Small Nevada towns celebrate holiday with style

Nevada’s scattered small towns observe the national birthday on July 4 in ways that reflect their individual heritage, yet incorporate activities traditional across the country.

Friendly and inclusive, these communities welcome visitors exploring the broad, largely unpopulated expanses of the Silver State.

It is not too late to arrange lodgings or decide upon a camping pace so you can participate in after-dark festivities, including the fireworks set off almost universally.

In Southern Nevada, the urban Las Vegas Valley boasts many well-advertised events, especially fireworks, sure to be spectacular but crowded.

Many people prefer the fireworks offered in Laughlin, where for the 19th year, the resort community on the Colorado River stages “Rockets Over the River” after dark. Observers watching the free show from Laughlin’s River Walk will observe beautiful fireworks reflected in the water set off to patriotic music played simultaneously from all the major hotels.

Smaller communities offer laid-back events with old-time appeal for July 4.

Boulder City’s annual Damboree includes a hometown parade, community barbecue, games and contests during the day and fireworks when it is dark enough.

Bring blankets or chairs to set up for the show.

Pahrump Valley plans the “We the People” Jubilee as a patriotic tribute on July 3-4. Fireworks displays light up the night skies on July 3 and July 4 at 9:15 p.m.

On July 3, events include daytime games, followed by a picnic at 4 p.m. in Petrack Park. Groups bring their own food and blankets to sit upon during the fireworks.

On July 4, the Pahrump Nugget hosts a play, games, a beer garden and entertainment, followed by the fireworks and a crowd hose-down by a fire truck.

In Moapa Valley, folks from Logandale, Overton, Glendale and Moapa gather in the evening of July 4 at the Clark County Fair Grounds.

They indulge in the fare offered at a community barbecue before finding seats in the rodeo stands for the fireworks show.

In Central Nevada, Tonopah commemorates the nation’s birthday with a downtown parade, followed by a day filled with foot races and a softball tournament at the Tonopah Sports Complex.

Live music and a barbecue precede the fireworks at nightfall.

Folks from neighboring towns such as Goldfield and Round Mountain often join the Tonopah celebration.

To the north, because historic Austin’s annual Gridley Days in June claim most of the volunteer fervor, many from Austin head for Round Mountain or Eureka for July 4.

Battle Mountain sponsors a parade and games in the park, followed by fireworks. In Eureka, the local volunteer fire department plans the annual homespun parade, street games, community barbecue and fireworks.

Ely plans a full weekend of activities July 4-5. Activities begin with a community breakfast at the Bristlecone Convention Center.

The popular patriotic parade begins at 11 a.m. The Sagebrush Quilters’ annual show takes place in the Centennial Fine Arts Building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekend events include the Renaissance Village and a Red, White and Blue Golf Tournament.

The undisputed high point of the holiday in Ely is the special train along the historic Nevada Northern Railway tracks featuring a barbecue before passengers board and fireworks observed from the train, the best seats in the county. Call the Nevada Northern Railway for tickets at (775) 289-2085 or arrange online. For barbecue and train ride, fares cost $42 for adults and $25 for children. Passengers opting for train ride alone pay $28 for adults and $16 for children.

Elko celebrates July 4 and the National Basque Festival on the same weekend. Contact the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority for details at (775) 738-4091 or the Elko Basque Club at (775) 738-5816.

Elsewhere in Elko County, the remote mountain town of Jarbridge plans its popular homegrown July 4 events.

Virginia City includes July 4 in a busy schedule of events honoring its own 150 years. Plan on a noon parade and a 6 p.m. concert followed by fireworks.

Margo Bartlett Pesek’s column appears on Sundays.

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