’s Halloween Countdown: Nevada Day

From the mega parties, over-the-top costumes and general we’ll-party-until-you-pry-the-candy-bag-from-our-clenched-fist attitude, you can tell we really love Halloween here in Las Vegas.

We love it so much that we take the whole day off to celebrate. Yep, that’s right, Oct. 31 is a state holiday in Nevada with schools, banks, and government offices closed. That’s commitment. What, you don’t get a holiday for Halloween? Suckers.

Truthfully, Nevada doesn’t get a state holiday for Halloween either. We’re so wacky or maybe its lucky, Nevada scored the ultimate party day for being admitted into the union of the United States of America – Oct. 31, 1841. On that date, Nevada became the 36th state and we’ve been celebrating Nevada Day ever since.

Every year sees a double party in Nevada between Halloween and history as we celebrate statehood and the right to eat sugar until you need dialysis. But this year, it’s an extra special day. Nevada is celebrating its 150th birthday. It’s Sesquicentennial. Yeah, try saying that after a couple of martinis. So mixed in with all our Halloween craziness, we’ve gone hog-wild for history celebrations.

Nevadaween takes place on Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old Mormon Fort State Historic Park. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Fort.


When: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Oct. 25, 2014
Where: Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort  State Historic Park
Cost: $1 per person, children under 12 are free.

The ultimate Nevada Day / Halloween mash-up, Nevadaween combines Halloween festivities and history at the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park. There are children’s activities, historic pioneer games, cookie decorating and pumpkin painting. Plus enjoy Native American fry bread. At 10 a.m. there is a costume contest; 11 a.m. a soup cook-off; leading up to…

The Re-Enactment of the Helen J. Stewart Land Deed

When: Noon, Oct. 25, 2014
Where: Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park
Cost: $1 per person, children under 12 are free.

Friends of the Fort, the nonprofit group that helps run the fort as well as raise awareness of its history, have joined with the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe to recognize an historic event in Las Vegas history. On December 30, 1911, Helen J. Stewart deeded 10 acres of her land to the United States of America for use by the Southern Paiutes. Current dignitaries will re-enact the event.

Old Nevada Days at Tule Springs

When: All day Oct. 31, 2014
Where: Tule Springs at Floyd Lamb State Park
Cost: $1 per person, children under 12 are free.

Escape Las Vegas and head back in time for Old Nevada Days at Tule Springs. Visitors are encouraged to wear costumes depicting the state’s history over the past 150 years or western attire. There will be ranch and harvest festival activities plus Trunk or Treat for children.

Parade in downtown Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Sun.

Las Vegas Nevada Day Parade

When: 10 a.m., Oct. 31, 2014
Where: Downtown Las Vegas along 4th Street
Cost: Free

For More than 80 years, Nevada’s capital Carson City has laid claim to the biggest Nevada Day celebration with its annual parade. This year Las Vegas gets into the games with the first Las Vegas Nevada Day Parade. With 150 entries including floats, equestrian exhibitions, marching bands and more, the parade is expected to last two hours and be a celebration to rival our northern Nevada brothers and sisters.

An interpretation of the Fremont Street Experience is seen during a tour of former Lt. Gov. Lonnie Hammargren’s home. Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Sun.

Hammargren Home of Nevada History

When: Noon to 5 p.m., Nov. 1 – 2, 2014
Where: 4318 Ridgecrest Dr., Las Vegas, NV, 89121
Cost: Suggested $15 donation per person, kids 12 and under are free.

You truly cannot be considered a Las Vegan unless you have explored the kitsch-wonderland that is the home of Dr. (former Nevada Lt. Governor) Lonnie Hammargren. Filled to the rafters (and exploding out from them), the house is packed with objects from across Nevada – signs from closed casinos, a functioning railroad, even pieces from the roller coaster that used to sit atop the Stratosphere.  Each year on or near Nevada Day, Hammargren opens up his house for tours. This is the 19th year he has offered the tour and is reputed to be the last year. We hope not. Hammargren’s house is one of those only-in-Vegas things that define our city. This home is in a private neighborhood so be respectful of the neighbors and don’t block access to other homes when you park.

23rd Annual Southern Paiute Veterans Pow-Wow

When: All day, Nov. 1 – 2, 2014
Where: Moapa Travel Center at Interstate 15 Exit 75, Moapa, NV

Las Vegas and Nevada’s history didn’t start with casinos. Long before gamblers were rolling dice on Fremont Street, the Paiute tribe lived in the Las Vegas Valley. Each year the Southern Paiute Veterans Association honors the Native American veterans at the 23rd Southern Paiute Veterans Pow-Wow. The Pow-Wow includes all nine Paiute Bands Veterans from Southern Nevada, Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.

During Civil War Days in the Battle Born State, a Civil War reenactment, Don Ancell from California, portraying President Abraham Lincoln, surveys the Union troops at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Sun.

Civil War Days in the Battle Born State

When: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2014; 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Nov. 2, 2014
Where: Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
Cost: $9 per car

Nevada’s nickname “Battle Born” comes alive when 300 re-enactors take the field at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. Nevada was one of only two states (the other being West Virginia) to enter the Union during the Civil War. Activities include battles, a period baseball game, Civil War fashion show, speech by President Lincoln and much more. The event is organized by the Southern Nevada Living History Association (SNLHA).


I'm one of a rare breed of folks, a native Las Vegan. That's Las Vegan, not Vegan. Being born in Las Vegas has endowed me with crazy Vegas skills - must be all the exposure to neon. I'm a human casino GPS, celebrity locator (You never know who you'll meet in a casino elevator, right Richard Branson?) and tip calculator. My mom taught me probability and statistics with decommissioned casino dice. When I walk through a hotel, tourists think I work there. Maybe it's my smile, my purposeful walk or my friendly answers. Maybe it's just the black suit. But whatever the reason, gives me the chance to exercise my Vegas super powers every day. Now if I could just predict when Megabucks would hit... You can find me on Google+ and Twitter.