Nevada City celebrates 50th anniversary of Constitution Day Parade |

Nevada City celebrates 50th anniversary of Constitution Day Parade

Members of the Delaware Regiment of the Brigade of the American Revolution will be offering living history demonstrations of Revolutionary War soldiers and colonial life living history on Saturday and Sunday.
Submitted Photo |


Schedule of weekend events:

Saturday, Sept.10

What: Revolutionary War Days Living History (Free)

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Pioneer Park, Nevada City

What: Sidewalk Sale

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Historic Downtown Nevada City

What: Photo Exhibit in City Hall: 50 Years of Constitution Day Parades (Free)

Where: Nevada City City Hall

What: Open Air Downtown Concert by Nevada County Concert Band (Free)

When: 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Where: Pine Street, Downtown Nevada City

What: Presidential Fashion Show: White House fashions through the years modeled by the Famous Marching Presidents and First Ladies of Nevada City (Free)

When: 5:30 p.m,

Where: Pine Street, Downtown Nevada City

Sunday, Sept.11

What: Revolutionary War Days Living History (Free)

When: 10 a.m. to noon

Where: Pioneer Park, Nevada City

What: Photo Exhibit in City Hall (Free)

Where: Nevada City City Hall

What: Flagpole Dedication (Free)

When: 12:30 p.m.

Where: Nevada Lodge No.13, F.&A.M.,

What: Signing of the U.S. Constitution Reenactment (Free)

When: 1:30 p.m.

Where: Broad and Pine streets,

What: 50th Annual Nevada City Constitution Day Parade

With Special Guest Nevada City’s own Alexander Rossi, winner of the 2016 Indianapolis 500 (Free)

When: 2 p.m.

Where: Broad Street, Historic Downtown Nevada City

What: 25th Annual 49er Rotary Gold Country Duck Race

Where: Downtown Nevada City; Deer Creek

When: Carnival from 1 p.m., Racing begins at 2:30 p.m.

Admission Free, Adopt a Racing Duck $5,

Fifty years ago, a unique event started in Nevada City that has since evolved into an annual tradition fitting of the history-rich town.

“There aren’t many communities in the U.S. that have been able to successfully put on a Constitution Day celebration, let alone have one that has survived this long,” said Nevada City Constitution Day Committee Chairman Sean Metroka. “There are very few nationwide, but ours is certainly among the oldest, and so we are proud of that.

“We think it is something worth celebrating, and worth keeping fresh in the minds of the members of our community.”

Nevada City will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Constitution Day Parade Sunday with an expanded cavalcade of more than 80 entries, and the return of its hometown hero Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 champion.

The parade will roll down Broad Street at 2 p.m., serving as the climax of a weekend of family activities, that include a Revolutionary War reenactment, a presidential fashion show, a free outdoor concert, and a duck race.

The observance of Constitution Day, first started in 1967, was the brainchild of the late Col. Bill Lambert, a two-time Worshipful Master of Nevada City Masonic Lodge No. 13, who wanted to recognize the importance of the Constitution as the cornerstone for a truly democratic nation.

“It certainly developed over time,” Metroka said. “But very early on, it was focused on community awareness of the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, and trying to get people to think about our nation and its foundation during that weekend.”

Lambert approached then City Manager Beryl Robinson, also a member of the Nevada City Masonic Lodge. The two gentlemen put their heads together and started the Constitution Day parade.

What commenced as a single-day observance eventually expanded into a weekend of colorful activities put together by various organizations and residents.

The responsibility of arranging the parade was eventually transferred to a Constitution Day Committee, a group made up of representatives from different sectors of the community, including the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, City of Nevada City, Nevada City Masonic Lodge No. 13, as well as members of school districts and organizers of the weekend activities.

But certain things have remained unchanged.

“Because of the Masons’ long-standing support of public schools, we also had the schools involved in the parade from the beginning,” Metroka said.

He said organizers actively solicit the participation of local schools in the annual celebration, which this year will feature performances by bands, cheerleaders, and fall sport team members.

A reenactment of the signing of the Constitution has also been a consistent element of the celebration.

The reenactment of the historical moment, portrayed by members of Nevada City Masonic Lodge dressed in Colonial costumes, takes place at Broad and Pine streets at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, right before the parade. Another prominent part of the parade is the Famous Marching Presidents of Nevada City. This unique performance, featuring a group of residents dressed as the presidents and first ladies of the United States, was created 29 years ago by David Parker, a local artist and current member of Nevada City’s City Council.

Parker said a special theme this year is the celebration of the last eight years of President Obama’s tenure in office.

The group will also partner up with Nevada County Concert Band in a White House fashion show that takes place at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on Pine Street.

“This is the 50th anniversary, so we thought we would do something very special,” Parker said.

Cathy Whittlesey, executive director of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, said the underlying message of the parade is honoring the freedom that Americans enjoy.

“I think it’s just acknowledging our freedom, and celebrating that we live in a country that we can say these things, we are not governed by the ones that tell you, ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that,’” Whittlesey said.

She anticipates a larger crowd at the parade this year, particularly due to the Rossi’s return to his hometown.

“We are happy that (the Constitution Day parade) has survived for 50 years,” Metroka said, “and looks to be viable for the near future, or for the foreseeable future.”

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please email, or call 530-477-4236.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User