Silver & Snowflakes: Capitol grounds glow during December

From decorating a single tree in 1914 to decorating the whole front lawn of the Capitol, each year there’s more and more magic created by the State Buildings and Grounds crew.

From decorating a single tree in 1914 to decorating the whole front lawn of the Capitol, each year there’s more and more magic created by the State Buildings and Grounds crew.

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You’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful display of holiday lights than those found on the front lawn of our state Capitol. Last year, for the first time, the fairy lights were creatively wrapped around tree trunks and limbs instead of randomly hung, and what a difference wrapping makes.

Last December, I joined our Chamber Travel Club to get a taste of Christmas Santa Fe, New Mexico-style, which has become a bucket list visit for many during the holiday. All I can say is that we do a far superior light show than displayed in Santa Fe Plaza. I was all ready to come back with some new ideas. Instead, their light crew needs to mimic our display.

Sure, we don’t have the luminarias decorating our rooftops and, I’ll admit, that’s rather special. However, when it comes to putting up fairy lights, Phil Nemanic and his crew from State Buildings and Grounds have only a month to transform the Capitol and they have it down to a science.

Last year, too, the lighted archway leading to the entrance of the Capitol was introduced giving the overall light display even more dimension. There may be another new element introduced this year.

For his wizardry with a string of lights and for his continued support for making this holiday tradition more spectacular annually, Nemanic received the Chamber’s highest recognition two years ago.

He’s been overseeing the decorating of the Capitol grounds for more than 10 years and makes sure the lights go up in time for the official lighting the first Friday in December no matter what weather challenges are faced — and there have been many. He and his crew are also the creative geniuses behind the Halloween display at the Governor’s Mansion.

Be sure to make it a point to stroll through the Capitol grounds this holiday season to get you in the holiday mood.


Friday, Dec. 1

Carson Street will be closed from 3:30-8 p.m. between Robinson and Fifth streets.

Curry and Stewart streets will remain open.

  • 4:30-5:30 p.m. Free electric sleigh rides
  • 5:30 p.m. Tree Lighting Ceremony at the state Capitol grounds featuring 400 Carson City fifth grade music students
  • 6 p.m. State tree lighting; all of Carson Street is lit up
  • 6:15-8 p.m. Festivities continue in the downtown
    • Free electric sleigh rides until 7 p.m.
    • Photos with Santa & Grinch @ McFadden Plaza
    • Hot cocoa - Holiday with a Hero fundraiser.
    • Two locations: City Hall & McFadden Plaza
    • CCSO Car 54 & Warren Engine Co., fire engine on display on Carson Street
    • The Hilltop Church Rock Band plays upbeat holiday tunes on a flatbed on Carson Street

Caroling at the McFadden Plaza Stage:
6:15-6:45 p.m. Carson High School choir
6:45-7:15 p.m. Carson City Symphony Youth Chorus & Chamber Singers
7:15- 7:45 p.m. Sierra Lutheran High School choir
Caroling through the downtown at various locations including restaurants

The Alatte Coffee and Wine Deli at the Carson Nugget will be serving free hot cocoa from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday. 

8 p.m. Carson Street reopens


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