Shorty! . . .
Ghost Town Getaway
We have renovated and upgraded the Doll House in Eureka and it is now available as a Vacation Rental/ Ghost Town Getaway. The 1880 Victorian is a local landmark, nicely furnished with a modern bathroom and kitchen, all necessary implements and appliances provided. Nice view of downtown and an easy walk to Raine’s Market. WiFi/No TV/No phone. Inquiries: 775-843-6217. We’re on Facebook too.
One of our Facebook friends is the Picon Drinker of the American West. We like the tales he tells, and the stories of his travels around Nevada. Here’s a recent one . . . One thing I learned at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism is that there are 3,000 murals in Philadelphia! No wonder they call themselves the “Ely of the East” . . .
Parting Shot — the Nevada Day Parades
Elkoan Jim Conner moved to Elko from Carson City decades ago. He couldn’t stand it that northeastern Nevada didn’t have a Nevada Day parade and he couldn’t take time off work to get to Carson for the festivities. So he and wife organized the Elko parade about 30 years ago and we’ve celebrated in proper fashion ever since. Opening the Elko Nevada Day Parade this year is a local honoree as the Grand Marshal, Mark Chilton along with his wife Kathy, escorted by local law enforcement and a military honor guard. We have bands from area high schools, business and civic groups and of course politicians! It’s a local tradition that candy be thrown to kids on the sidelines. A local expert on the topic declared this year’s parade the biggest and best of them all!
— Jan Petersen
Photos by A. T. Anacabe Franzoia and Don Newman
Virginia City is known for having a Parade at the drop of a hat, and this Nevada Day effort was a glorious one — it must have been a top hat — even though it started late in the afternoon and finished up in the gathering dusk.
Photos by Cedar Pavel
Las Vegas celebrated the 150th with its first Nevada Day Parade ever and looked quite cosmopolitan doing it.
Parade photos by Mona Shield-Rice/Cox Communications.
The Carson City parade was its usual triumphant pageant, despite damp weather and skies that threatened worse. There were some 250 entries requiring more than four hours to accomplish the parade completely.
Photos courtesy Patrick Wilkes, CarsonNow and the Nevada Department of Agriculture