Carson Valley Days starts today |

Carson Valley Days starts today

by Susie Vasquez
Nevada Appeal News Service

Shannon litz/File Photo Balloons rise over Gardnerville in June 2003, the last time they participated in the Carson Valley Days celebration. Balloons will be back as part of the celebration on Saturday.

Hot air balloons will be making a comeback this weekend during the 97th annual Carson Valley Days.

About a dozen will launch 7 a.m. Saturday behind Carson Valley Middle School.

Local balloonist Whit Landvater invited the public to the launch.

“People should come out and bring their cameras,” he said. “It will be good entertainment while they’re waiting for the parade.”

No balloon races are slated and there will be no prizes, but there are other perks, Landvater said.

“Between the excitement and the views is the tranquility. You can leave all your troubles behind for about an hour,” he said.

Recommended Stories For You

Douglas County’s Active 20-30 Club hosts the event with the help of numerous sponsors. This year, Tom Kerley is representing the organization as chairman of the event.

“When I grew up here, the balloons were as much of Carson Valley Days as the parade,” he said. “The balloons are my signature on this event. I wanted to see them in the skies again for Carson Valley Days.”

The event started as a time for local ranchers to gather, following the season’s first hay cutting.

In addition to the balloons, this new-and-improved weekend includes more music throughout, compliments of bands called Vivid, Big Bad Wolf and Super Freak. At 4 p.m. Sunday, the end of the weekend’s festivities, a Fleetwood tent trailer will be raffled off, compliments of Carson RV Superstores.

The fun starts tonight with a carnival complete with rides, a midway and disc jockey from 5-11 p.m. The carnival continues the following night at 3 p.m., and includes live music from 6-9 p.m.

Saturday’s hot air balloon launch and 9 a.m. parade is followed by a host of family-friendly activities starting at about noon Saturday.

Live music of the group Vivid starts at noon at the carnival events will include arm wrestling, potato sack races and the grease pole competition.

One of the most popular events, the grease pole, stands 12 feet tall and draws the 8- to 12-year-old set, Kerley said.

“The prize is made up of cash donations from the crowd. The kids try to climb the pole and the pot builds. The kid who gets the flag off the top of the grease pole gets the cash,” he said. “It goes on all afternoon. It’s interesting to watch.”

The Carson Valley Active 20-30 Club organizes and hosts the event, but a few other local clubs jump into the act. The Soroptimists are selling buttons commemorating the event for $1 each, the money dedicated to the group’s grant fund. The price will go up on the buttons after Friday, according to Soroptimist chairman Bronwyn Mason.

“It’s a tradition for the Soroptimists to participate, and it’s a good fundraiser for the grants we distribute in the community,” she said.

Boy Scout troops 140, 240, and 340 are selling banners to local businesses and the money pays for a week’s summer camp in northern California for about 32 scouts aged 12 to 17.

“It’s a good money-maker,” said Scout leader Brian Stockton. “The kids average about $200 apiece. “

This four-day event is supported by numerous sponsors including J.T. Basque Bar, GE, Lapco, Century 21 Clark Properties, JRB Machine, Carson Valley Ranch Rodeo and Carson RV Superstores.

“We’d like to thank our sponsors for their support of our event as well as the youth of the Carson Valley,” Kerley said.

• Contact reporter Susie Vasquez at or 782-5121, ext.

Schedule of events:


• Carnival 5-11 p.m. (buddy day, 2-for-1 wristbands)


• Carnival 3-11 p.m., live music from 6-9 p.m.


• Hot air balloon launch at 7 a.m.

• Parade registration at 7 a.m. at the high school parking lot

• Carson Valley Days parade, 9 a.m.-noon, starting at Minden Park and ending at Lampe Park.

Events at Lampe Park include the following:

• Craft show 11 a.m. to close

• Carnival 11 a.m. to close

• Music with Vivid noon to 2 p.m.

• Grease pole noon to 5 p.m.

• Arm wrestling 1-2 p.m.

• Kids wheel barrow race 1-2 p.m.

• Tug-o-war 2-3 p.m.

• Kids potato sack race 2-3 p.m.

• Horseshoe tournament 3-5 p.m.

• Kids three-legged race 3-4 p.m.

• Kids water balloon toss 4-5 p.m.

• Live music with Super Freak 6-9 p.m.


• Craft show 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Carnival 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Music noon-4 p.m.

• Grease pole noon-4 p.m.

• Glutton bowl noon-2 p.m.

• Adult/kids tricycle race 2-3 p.m.

• Carson Valley Days Raffle 4 p.m. 211.