Celebrating our servicemen and women, Silver-State style.

By Jeri Chadwell

Memorial Day weekend events kick off across the state today. Some solemn and others celebratory, these events will give Nevadans the opportunity to revel in the beginning of summer and celebrate the brave servicemen and women who have fought and died for our country:

The 2013 Summer Salute Car show in Reno proved a major success in supporting veteran’s affairs.

Carson City and Virginia City
Memorial Day weekend marks the season opening for the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. This year, the celebration begins at 8 a.m. on May 24 at the East Gate Depot off Highway 50 East. The event features live music and complimentary juice and mimosas. The train departs the station at 10 a.m. for the 90-minute ride, dropping passengers at the Virginia City depot with about a half an hour to spare before the start of the Celebration of Heroes Parade at noon on C. Street. Carson City’s own Memorial Day parade also takes place at noon on Saturday.

Boulder City
Boulder City’s historic Bicentennial Park plays host to the 10th annual Best Dam Barbecue Challenge over Memorial Day weekend. This two-day event is free to the public and features vendors, a car show, live music, children’s grilling lessons, and a rib-eating competition between the city’s police and fire departments.


A motorcycle burns at the 2011 Run-A-Mucca.

Winnemucca has long been a Memorial Day destination for motorcyclists who travel from across the state and beyond to enjoy the music, vendors, and contests at the Annual Run-A-Mucca Motorcycle Rally. The event—now in its 13th year—is part celebration and part commemoration. In addition to the weekend’s entertainment, the rally also features the presentation of the Nevada National Guard Soldier of the Year Award on Saturday evening and a Sunday morning memorial cruise to Veteran’s Memorial Park on US-95, with a memorial service at the park beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Now the second largest car show in the region, the annual Summer Salute car show is hosted by the Classic Chevy Club of Reno. All event proceeds go to the Veterans Guest House and Operation Feedback, two nonprofit organizations serving Nevada’s veterans and their family members. This year’s event is held on the Saturday, May 24, beginning at 9 a.m. in Rancho San Rafael Park. In addition to food vendors, music, and classic cars, there will also be several veterans groups present, including Honor Flight, the American Heroes Sleep Project, and the Truckee Meadows chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America.


Participants shoveling dirt in the official Nevada State Mining Championships.

The annual Jim Butler Days celebration is a Tonopah tradition. Every Memorial Day weekend, Tonopah’s residents gather to celebrate the silver ore discovery of 1900 that led to the city’s founding. The 44th annual event features vendors, a street dance and parade, blacksmithing classes, and more. Residents and visitors can also head to the Tonopah Historic Mining Park for the official Nevada State Mining Championships. The championships are another Tonopah tradition that feature both amateur and professional competitions testing participants’ mettle in many of the skill-sets historically associated with mining, including timber sawing, spike driving, and mucking.

Don’t let its size fool you. Even with fewer than 50 residents, Memorial Day weekend is a big celebration in the tiny town of Jarbidge. This year’s festivities include a Saturday bingo game at the Jarbidge Community Hall and a Sunday barbecue at the Outdoor Inn, with live music at the inn both evenings. The Memorial Day parade is held on Monday at noon.

Las Vegas
Vegas evenings are sure to be action-packed during Memorial Day weekend. There are numerous venues to choose from for concerts, pool parties, and restaurant and club openings. But there are also special events planned during the day, including Palm Mortuary and Cemetery’s 49th Annual Memorial Day Service at their downtown location on North Main Street. The event is hosted in conjunction with the American Legion Post 8 and features several guest speakers, including Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Congresswoman Dina Titus, and representatives from the offices of Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. The Palm Mortuary and Cemetery location on 800 S. Boulder Highway in Henderson is hosting a ceremony at 11 a.m. The northwest location at 6701 N. Jones Boulevard is hosting a ceremony at 2 p.m. All three of the services are free and open to the public.