Nevada Day revisited: 1961 & 1968
Editor’s Note: This continues a series featuring the Appeal’s coverage of past Nevada Days.
Reprinted from the Nov. 1, 1968, Nevada Appeal:
Some 40,000 visitors and local residents turned out yesterday to watch the mile-long, 200-plus Nevada Day, parade commemorating this state’s 104th birthday.
Pretty girls, bands by the dozen, some of the West’s finest horseflesh, ornate floats, marching groups, riding politicians, the inimitable Sade and the 20-30 Club replete with shovels, passed in review under partly overcast skies.
The floats ranged in time and vision from the space age of today and tomorrow back to the pre-historic Cecil, the monster out of Hawthorne.
A beard contest, gymkhana, art show, auto races and numerous political and religious open houses were included in the day’s festivities.
The politicians turned out in full strength, either on the reviewing stand (Gov. Laxalt and family), in the crowed (all of our local candidates) or in the parade itself (the Nevada congressional delegation, Lt. Gov. Ed Fike, the three Supreme Court justices up for re-election). Curb side sights and sounds of the Nevada Day parade:
The sun’s brightness flattened and diffused by the overcast; folding chairs and blankets along the street’s edge, motorcycle patrolmen making test runs down Carson, marchers fortifying themselves with beer against …
A little boy buying a green-handled dagger … another little boy, with sounder instincts, chasing a little girl.
Balloon salesmen jockeying for position, belittling each other’s products. (Fifty cents for THAT?”)
A young man confiding to a young woman: “My wife doesn’t understand me.”
(Flag approaches) An elderly man torn between the urge to photograph it and his duty to remove his hat. Posterity yields to patriotism. Off comes the hat … crash goes the camera.
Miss Nevada, schooled, handsome, waving a braceleted, gloved hand at the crowd. (What’s Miss Nevada doing in a car with California plates?)
Polite applause for Senators Bible and Cannon but a real gut response to Congressman Baring.
Sade Grant high kicking like a colt in clover.
Stewart Indian School float bearing a peace symbol.
The Carson Nugget float: lots of leg, lots of teeth, and lots of girls attached to them. Cecil the Sea Serpent lunging at spectators, his fanged mouth big enough to swallow the national debt.
Rifle butts slamming against the pavement, the snap of bolts, and crispy enunciated commands. (What will parade officials find to substitute when the world disarms?)
A majorette limping to the sidelines, holding a white boot in her hand, pain evident on her face.
Crowds finally drifting off, their senses distended like the bellies of kids who have had too much cotton candy.
A state, feeding upon the cadaver of its past, and, perhaps, a little better off for having done so.