Nevada Day festivities aplenty in Carson City

Nevada celebrates its 1864 entrance into the United States with appropriate hoopla, especially in the Carson City area. Starting in the 1870s, the Battle Born state’s birthday was commemorated on Oct. 31, causing confusion with the traditions of Halloween. Since 2000, the state holiday has been officially observed on the last Friday in October.

Events associated with Nevada’s birthday actually begin before the official day and extend through Nevada Day weekend. For instance, the popular Carson City Ghost Walk took place Saturday, with 90-minute guided tours through the historical district. The Nevada Day Fair, with carnival midway and rides, runs Thursday through Oct. 30.

The Inaugural Nevada Day Governor’s Banquet will take place at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno on Oct. 27. Proceeds from the semiformal evening benefit the victims and families of the recent Carson City IHOP shootings and the plane crash at the Reno Air Races.

So many activities take place on Saturday that visitors to Carson City couldn’t possibly attend them all. Start with the pancake breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion from 7:30 to 9 a.m., a bargain at $6 for adults and $3 for children. Meantime, about 400 energetic participants in the 8k run and the 2-mile run/walk begin their course through the historical district, and colorful hot-air balloons lift off from the Carson City Mall around 8 a.m. Maybe you can glimpse them as you breakfast at the mansion.

Billed as the biggest in the state, the Nevada Day Parade begins downtown with a military flyover at 10 a.m. About 4 miles long, the parade lasts for at least a couple of hours. The parade features many equestrian groups, horse-drawn vehicles, several categories of floats, school bands, marching groups, vintage automobiles, military vehicles, antique equipment, novelty and comic entries, many costumes and all kinds of state officials. The theme of the parade is “Nevada’s Great Outdoors,” and it will be marshaled, appropriately, by Smokey Bear and Nevada Division of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy.

Other Saturday morning events include the beard contest from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Capitol amphitheater and the dramatic steam-up of a venerable locomotive at the Nevada State Railroad Museum at 10 a.m. The museum’s restored McKean motor car will take passengers on rail rides from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The car was retired after its last run on the historic V&T Railroad on Nevada Day 1945. Rides cost $10 for adults and $5 for children 5 and older.

The world championship contest in single-jack rock drilling begins at 11 a.m. in the Carson City Nugget’s parking lot.

Head inside the Nugget at noon for the 28th annual Nevada Day chili feed hosted by Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki and enjoy free food and bluegrass music.

The beautiful Governor’s Mansion will be open for tours from 2 to 4 p.m. Call (775) 687-3000 for details.

More afternoon activities include the Pinewood Derby for youngsters at the Carson City Mall from 1 to 5 p.m. and boxing matches at the Silver State Rumble in the Carson City Community Center at 2 p.m.

The Saturday events end with the Nevada Statehood Governor’s Ball at the restored Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City from 7 to 11 p.m. The adult costume ball features attire from the Civil War, Victorian and Edwardian eras as well as formal Western wear. Tickets cost $20 at the door.

Southern Nevadans planning to attend the official Nevada Days events in Carson City should obtain reservations now. For event details, check the official website at

Margo Bartlett Pesek’s column appears Sundays.

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