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Cultural events and the arts reinvigorate Boulder City and Henderson.
Photo: SHELLY DONAHUE (Boulder City)
The strains of acoustic rock and bebop fill the Henderson Events Plaza on Thursday evenings when free music, poetry, and dance performances entertain visitors of all ages. Ten miles south, Boulder City boasts arts events and rejuvenated shops and cafés that are bringing tourists and locals downtown.
The two Southern Nevada communities are following a national trend in which cities are widening sidewalks, installing stylish streetlamps, and holding cultural events. As a result, downtown areas have been reinvigorated and the arts are flourishing.
Henderson has been redeveloping its downtown over the past several years, revealing its art deco-themed architecture. At the same time, a growing art and culture scene is emerging as new tenants move into the historic area.
Downtown Henderson has four art galleries (Quiet Places: A Water Street Art Space, Water Street Gallery, Old Town Art Gallery, and City Lights Art Gallery) that can be viewed during the monthly Third Thursday through October. This is when Water Street businesses, craft boutiques, photography studios, and restaurants remain open late into the night.
The City of Henderson Department of Cultural Arts and Tourism offers a free family-oriented weekly entertainment called Thursday Night Live. Held at 7 p.m. at the Henderson Events Plaza, the series features local bands, poets, and other artists. Information on upcoming performances and art in the city is available on visithenderson.com and waterstreetdistrict.com.
Thursday also is a good day to shop in Henderson. The Country Fresh Farmers’ Market, at the events pavilion in front of Henderson City Hall, is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. From apricots to zucchini, fresh food comes direct from farms in Nevada, California, and Arizona. You can buy homemade bread, salsa, and arts and crafts, and children can take part in organized games.
Each May, the Art Fest of Henderson welcomes 200 artists from across the nation to the Henderson Events Plaza. The weekend includes entertainment and food and features a large children’s play area.
Boulder City is the only city in Nevada without gaming. Although you won’t find casinos in the historic downtown, you will see cafés and galleries fronted by sidewalks bedecked with trees and flower-filled planters.
One of the first master-planned communities, the city was created to house the workers who built Hoover Dam, and today the dam’s art and history are displayed in the Boulder City Museum inside the Boulder Dam Hotel. The museum’s interactive exhibits describe how thousands of unemployed citizens moved to Nevada in the 1930s. The Dutch Colonial-style hotel, named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, also houses the Boulder City Art Guild Gallery where Southern Nevada artists display their paintings.
The 59th Annual Damboree celebrates the 4th of July with bands, art, parades, games, and pancake breakfasts at several locations including Bicentennial Park and Broadbent Park. A giant fireworks display is held at Veterans’ Memorial Park at nightfall.
Boulder City also is home to one of the largest arts and crafts shows—featuring more than 350 booths—in the West. Art in the Park, set for October 6-7, offers paintings, lithographs, bronze sculptures, tapestries, and a host of other fine arts and crafts by artists from throughout the U.S. in four parks: Wilbur, Bicentennial, and Escalante North and South.