With a month to go before Nevada celebrates its 139th birthday, plans for the annual Nevada Day celebration are starting to firm up.
Ron Bowman, president of the Nevada Day Committee, estimated 168 of the 175 expected entrants into the parade have signed up.
"We can still use volunteers to help with the parade," he said. "Parade marshals walk with each division and keep the parade on time."
Work as a parade marshal will require a mile-long walk at a slow pace.
"We need marshals to help sign up in the morning and marshals to help with dispersals," he said.
Nevada's birthday and the official holiday fall on the same day this year, Oct. 31. In 2000, a law making Nevada Day the last Friday of the year went into effect. While Friday is the state holiday, Saturday is always parade day, so it will fall on Nov. 1.
This year's parade theme is a salute to veterans and features World War II Medal of Honor winner Richard Sorenson as grand marshal.
Sorenson spent 24 hours in combat on Namur Island in the Kwajalein Atoll before a Japanese grenade landed in a shell hole occupied by himself and five other Marines. Sorenson jumped on the grenade, saving the other Marines. USS Nevada (SSBN 733) Cmdr. Edward B. Seal will ride with Sorenson.
"Everyone has a lot of respect for veterans," Bowman said. "You don't have to be shot at to be a veteran."
Following the theme, veterans' groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion are participating the this year's parade.
"There are a lot of veterans group participating in the parade," Bowman said. "The National Guard will bring their tank and an armored personnel carrier and we will have a fly-over from Fallon."
The Guard will also fly a Chinook helicopter.
Bowman said this year's parade will begin with a bang, from a howitzer, the fly-over and the National Anthem.
Organizers expect about a dozen hot air balloons to fly over the capital city before the parade, which begins at 10 a.m.
Entertainment for the celebration includes Deja Blues playing at the Brewery Arts Center and Exit 22 playing at Telegraph Square.
The annual Single Jack Drilling competition will be held across the street from the Carson Nugget during and after the parade.
The celebration begins Friday with the Battle Born Golf Tournament 10 a.m. Friday. The fee is $65. To sign up call 882-2600.
The Governor's Masked Ball and Carnival of Wonders in 8 p.m. to midnight at Piper's Opera House in Virginia City. For information or reservations, call 847-0433.
Saturday's events kick off with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Carson City Republican Women 7-9:30 a.m. at the Governor's Mansion, 606 N. Mountain St. Breakfast is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 10 years old. Proceeds from the breakfast go to scholarships for Dayton and Carson students. For information contact Kaye Keeton, 841-3991.
The Nevada Day Classic Run/Walk sponsored by the Carson Nugget, Fleet Feet and Sagebrush Stompers starts at 8:15 a.m. and benefits Special Olympics. Fees are $20 and $25. For information, call 883-3361 or 882-1626.
After a morning of running and parade watching, the free Nevada Day Chili Feed sponsored by Gov. Kenny Guinn and State Treasurer Brian Krolicki will be at the Nugget from noon to 2 p.m.
Immediately following the parade, Nevada's annual beard contest will take place on the Capitol steps. Judged by Nevada Supreme Court justices on such categories as reddest, whitest, neatest and longest, the contest also counts the number of bearded individuals from each community. Virginia City was toppled by Carson City as most bearded community last year and the Comstock will be looking to reclaim its title.