Barry Smith: Happy Nevada Day on the real Nevada Day

I love Nevada Day.

I love the parade, the horses, the chili feed, the rock-drilling, the way people dress in cowboy hats and Victorian dresses and wave their Nevada flags.

What I don’t love so much is that we don’t celebrate Nevada Day on Nevada Day anymore.

I lost, I know.

Sixteen years ago, the Legislature decided to celebrate Nevada Day on the last Friday of October so workers could have a three-day weekend and more tourists could come to Carson City. And in 1998, the state’s voters agreed.

Well, I still disagree.

Nevada Day is today, Oct. 31. I’m going to be a bit grumpy all day because the celebration was last week.

We held the festivities Saturday because it was more convenient. As a result, since 2000 we’ve celebrated a Nevada Day parade on Nevada Day exactly once. The next time Nevada Day will conveniently fall on a Saturday will be 2015. Then we can look forward to it again in 2020, thanks to a leap year.

(Technically, Nevada Day next year will fall on the very Friday that is designated as Nevada Day, a stroke of luck for the sesquicentennial. The parade, of course, will be the next day, which isn’t Nevada Day no matter how you look at it.)

If it sounds like I’m making way too much of this, I am.

I guess it shouldn’t really matter much when we celebrate holidays or important historical events. The Fourth of July will fall on a Friday this year, so that’s convenient. But New Year’s Day arrives on a Wednesday, which means we should probably wait a couple of days for auld lang syne.

It’s kind of like celebrating Christmas in January because stuff is on sale. Yes, everything’s cheaper.

We already move presidents’ birthdays around the calendar to better fit our schedules. Maybe we should wait to remember Dec. 7 on a day when we aren’t so busy. And Sept. 11.

We can call them days that will live in infamy, only as long as they don’t interfere with our plans.

I think these things bother me because they are symptomatic of an age when close enough is good enough.

Sure, Nevada gained its statehood Oct. 31. Fine, we’re one of the few states who takes such pride in it that we set aside a holiday.

We marked the day on Oct. 25 and celebrated on Oct. 26 because, you know, that was close enough.

Today is just another day — or, as the rest of the country knows it, Halloween. Just one question: Are the trick-or-treaters coming tonight or tomorrow night?

Barry Smith is the executive director of the Nevada Press Association and a former editor of the Nevada Appeal.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment