Virginia City parade show its colors

VIRGINIA CITY -- Even baby strollers in Virginia City on the Fourth were decked in red white and blue.

Kids waved small U.S. flags in their hands as the annual Fourth of July parade cheerily flowed down C Street. The colors flew from Army jeeps and bright balloons and bows decorated cars in the parade.

People like Kathy Van Nostrand expressed the holiday spirit by dressing in red, white and blue. On her head sat a foot-tall red, white,and blue hat, a gift from her boyfriend. A resident of Virginia City for 4-1/2 years, she works at the Bucket of Blood Saloon and the Senior Center.

Around her wrist was a similarly colored hair scrunchie, and a U.S. scarf was tied around her waist.

"I love Virginia City," she said inside of the Mark Twain Casino. "My father was a veteran. It's a really special day for me. It reminds me of my father."

Behind her, bartender Jon Mullan, a self-described true Irishman, served a full bar of people in town for the parade and fireworks, his American tie standing out among the bustle.

The parade started a little past noon, with the U.S. flag and Nevada state flag following the grand marshal, Virgil Bucchianeri.

As they passed, Samantha Michelle Turner, 5, shared a lime sno-cone with 1-year-old brother Joshua, who was dressed in a red, white and blue shirt. Sitting beside them on the curb was mom, Jacque, who pointed out the veterans as they passed in the parade.

"We are a very patriotic family," she said.

The family usually spends the holiday in Carson City but decided to come up to Virginia City for the parade this year. Their dad was working.

"It tugs a little at the heart strings," she said, speaking about the holiday. "I want to give my daughter respect for the flag and for our country ."

The Free and Accepted Masons, the Mustang Club,and the Kerak Shriners tossed caramels, jawbreakers, and butterscotch candy to the kids.

Both Samantha and Josh collected the candy in a cup. Mom said thank you to the candy-tossers and reminded her children to share candy.

"Josh picked up that concept fast," said his mom.

"Even though we tell our kids never to take candy from strangers," another mom commented.

In fact, people from all over were at the parade.

Cindy and Glenn Conyers from Napa Valley were attending for their fourth year, and also to celebrate 15 years of wedded bliss, said Glenn. The Conyers said they had so much fun last year in Virginia City, they made reservations for this year even before leaving.

"A friend told me they get drunk and set off fireworks, and put the town on fire," said Glenn, explaining why they first visited. He said the first year fireworks started three times.

Cameron Argon, 11, of Huntington Beach, Calif., said he liked the Shriners' cars and the golden retriever driving a car.

Brandon Brady-Martinez, 12, liked the Army trucks and the gunslingers, and his younger sister, Correna, like the Army vehicles, too.

"I thought it was a nice, short parade," said their dad. "It's great they had a parade. It's such a small town, but they have a parade. They always celebrate traditional venues."

Samantha Turner said she liked the blue fire truck.

"All the parts are my favorite," she said.

Several highlights at this year's parade were two children waving from the scoop of a tractor, the tuba casserole comprising of four tuba players, and a Railway Express man spraying water out the window of his car.

Another act consisted of three men. The first carried a sign that read "Mystery drummer, minus band." Second was the mystery drummer, beating the drum, with a bag over his head. Third came another person carrying a sign which read, "Still looking for the band."

After the hour-long parade ended, C-street was filled with people eating ice cream cones, shoppers, and miners for gold.

Bill and Sharon Miller came from Las Vegas because they love Virginia City, and have even flown to Virginia City from when they lived in upstate New York. Visitors since 1990, this was the first time they were able to get five days off and come to Virginia City for the Fourth. Their dog, Sassy, was with them.

"It's such a piece of history," said Bill.

"They're not afraid to be Western," said Sharon.


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