Nevada celebrates birthday under a blue and silver sky |

Nevada celebrates birthday under a blue and silver sky

by Kurt Hildebrand

More than 20,000 people watched Saturday’s annual Nevada Day Parade under a sky of silver and blue.

Gary Pepke was at the parade with his family.

“It is awesome that this parade is a salute to veterans,” he said.

Pepke’s daughter Hannah played the saxophone in the Eagle Valley Middle School Marching band.

“It was great,” said the 12-year-old.

Jacquie Moore and Mary Jean Lang watched the parade from chairs they set up on the Legislative Building lawn.

They had been working at the Nevada Department of Education and decided to watch the parade, Moore said.

“We were both teachers, so we love to see the bands and I like to watch the horses,” said Moore who has lived in Carson City for five years.

Lang has lived in Carson City since 1970 and said she took a break from the parade for five years, but was glad to be there.

“It’s wonderful to be back,” she said. “This is the best parade of the year.”

Joseph Reno of Reno proposed to Jennifer Henderson of Henderson after Reno jumped off the Kiwanis Club of Carson City’s “Salute to Veterans” float in combat uniform and was handed a microphone. She said “yes,” and they shared a kiss on the reviewing stand while dozens of bystanders cheered.

Anyone who missed Friday’s snow storm could get a reenactment thanks to the trees in the Capitol Complex which were dripping wet from the night’s storm.

However, an antidote could be found at the Carson Nugget where Gov. Kenny Guinn and State Treasurer Brian Krolicki were hosting their annual chili feed.

Guinn was gathering empty drink cups on his way up to the line for a bowl of chili. It had been a busy couple of days for the governor. After hosting trick or treat until 9:30 p.m. Friday night, he and Dema were up at 7 a.m. for the pancake breakfast and then they had to get to the parade to ride a armored personnel carrier.

“This is a great day for us to come together as Nevadans,” he said.

Carson City’s Tom Baker played banjo in the blue grass band at the Chili Feed and served as master of ceremonies.

“You couldn’t ask for a better day for a parade,” he said.

Capitol Police Chief Brad Valladon said he’s worked most Nevada Day Parades since he came to Carson in 1988.

“This is a great family event and the crowd has been very well-behaved,” he said.

Valladon judged the crowd as medium sized for a Nevada Day turnout.

“It’s not a small crowd by any means,” he said.

Nevada Day Board President Ron Bowman celebrated a successful parade at the Brewery Arts Center on Saturday afternoon.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “There were a few hitches getting the line-up going, but the weather turned out absolutely beautiful.”

Bowman said only six of the nearly 200 entries pulled out because of the weather, but that organizers lost the parade judges because they couldn’t make it over the Sierra in Friday’s storm.

“One of the judges came from Sparks and by 7 a.m. we started from scratch,” he said. “We had the new judges trained and judging the parade by 10 a.m.”

Bowman thanked the Marines of Pickel Meadows Mountain Training Warfare Center for their help. They provided the escort for grand marshal Richard Sorenson.

Capt. Ron McKimmey of the Nevada National Guard was in charge of the French 75 mm howitzer that started the parade, which runs a mile down Carson Street from William to Stewart.

While the hot air balloon launch didn’t get off the ground, Bowman said two F-18 Hornets from Fallon Naval Air Station flew along the parade route on time. They were followed by a C-130 and then a P-51 Mustang and B-25 Mitchell then a Black Hawk helicopter leading off the parade.

Bowman said the parade wrapped up at 1:15 p.m.

“It stayed nice and even with not many gaps in it,” he said.