Carson Conversation: Tradition remains strong even as Carson grows (Voices)

Ronni Hannaman is executive director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.

Ronni Hannaman is executive director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce. Courtesy Photo

Carson City is a community that respects its traditions in the truest sense of the definition.

Community is defined as, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals,” and tradition is “the passing down of customs from generation to generation.”

Although Carson City has experienced its share of ups and downs over these many years, it still has a strong sense of place and retains the small town feel so welcome by current residents, future residents and businesses choosing to relocate here after scouting out the region.

As we hear from those who seek relocation information and have driven through our city, they sense the strength of our community commenting, “everyone is so friendly,” and the “town is so lovely.” Locals have always been a friendly sort, but the city hasn’t always been so “lovely.”

As a city where 80 percent of the land is non-taxable, it’s been a challenge to improve the city to elicit this sort of unsolicited praise. Our elected officials have learned how to make local, federal and state dollars stretch, allowing residents to be proud of their city as others take a first and second look whether to reside or to do business here.

But, then, our local elected officials have vested lifetimes here. Three of our five Board of Supervisors are Carson High School graduates, and this includes Mayor Lori Bagwell. The other two are long-time residents with a long history of commitment. The local sheriff graduated from Carson High as well, and when his commitment to the U.S. Air Force ended, he returned to his birth city and today makes sure there’s not a stroke of graffiti in sight, and any gang action remains constrained.

While some communities continue to lament that young high school graduates leave for greener pastures, it seems even after the siren call of the University of Nevada, Reno, many return following graduation to work in government, start businesses or find suitable employment in manufacturing, engineering firms and the like.

Yes, although some of our youth enjoy the Reno vibe from their UNR experience, a number do return to raise families in this very family friendly community. Reno, after all, is just up the road, and since the revitalization of our downtown and the building of desirable new homes and upscale apartments, the desire for the hometown feel takes hold.

As we approach the holidays, the sense of tradition and community are even more pronounced. We’ve just finished the awesome Nevada Day Parade where hundreds of families lined Carson Street to profess their allegiance to the city and the state. We’ve been coordinating this amazing parade for 83 years! And, where else can you take kids to trick-or-treat at the Governor’s Mansion — another much anticipated tradition.

On the first Friday after Thanksgiving, the holiday season kicks off with the beloved and much anticipated performance by the city’s fifth-graders singing holiday songs in front of the state capitol as they have since 1988 when this tradition was born.

Even the governor participates by lighting up the capital grounds and the city eliciting the oohs and aahs so deserved as Carson City becomes a Christmas Village. Many a former fifth-grader now with families of their own fondly recall those days when they sang the tunes their children/grandchildren are singing.

Weekly, we realize the strong sense of community when reading our Nevada Appeal, a tradition in itself as the state’s longest running newspaper. Our high schoolers are featured every Saturday allowing us to keep in touch with our children. Nonprofits take care of our kids and receive accolades and support from this home-town newspaper.

As Carson City continues to grow and prosper, the city has not lost its sense of tradition nor its sense of community. Carsonites revere their history and traditions making this a great selling point to companies seeking to relocate where there is a great quality of life to balance the work life.

“Carson Conversation” is a monthly NNBW Voices column authored by Ronni Hannaman, executive director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce. Reach her for comment at


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