Crowd gathers for VC lights parade despite cold wind, rain |

Crowd gathers for VC lights parade despite cold wind, rain

Karl Horeis

About a thousand people braved cold winds and sprinkling rain for Virginia City’s annual Parade of Lights on Saturday night.

Kristy Hernandez of Reno brought friends from out of town.

“I think it’s pretty fun and exciting,” she said between sips from a Hot Toddy. “I can’t remember the last time I went to a Christmas parade – this is pretty cool.”

The Grand Marshall was Bill Shelly – at 95 years old the oldest veteran in Storey County.

Santa Claus rode along behind him in the basket of a Comstock Community Television crane truck. Folks from Virginia City Realty towed a boat decorated with blue lights.

The Nevada Department of Transportation drove several snow plows while fire trucks from both the Storey County volunteer and paid departments rolled along, too.

“My favorite part was the boat,” said Virginia City resident Michelle Byrum who works for the visitor’s bureau.

“Yeah, the Virginia City yacht club,” said her friend, Billie Taylor.

“And Yandre and Teague, Ltd. had a great float,” she said. “They own five stores up here.”

Becky Lathrop of Reno wondered why the camels were not in attendance this year.

“I came up to see the Nutcracker at Piper’s Opera House,” she said. “It’s a star performance.”

She might have been a bit biased – her daughters Laura Beth and Hailey both performed in the show, as the Sugar Plum Fairy and a flower, respectively.

The parade is usually organized by a committee of local people but that didn’t happen this year, so the Virginia City, Gold Hill Chamber of Commerce stepped in, said parade coordinator Karen Woodmansee.

The parade is part of the Christmas on the Comstock program, which also includes a drink-making competition among local saloons, a gift-certificate raffle and a drawing for $1,000.

“If the weather had cooperated, the parade would have been a lot better,” said Woodmansee. “It’s awfully cold out here.”

One of the few people not wearing a coat was Nick Mashburn.

“I never used to wear a coat in Reno,” said the recent Reno-to-Virginia-City transplant.

“We never had anything like this down there.”

His mother Laurie works at the Delta Saloon.