The theme for this year's Comstock Historic Preservation Weekend May 14-16 in Virginia City is "From Rags to Riches ... to Rags: The Story of the American Dream."
Samuel Clemens - who later took the pen name Mark Twain - went through a personal boom-and-bust cycle during his time in Nevada in the late 1800s. He wrote about getting rich quick then losing it all in his book "Roughing It."
"I sat down sick, grieved - broken hearted; indeed. A minute before, I was rich and brimful of vanity. I was a pauper now, and very meek ... I can always have it to say that I was absolutely and unquestionably worth a million dollars, once, for ten days."
This year's events will celebrate the rags-to-riches cycle - the fate of so many who have settled the Comstock.
The weekend kicks off May 14 with the annual Preservation Dinner held in the E. L. Wiegand Great Hall of the Fourth Ward School.
A live musical revue will be performed, and dinner will be catered by Molly's Gourmet Catering of Carson City. Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. dinner are $40, including a commemorative glass.
Saturday starts with a cemetery tour by the Comstock Cemetery Foundation from 9 to 10 a.m. The tour will begin at the Virginia City Cemetery Gate. Cost is $3 per person. Call Candace Wheeler at 847-0281 for details.
Later, letterpress printers Chic DiFrancia and Carol Clifford will conduct a printing workshop at the Fourth Ward School.
From 7 to 11:30 p.m., the Nevada Civil War Volunteers host the annual Comstock Preservation Ball at Piper's Opera House. Gus Gustafson and the Dennis Butterfield Quartet will transport dancers to the grand balls of the Victorian era with the mazurka, waltz, polka and reel. Victorian-formal, dressy Western or semi-formal attire is encouraged. Tickets are $25, including a light buffet supper. A cash bar will be available.
Most of Sunday's events will be held in the Great Hall at the Fourth Ward School. The Comstock Children's Chorus directed by Squeek LaVake will perform at 2 p.m. More cemetery tours will be from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m., and the Cemetery Foundation will give a presentation on the Comstock cemeteries from 1 to 2 p.m.
At 2:45 p.m., State Historic Preservation Officer Ron James will present the 2003 Nevada State Historic Preservation Awards. A historic fashion show featuring the Nevada Civil War Volunteers and the Living History Company will follow.
The annual Carol Morgan Page Silver Tea follows at the Fourth Ward School. Page will serve tea and locally prepared treats around 4 p.m.
Call Barbara Mackey at 847-0975 for more information and reservations.