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Nevada’s yearlong birthday party is officially underway—and what a kickoff it was!
The festivities started on October 24 with the Governor’s Banquet in Reno. Hundreds of people joined Governor Brian Sandoval and me to celebrate our state’s great history and heritage.
The next day, the first commemorative sesquicentennial silver medallion was struck on Historic Coin Press No. 1 at the old Carson City Mint, now the Nevada State Museum. These beautiful medallions were minted with pure Nevada silver, generously donated by Coeur Rochester, Inc. from its Pershing County mine, and are now available for everyone to own. Also available are beautiful copper medallions. Go to nevada150.org to learn how you can purchase these mementos.
Kickoff week continued with Carson City playing host to the 75th annual Nevada Day Parade. Thousands of folks lined Carson Street in anticipation of the parade—many arriving before dawn to secure their favorite location to watch this great tradition. As the parade marched on, hundreds of hungry parade-goers found their way to the Carson Nugget and filled up on free chili at my annual Nevada Day Chili Feed.
With the Governor’s Mansion open for tours, plus the annual beard-growing contest and hard-rock drilling competition, there was something for everyone. Later that afternoon the Nevada Wolf Pack celebrated homecoming by hosting the UNLV Rebels during the traditional battle for the Fremont Cannon. It was a special Nevada Day.
Not all the fun was in the northern part of our state. In Las Vegas, the Springs Preserve and neighboring Nevada State Museum were in full Nevada Day spirit, opening their doors for a free admission day on October 25 in honor of our 150th anniversary. Up the road, at Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park, children—and those who are young at heart—participated in “Nevadaween,” a combined celebration of Nevada Day and Halloween. It was a day full of pumpkins being painted, historical costumes being judged, and delicious soups being prepared, along with pioneer activities and games and prizes for all ages. In northeastern Nevada, Elko held its Nevada Day Parade and celebrated our Nevada spirit and heritage in its unique Cowboy Territory style.
The governor and I will end our week in Las Vegas, where we’ll celebrate Nevada’s statehood with fourth graders. We’ll then head to Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park, where we’ll meet with a group of dedicated Boy Scouts working on a project to replace 25 Nevada Centennial Markers erected in 1964 on the Old Spanish Trail. We’ll be there for the dedication and unveiling of the first replacement marker, along with the Old Spanish Trail Association and Friends of the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort.
What happens next? There are going to be fun, wonderful, outstanding, and meaningful events throughout the state, all year long. Take a look at some of the upcoming activities to put on your calendar in celebration of Nevada’s birthday:
November - On November 6, the Sierra Watercolor Society opens a new Nevada outdoor watercolor exhibit at the Wilbur D. May Museum in Reno. On November 11, Las Vegas hosts the largest Veterans Day Parade west of the Mississippi honoring 150 years of Nevada veterans. In Virginia City on November 21, University of Nevada School of Medicine’s Office of Rural Health will honor Nevadans who have made significant contributions to medicine and health care.
December - Gardnerville kicks off Carson Valley’s Christmas season with an old-time celebrtion that includes carolers, bell ringers, and fireworks. Sparks Hometowne Christmas is December 6-7 and includes our largest holiday parade.
January - The 30th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering—a grand and world-renowned celebration of western people, lifestyles, and traditions—will be in Elko from January 27 to February 1.
Keep your eye on this column and nevada150.org to find out what else is happening around our great state as she turns 150 years old.
Brian K. Krolicki
Chairman—Nevada Commission on Tourism