Tradition of fun: Onlookers ‘sit back’ and ‘enjoy’ parade
People who love a parade were out in force for the Nevada Day rendition Saturday.“It’s fun to come to a big parade like this and still see a lot of people you know,” said Jennifer Bobo of Carson City. Bobo set up camp with mother and son on Carson Street near City Hall. “I know a lot of people in the parade,” said Ryan, her 12-year-old son. Carol Anderson, mom and grandmother to the pair, said it was only her second parade and the weather was better than the previous one she attended.She just moved to Carson City last March from Southern California; her daughter and grandson moved here five years ago. The tradition is to come every year, something many in the crowd said.Anderson said what she likes about Nevada and the parade is the pro-military bias shown by many.Ryan, a boy scout, didn’t disagree but had something else in mind. He was looking forward to once again seeing the “Controlled Burn” entry that belches fire and smoke as it travels down the Carson Street parade route.To the south, across the from the empty Ormsby House and just south of the Legislative Building, was a contingent of truly traditional parade enthusiasts.Kiyoshi and Bonnie Nishikawa were on hand, along with sons and friends, watching everything from politicians to military hardware and floats float by. Kiyoshi is a former Carson City clerk-recorder and Bonnie is a Carson resident for 70 of the past 75 years.She came to the community when she was five and it had a population of around 2,000, she said. Asked how many Nevada Day parades she has seen, she replied, “Sixty, maybe. It’s traditional with me and my family.”Her son, Ken Wright, said he was born in 1961 and has missed only one parade since birth. The retired law enforcement man said even when he worked in Las Vegas, he would get back for the parade.Tom and Mary Aufrance of Carson City ran in the Nevada Day Classic Fun Run and Walk that ended near the Carson Nugget, a trek put on by Tahoe Mountain Milers to benefit Special Olympics. Tom stood out in the crisp, coolness; he ran the race in a Scottish kilt.Before the parade began, dozens of hot air balloons along with flyovers by planes and helicopters delighted the crowd as people streamed to the edge of Carson Street to get the best view.Among the airborne were a KC 130 plane, a World War II era P51 Mustang and a Bearcat, as well as Huey and Cobra helicopters.Among those hovering over downtown buildings in balloons was Orville Choate of Nevada City, Calif., who was disappointed because his hovering came to a safe but early end. He inadvertently got a rip in his balloon as he came down and tried to avoid a truck in the U.S. Bank parking lot just east of the parade route, instead scraping a pole light nearby. “This is our second year,” said his wife, Bo, as they held down the balloon basket and laid the balloon on its side in the parking lot. They said they hoped to return for the parade next year.To the north at a staging area, awaiting their turns in the parade as it got underway were the Carson High Blue Thunder Marching Band.With the band were Carson High freshmen Bridgette McKnight and Amanda Yau, who looked forward to their roles. “Very exciting,” said Bridgette, acknowledging it was her first time to march in the parade. Amanda said she was in it with her middle school color guard a few years ago when she was in sixth grade.Even after the parade began, people kept coming to set up the camping chairs and catch the passing units. Among them were Mike and Laura Smith of Carson City, along with Laura’s brother Greig Pilotte of Elko. They set up just north of Firkin & Fox in the street.“There’s a lot of people, which is cool,” said Mike. “The more the merrier.”Indeed there were plenty of people along the parade route, some who came late but many who got choice spots earlier.Sean Potter was in the street between Cactus Jack’s and the Carson Nugget parking lot on the west side of Carson Street, his Chevy King Cab Z71 with the truck bed facing Carson and two lawn chairs in the bed. The 29-year-old Carson City native said it was his fourth year in the solid spot and he looked forward to using the same location in years to come, which means he must come down quite early.“I’m going to try to keep it for the next 30 (years),” he said.And some came down early to watch the balloons blown up for their trip into the sky.Ray Frederick of Carson City said in former years he has helped stage and run the parade, but he was enjoying his chance to relax and watch the balloons set up.“You know it’s kind of nice to sit back and just enjoy,” he said.