Local lady already planning next year’s Nevada Day events | NevadaAppeal.com

Local lady already planning next year’s Nevada Day events

by staff

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Just thought I’d begin our visit with Virginia Nuzum by telling her something she already knew and has heard before.

“If I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me I’d be a millionaire today,” said a laughing Virginia, who is 67 and was born in Reno. “I do believe in Santa Claus so, yes, there is a Santa Claus.”

Virginia is a very active member of our community and we’ll talk about that after we visit a bit with her. She is a widow who has five grown children and five grandchildren.

“My children all live out-of-state and the grandkids are scattered all over the country,” began a smiling Virginia. “I was married to John for 17 years. He died in 1981. He smoked himself to death.”

Virginia has lived in Nevada most of her life. First in Reno “for awhile” and then in Yerington “for a time” and in Carson City in the early 1950’s. She also lived in Orange County, Calif., and that’s where she and John met.

“A friend introduced us and we got married in Las Vegas,” she said. “John was a California Highway Patrolman and also a U.S. Marine. We came home to Carson City for good in 1970.”

Both her parents, Jim and Virginia, have passed away but her mom almost made it to 100.

“Mom died two years ago at age 99 and dad died young,” she said. “He was 35 and was killed in an accident.”

We were visiting in her Carson City home that Virginia has lived in since 1981 and Virginia does not live alone!

“I live with my cat Princess Lorilei who is a 9-year old Lilac Siamese,” she said happily. “I didn’t name her. I got her at age three. That’s it. Just her and me here at home.”

Virginia is retired from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“I was an auditor for 10 years and worked for them 12 years,” she added. “I retired in 1988.”


Virginia is a board member of Nevada Day Inc. It used to be called the Nevada Day Committee.

“I’ve been a board member for three years and with them for five years,” she said. “There are 11 board members. I was elected vice-president of the board earlier this month and will serve until next December.”

The non-profit organization is in charge of the annual Nevada Day celebration in Carson City, including the parade and other events connected with Nevada Day.

“Nevada is the only state in the nation that celebrates its Admission Day annually,” she informed. “The Nevada Day Committee then and the board now keep it going. It’s been going on in Carson City since 1938. Prior to that it was celebrated in Reno.”

Beside the parade, the organization “puts on” the 1864 Grand Ball at the Ormsby House and “all the activities” associated with Nevada Day like the rock drilling, the beard contest and the Nevada Day poster contest that is open to school children as well as many other Nevada Day events.

“I would like to mention and thank Sen. Richard Bryan,” said Virginia. “He has been the strongest supporter we’ve ever had. He puts on his annual chili feed at the Carson Nugget every Nevada Day and he’s responsible for getting the Navy to have a flyover for the parade every year. He’s been in the parade for 21 years and has always been a Nevada Day supporter … Nevada Day wouldn’t be the same without him.”

Should note that Virginia and the other 10 board members all volunteer their time and expertise.

“There is no pay at all,” added Virginia. “It works better that way. Every cent we get goes for Nevada Day. We’re not state funded either. We do have a sponsorship program and we accept donations and we always need volunteers who can help in any way. Call me at 882-2600 if you can help.”

She paused and laughed as she noted that “you’ll regret it for the rest of your life but do call. I’ll find a spot for you and you can bet on that. You can also bet that I’ll call you every year.”

The Nevada Day organization also “sells buttons” to raise money for Nevada Day and they have other events connected to the holiday. One of them is a brand new golf tournament.

“In 2000 we are planning the first ever Nevada Day golf tournament at Empire Ranch,” said Virginia happily. “It will be on Oct. 27 and is an 18-hole shotgun tournament. We have room for 420 golfers.”

Those interested in obtaining registration information can call Stephen Lincoln at that same 882-2600 number.

Virginia said the Brewery Arts Center is also planning to bring some groups in to entertain for Nevada Day. Virginia is a member of the board of directors at the arts center too.

“It’s my second love,” she said with a big grin. “I also volunteer at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.”


Virginia first called me to ask some questions about “bringing back” the annual Nevada Day boxing card because she “doesn’t know anything about boxing” and wanted me to tell her “where to go” regarding putting on a show.

I did learn that the Nevada Day Board “starts early” planning these events and “now is the time” to get the ball rolling for next years events. Boxing shows on Nevada Day were very popular in the 1970’s and 80’s before they were stopped.

“We do want to bring it back,” she said. “It was one of the most popular Nevada Day events ever. Last year (1998) we brought back the hand-car races and next year we hope to bring boxing back.”

I gave Virginia some names and numbers to call to “get the ball rolling” and she and I are going to the Ormsby House amateur fight card on March 25 to “check things out” and we’ll fill you in on more as soon as we know for sure if the amateur fight card will take place.


Hope you all had a great Christmas day Saturday and this weekend is going your way. As for Virginia, she plans a “low-key Christmas” this year.

“I’ll just get together with friends and enjoy the holiday,” she said. “However, for New Year’s I’m going out for the first time in over 20 years. I’m going to a New Year’s party at the Carson Nugget with friends.”

Being one who hasn’t “gone out” on New Year’s for more years than I can remember, I asked if she would be able to stay awake until midnight after admitting I can’t anymore.

“I hope I can stay up until midnight,” she laughingly replied. “It’s been a long time since I stayed up that late …. I’m not a party girl.”

Well, it’s time to go. Both Virginia and I wish you a “Happy New Year” and hope you stay safe and warm over the holidays …. See you next century!

ALAN ROGERS is a Nevada Appeal columnist. His message phone is 887-2430, ext. 402.