On Friday, October 29, 2005 many young people in Carson City, Nevada donned costumes. A few may have chosen on that day to try-on their intended Halloween costume. The majority of those young people, however, had joined the many adults who were preparing to march in the annual Nevada Day parade.
Nevada Day celebrates the date of October 31, 1864, the day when Nevada became the 36th state to join the union of states known as the United States. For many decades the citizens of Nevada celebrated Nevada Day on October 31st. Beginning in the late 1990s, however, the residents of Nevada realized that Nevada Day is a great excuse for an extra three-day holiday. Therefore, the citizens of Nevada voted to celebrate Nevada Day on the last Friday in October.
While the vote in favor of this change took place on November 3, 1998, the actual placement of Nevada Day on the last Friday of the official state calendar did not occur until October of 2000. Ever since October of 2000 Nevada Day is celebrated throughout Nevada on the final Friday in the tenth month of the year. The Nevada Day parade then takes place on the following Saturday.
The other events of the annual three-day weekend can occur at any time during those three days. And there are many interesting events taking place that weekend. Some of the events occur, like the parade, on the ground. There is a tour of historic homes in the area, a masked ball called the 1864 Grand Ball and a longest beard contest.
Other Nevada Day-related events take place in the air. At one point during the three-day weekend a large number of hot air balloons lift-off from a flat and unobstructed region of Carson City. At another point during those same three days the residents of Carson City look into the sky to watch the flyover by an Army or a Navy jet.
One wonders what Abraham Lincoln would think of the present-day Nevada Day celebration. President Lincoln initiated the celebration when he announced the fact that Nevada would be the nation's 36th state. He made the announcement in a telegram, a telegram that reached a world-record length. In fact, now that the Western Union has chosen to discontinue the sending of telegrams, the length of Lincoln's telegram will never be surpassed.
No doubt an Abraham Lincoln at a present-day Nevada Day celebration would be astounded at the sight and sound of a roaring military jet. He would probably want to rush somewhere and send another telegram. Then he would be surprised to learn that he needed to send an e-mail instead of a telegram.
Still, many of the events of the weekend serve as a reminder of what life was like back on October 31, 1864. Many of the events would be familiar to a returning President Lincoln. He would no doubt enjoy watching the longest beard contest. He might even enjoy the many young women at the 1864 Grand Ball. He would probably marvel at how different the hot air balloons of the present-day Nevada Day are from the balloons that existed more than 140 years ago, before there ever was a state of Nevada, or a Nevada Day.