Nevada Day Parade delights thousands

As the distant sirens of the police cars announced the start of the parade, 7-year-old Chris Carlevato waved his sucker in the air, yelling, "Happy birthday, Nevada!"

His mother, Carmen Carlevato, brought her four children to watch Carson City's annual Nevada Day parade.

"We just moved here from Tucson, Arizona," she said. "This is our first time to go to the parade and we heard it was really good."

Chris, who attends Fritsch Elementary, said he learned it was Nevada's birthday at school.

The 59th Nevada Day parade on Saturday featured 210 entries, 32 fewer than last year and ran about an hour shorter than last year's four hours.

Applause erupted as Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Reno, rode by with a sign reading, "If you love Nevada, clap your hands."

Nevada lovers crowded along Carson Street from the parade's starting point at William Street to the finish point at Stewart Street to watch local bands, horses, floats and an array of other displays.

Danny Villarreal, 12, saw the Ronnie Johnson's Family of Clowns wagon under construction in the parking lot of his apartment complex.

He was especially impressed by the clown riding a unicycle about 8 feet high.

"Now that's just talent," Danny said.

Old favorites were also featured.

"That's the best," said Jean Smith, of Carson City, as a dog driving a car went by. "I don't care about the floats, that is really the best. It's just so cool."

It wasn't just the parade entries that were cool.

"It's pretty freezing," said Merry Jacques, who came to the parade with her husband, Michael. "Unless the sun comes out, we'll probably go home."

However, the temperature in the low 50s did not deter other parade goers.

"The weather is great," said Renee Jorgensen. "It's Nevada - wait five minutes and it'll change."

But then, Jorgensen, who was raised in the army, is partial to Carson City.

"I've lived all over the world and this is the only place I'll stay for the rest of my life," she said.

Tim Gott, a Carson City resident for four months, found the perfect way to beat the autumn chill but still enjoy the parade.

He, and crowds of others, watched from inside the Carson Nugget.

"It's too chilly out there," he said.

While some came to watch the entire production, some came just to see friends or family members featured in the parade.

Andy Zamarripa, 12, of Eagle Valley Middle School watched as fellow classmates marched by in the school's band.

"It's cool," he said. "It represents all of us that go to Eagle Valley."

The Pearl Harbor survivors were represented with a float which also displayed a banner that read, "Remember the USS Cole."

U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., served as grand marshal of this year's parade with the theme, "Pioneering the new millennium." Bryan, who has participated in the parade for 22 years, is not seeking re-election.

Despite warnings from parade officials that no politicking would be allowed in the parade, John Ensign balloons were distributed as a participant shouted out, "vote Republican."


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