Men, women and children lined the roadway on camping chairs and benches. Families sat waiting on the curb despite dark clouds, strong winds and the potential for rain.
Hundreds rallied in Henderson’s Water Street district for the city’s 61st annual Heritage Parade and Festival on Saturday.
The festivities celebrating the second-largest Nevada city’s birthday began on the Henderson Convention Center’s lawn with a free breakfast and a variety of stalls and booths selling fresh produce and local, handcrafted jams and honeys at 9 a.m.
The scent of maple syrup permeated the air for blocks. A cook from Emery’s catering said they spent seven hours cooking bacon and prepared about 800 sausage links. Huge pans of half-dollar pancakes and soft-scrambled eggs invited Henderson denizens with the message that this is a day for eating and being merry.
Farmer’s market-themed floats started rolling about 10 a.m.
The Coffee House on Water Street was bustling with activity and ran out of chocolate for hot cocoa before the parade even ended. Children sat on the bar by the window on high alert and darted out toward the street whenever they spotted someone handing out candy.
Campaigning politicians waved like homecoming queens from the back of cars and trucks, and Foothill High School students won the top honor for marching groups when they performed a stirring rendition of Gloria Estefan’s 1989 hit “Get on Your Feet.”
And then it started raining, less than an hour into the event.
Yet elementary school cheer teams still clapped and waved pom-poms at the crowd, their enthusiasm undampened by the drizzle. Shriners and clowns looped along the street on go-carts.
“It did rain on our parade,” smiled 42-year-old Jason Schuck, president of Henderson’s International Food and Folklife Association. Schuck’s organization put together the multicultural aspects of the festival.
As soon as the parade ended a car show took its place on Water Street, and the pavilion in front of City Hall came alive with an inflatable obstacle course and trampoline for children. Savory aromas drifted from vendors serving Japanese, Korean and Peruvian cuisines.
About 100 people participated in the three-hour Zumba Nation event featuring dance-like calisthenics led by instructors representing multiple countries in the intermittent rain.
Schuck said various activities were planned until about 6 p.m.
“I love it,” he said of the annual festival. “It’s a great way to learn culture and experience new things without leaving home.”
The dark clouds and sprinkling rain were a hot topic of conversation for parade-goers, but at the Henderson Executive Airport, the rainfall was not substantial enough to be measured by the National Weather Service monitor, meaning less than .04 inches. Only a trace amount was recorded at McCarran International Airport.
The mountains welcomed a bit of snow, about 1 inch around lower elevations and up to 2 inches toward the ski resort. The weather service said the snow should not last too long, maybe a day or two in sheltered areas.
The high winds pestering the valley passed on toward Arizona just as the parade was ending, and the weather service expects the next few days to be clear with minimal wind and temperatures in the high 70s.
Contact Wesley Juhl at email@example.com and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @WesJuhl.