Muscle cars to parasols, Labor Day parade hits the Virginia City streets |

Muscle cars to parasols, Labor Day parade hits the Virginia City streets

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer

The final bell may have tolled on summer, but judging from the Virginia City sidewalks packed five-deep with adult on-lookers sipping cocktails, children slurping popsicles and elders sitting in lawn chairs fanning and chatting – a summer isn’t complete without a Labor Day parade.

Nearly 1,500 area residents creaked the wooden slats of VC sidewalks Monday clapping and whistling for muscle cars, Harleys, the local 4-H and Civil War “reenactors” as a tri-tip barbecue wafted from the grandstand.

“It’s just been the best part of our trip here – the best, by far,” said Angel Peyton of Sand Point, Idaho. “There’s a lot of history here; my son just loves it.”

Son Shawn Peyton, 10, confirmed his love for the past as he cooed when he heard a gaggle of Union soldiers approaching.

“Shh,” he said. “Can you hear that? They’re about to be here. The Union guys and the Confederates – they’re coming.”

The replica soldiers staged a mock fight in the Virginia City streets following the parade’s conclusion, an event that left Shawn clapping and smiling, once he unclasped his hands from his ears to block the sound of blanks being shot from muskets.

“So loud,” he said.

The day was not bereft of political underpinnings as cars driven by campaign volunteers of Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson drew some crowd reaction – Clinton’s car drawing jeers from right learners amongst the crowd.

“The most popular bumper sticker in D.C. right now is, ‘Run Hillary Run’,” said parade emcee and former Virginia City sheriff Bob Delcarlo. “The Democrats put it on the back of their cars – the Republicans on the front.”

Delcarlo’s pithy commentary continued through the duration of the parade, oftentimes naming the individual participants and sharing a short personal aside or quip.

“Virginia City’s got a great small-town feel and it’s such a fascinating place,” said Carson City resident Ron McHenry. “This is a great thing to get out of the house and come see.”

Carson resident Liza McIlwee and her children, Anna, 10, and Nevan, 4, were dressed up in the regalia of the town’s mid-19th Century heyday. McIlwee, spinning her homemade parasol, said each Victorian-era costume takes up to 20 hours to make.

“It’s a labor of love, and to be able to bring back this era and talk about it, sharing the history, is great,” she said.

McIlwee is a member of the Virginia City Living Legends, a group dedicated to portraying real people from the town’s gilded era.

“What better way to learn about the past than at a parade?” she said.

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at or 881-1219.