Mike Hoffman, 59, attended his 60th Nevada Day parade on Saturday.
“I love it,” he said. “I can’t stop, I’d probably jinx it. Break the magic.”
He went to his first parade as just an infant with his father, Howard, who served as sheriff of Carson City, and mother, Ruth, who finished her husband’s term as sheriff after his death.
“I heard I rode in the parade in the front seat of a cop car,” he said. “But that could just be a myth.”
His wife, Susan, was there Saturday, too, with her sister, Emily Mathews.
“It’s our favorite day of the year,” Susan said. “There’s nothing like being at a Nevada Day parade with the Mathews sisters. Seeing old friends all day long is just icing on the cake.”
And no other parade will do.
“I’ve never been to another parade,” Emily said.
Despite Saturday’s temperatures in the 40s and occasional rain, which canceled the annual hot air balloon launch, event coordinator Dana Lee Fruend said the parade and other festivities — the culmination of a yearlong celebration of the state’s 150th birthday — was well attended and spirits were high.
“It’s on,” she said. “We’re having fun down here. Nevadans are tough. Everybody is here to have a good time.”
While some wore their Nevada pride on sweatshirts and hats, Jamie Leonard displayed his with a temporary “Battle Born” tattoo on his forehead.
“I’m a native,” he said. “Born and bred.”
He said he was out at 5 a.m. staking out his family’s traditional spot.
“It was a little moist this morning,” he said.
Sean Potter was out early as well to back his truck next to Cactus Jack’s where his family typically sits to watch the parade then move over to the World Championship Single-Jack Rock Drilling competition.
“It’s part of Nevada,” he said. “Part of our statehood. Part of our culture. It’s always been part of our lives.” The Potter family was also up before the sun, but to run in the annual Nevada Day Classic 8K and 2 Mile.
While Dawn Voight usually participates, she was especially excited this year because proceeds went to support Guide Dogs For the Blind. “My husband is visually impaired,” she said. “So this one had special significance.”
He husband, Chuck Voight, participated in the walk/run for the first time this year, but usually attends the parade.
“We were born here,” he said. “We come to celebrate out foundry day. We’re one of only about two states to do it. And we have a lot of state pride.”
The sesquicentennial parade had a lineup of 238 floats, featuring Nevada’s history and contemporary culture, and lasted nearly four hours.
“I always go to the parade, even if the weather is bad,” said Ann McNight. “With the color of everything and the crisp air and the rustling leaves all over everything ... it’s almost magical to me.”