Nevada Day Celebration
When is Nevada Day?
Every October, Nevadans turn their attention to the state capital, home of the “official” Nevada Day Parade. Since 1938, the Nevada Day Parade in Carson City has annually invited Silver State residents and those Battle Born at heart to come together on our state holiday and celebrate the founding of this great state on October 31, 1864.
Nevada was the 36th state admitted to the United States, and one of only two states admitted during the Civil War—hence our nickname as the “Battle Born State.” Now, the entire state celebrates the statehood anniversary, turning the last Friday of every October into a Nevada Day holiday. And if you thought Texans had pride, wait until you see the party that engulfs Nevada’s state capital for the biggest and best state birthday bash in the nation. From live bands and block parties, chili feeds to fire-blasting art cars, and beard contests to mining championships—plus one of the largest and longest parades in the country— get in on all kinds of only-in-Nevada festivities that celebrate the Silver State’s distinct heritage.
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Nevada Day Weekend Festivities
Nevada Day begins with an early morning pancake breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion and a breakfast buffet at Red’s Old 395 Grill. Hot air balloons take to the skies right from downtown Carson City (weather permitting), and athletes of all skill levels partake in the 8K run or 2-mile walk/run known as the Nevada Day Classic. A military flyover signals the official state of the parade, which usually begins at William and N. Carson Streets around 10:00 AM. More than 200 entries—including floats, marching bands, equestrian groups, art cars from Burning Man, historical displays, and more—roll past thousands of cheering spectators.
The celebratory events keep coming while the parade marches on. During the World Championship Single Jack Rock Drilling Contest, competitors use only a hammer and a steel bit to hand drill the deepest hole as fast as they can into a piece of granite, honoring a mining technique from the 19th century (although today’s contestants don’t place a stick of dynamite in the hole afterward). There’s also a chili feed, an arts and crafts festival, and special events and demonstrations at the Nevada State Museum, Nevada State Railroad Museum, and Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum.
After the parade, feast your eyes on some of the most magnificent facial hair you’ll ever see. The Beard Contest is free to enter and open to anyone with a beard, and awards are given for longest, fullest, reddest, whitest, blackest, scruffiest, best groomed, most bearded community, and best overall winner. Round out the day with free concerts and a tour of the Governor’s Mansion.
If one day isn’t enough, the Nevada Day Powwow takes place October 27-29 at the Robert Crowell Multipurpose Athletic Center. Everyone is welcome at this celebration of Native American dancing, singing, and drumming. Lots of food and craft vendors will be there, and you’ll need to fuel up for multiple tournaments, including corn hole, horseshoe, and more.
Check out Visit Carson City for a schedule of Nevada Day weekend events!