Nevada Day Celebration

2014 Theme is "Happy 150th Birthday Nevada"

Nevada Day Parade in Carson City.
••• Nevada Day Parade in Carson City. Photo courtesy Nevada Day

What is Nevada Day?

The Nevada Day holiday is our annual event celebrating Nevada's admission to the union as the 36th state on October 31, 1864. Nevada Day as an admission day state holiday is only replicated in two other states - Hawaii and West Virginia. Most state and local government offices in Nevada are closed on the last Friday in October, giving residents an extra holiday during the year.

Nevada Day in 2014 celebrates the 150th anniversary of Nevada statehood (the Sesquicentennial).

Events and activities have been going on all across Nevada throughout the year. The culmination will be five days of events in Carson City revolving around Nevada Day, starting with the Governor's Banquet on Tuesday, October 28 and culminating with the big Nevada Day parade on Saturday, November 1. Check out the list of Nevada Day events and you'll find a wide variety of fun and entertainment for everyone.

The official holiday for state and local governments for Nevada Day 2014 is Friday, October 31, which happens to be the actual date of statehood and is also Halloween. Offices, courts, and libraries will be closed.

Nevada Day Celebration in Carson City

The Nevada Day Celebration is appropriately centered in Carson City, Nevada's first and only capital city. Various Nevada Day 2014 events will be happening through the weekend. In addition to the annual Nevada Day Parade on Saturday, other attractions include the annual chili feed, a beard contest, cemetery tour, golf tournament, Governor's Mansion tour, pancake breakfast, steam trains at the Nevada Railroad Museum, pinewood derby, and the RSVP Nevada Day Fair held at Mills Park.

Here is a complete list of Nevada Day 2014 events...

  • Annual Chili Feed
  • Beard Contest
  • Carson City Symphony
  • Classic Run/Walk
  • FamFest
  • Ghost Walk
  • Governor's Mansion Tour
  • Governor's Banquet
  • Historical East Side Tour
  • Nevada Day Pow Wow
  • Nevada State Museum
  • Nevada Day Parade
  • Nevada Day Treasure Hunt
  • NV150 Market Place
  • Pancake Breakfast
  • Pow Wow
  • Pinewood Derby
  • Free Local Concerts
  • ReMax/Nevada Day Balloon Launch
  • World Championship Rock Drilling Contest
  • RSVP Nevada Day Fair
  • Steampunk Ball
  • Telegraph Square Block Party
  • McKeen Motor Car at the Nevada State Railroad Museum


Nevada Day Parade

The biggest event is the Nevada Day Parade on Saturday, November 1, 2014, running down Carson Street from William Street on the north to Stewart Street on the south. Parade activities begin with a hot air balloon launch at 8 a.m. (weather permitting), followed by military aircraft flyovers from Fallon Naval Air Station and the Nevada Air Guard. The parade itself goes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The theme for the 2014 Nevada Day Parade is Happy 150th Birthday Nevada!. The Grand Marshal will be Kay Winters, long time community leader and volunteer. (Carson Street is the main drag through downtown Carson City.)

Nevada Day at Nevada State Museums

Two of Nevada's state museums will be open at least part of the Nevada Day weekend. They include the Nevada State Museum (housed in the old Carson City Mint, 600 N. Carson Street) and the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

The Nevada State Railroad Museum will be having special rides on its rare McKeen Motor Car during Nevada Day weekend.

Admission to the Museum and exhibits will be free on October 31 and November 1, but you'll have to buy a ticket to ride the McKeen. The Railroad Museum is located at 2180 South Carson Street, not far south of the Nevada Day parade route in downtown Carson City.

Admission to the Nevada State Museum will be free on Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1.

In Reno, the Nevada Historical Society museum will be closed on both Friday (Nevada Day, October 31) and Saturday, November 1 (UNR home football game).

Nevada Day Governor's Banquet

Starting the Nevada Day activities is the Governor's Banquet, to be held at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno on Tuesday, October 28. Hosted by Governor Brian Sandoval, the banquet will feature special guest speakers, silent auction, raffle, a Nevada birthday cake cutting ceremony, and live entertainment.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nevada. Tickets are $60 per person and $500 for a table of 10. Tickets can be purchased online. There will be a no-host bar starting at 6 p.m., with dinner starting at 7 p.m. The banquet is for those 14 and older and attire is semi-formal. For more information, call (775) 882-2600.

History of Nevada Day

The first Nevada Day Parade as an official state holiday commemorating Nevada's admission to the union was in 1938, but this wasn't the first event marking the admission date. Newspaper accounts and diary entries by various residents tell of earlier celebrations. The Pacific Coast Pioneer Society appears to have held various parties, including one in 1889 for the 25th anniversary of Nevada's statehood.

Governor Roswell Colcord made October 31 a judicial holiday in 1891, an Admission Day on which no court business was to be transacted. Virginia City and Reno had parades, but apparently no other towns observed the day with official festivities. After numerous interim celebrations, including a parade in Reno in 1914 for Nevada's 50th statehood anniversary and a big celebration in Carson City in 1938, Nevada Day became an official state holiday in 1939 with the passage of legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Peter A. Amodei. At that time, Carson City was specified as the place for the parade and other events surrounding the annual holiday. Except for three years during WWII, Nevada Day has been held in Carson City every year and has become one of Nevada's biggest celebrations.

Starting in 2000, the Nevada State Legislature designated Nevada Day as falling on the last Friday in October, with the parade on the following Saturday.

Why Did Nevada Become a State?

According to former Nevada State Archivist Guy Rocha, the commonly held notion that it was because of our mineral wealth and the need to support the Union during the Civil War is mostly a myth. The real reason was politics - President Lincoln's desire to get re-elected and the need for support to implement programs for rebuilding the Union after the war. Get the rest of the story from Rocha's article, "Why Did Nevada Become a State?".

Source: Nevada Day website.