Native Nevadan to lead town parade |

Native Nevadan to lead town parade

F.T. Norton

Born and raised in Northern Nevada, Nevada Department of Wildlife Spokesman Chris Healy said he’s always been a fan of Nevada Day, especially since as a child, it meant he had Halloween off.

So when Nevada Day Parade organizers asked Healy, 55, to be grand marshal for this year’s parade, which has the theme “The Great Outdoors,” he was thrilled by the honor.

“I remember the first Nevada Day parade I ever went to was the one celebrating our centennial. That was in 1964, and I was a mere 8 years old,” he said.

Healy, a graduate of Bishop Manogue Catholic High School and the University of Nevada, Reno, used his broadcast journalism degree to land his first job, as a sport broadcaster for KTVN-TV Channel 2 in Reno.

When he was laid off after six years during a changing of the guard at the station, he heard about a position with the Nevada Department of Wildlife and took a chance. That bet 26 years ago paid off, and for more than two decades, Healy’s has been the voice of NDOW, assisting with the distribution of the syndicated radio program “The Wildside of Life” and with production, since 1997, of the Thursday morning NDOW Wildlife Segment on KOLO-TV Channel 8.

In addition to his duties at NDOW, Healy is known in Carson City as a high school baseball umpire.

The 73rd annual Nevada Day Parade is Saturday and will last more than two hours. This year, there are about 180 entries.

The parade kicks off with an 8 a.m. hot-air balloon launch on Carson Street (weather permitting), followed closely by a 10 a.m. flyover of military craft from Fallon Naval Air Station and the Nevada Air Guard.

The parade features floats, marching bands and a variety of entertainment. The parade route begins at the intersection of William and Carson streets and ends at the intersection of Stewart and Carson streets. The main street will be shut down for more than five hours.

Healy said he’s looking forward to his turn as the grand marshal for a parade he fondly remembers from his youth, and a state he’s loved his entire life – even if it means he’s getting ribbed by his friends.

“You can imagine what people are saying,” he said with a hearty Healy chuckle. “I have a lot of people getting a good laugh out of it. I just hope it doesn’t turn into the La Tomitina,” he added, referring to a tomato-fight festival in Spain.