Nevada Day is a state holiday celebrated in Nevada on the last Friday of October annually. The holiday marks Nevada’s admittance to the Union on October 31, 1864 as the 36th state of the United States and its legacy of pioneers on the Nevada frontier.
Nevadans may commemorate their statehood through concerts, balls, historical programs and lectures, ceremonies, and a day off from work and school. The largest Nevada Day celebration takes place in Carson City features:
- A carnival
- Beard contests
- Sporting activities
- Drilling contests
- A Battle of the Bands
Nevada Appeal, a Carson City newspaper, holds a treasure hunt for all of October to commemorate the holiday. Starting on the first Monday of October, the newspaper will post clues on their website every weekday. Most clues relate to Nevada’s history, and so one goal is to encourage learning this history along with the geographical area of Nevada. The treasure will value up to $1000. This hunt has been held since 2000.
Nevada was named after the Spanish phrase, “Sierra Nevada,” which means snowy range. Until Henry Comstock discovered gold in Nevada in 1859, it was not a well-known or popular area to settlers. Intrigued by Comstock’s sudden billion-dollar enterprise, settlers came to Nevada in large numbers in hopes of finding the same riches. Two years after gold was discovered, Nevada became a territory. The state was admitted to the Union on October 31, 1864.
One of the first celebrations took place in 1873 according to one journalist’s diary. In 1889, the Pioneer society celebrated with a banquet. The holiday became official in 1891, designating October 31st as its day of celebration. To avoid celebrating on Sundays, the law was moved to the last Friday of October in 1998.
Nevada fun facts
- Nevada is characterized by its legal gambling and sprawling casinos in Las Vegas.
- There are 1 slot machine in Nevada for every 10 residents.
- Nevada is the site of the Hoover Dam, which was once the tallest concrete dam.
- Nevada is the state with the most mountain ranges.
- Nevada produces the most gold in America and is second in the world in gold production behind South Africa.
- The Washo, Paiute, and Shoshone are native tribes of Nevada.
- Until the 1870s, camels were common pack animals used in Nevada.
- Las Vegas holds the world record for most hotel rooms.
- There is a gambling museum in Virginia City, Nevada.