Nevada City celebrates Constitution Day with 53rd annual parade |

Nevada City celebrates Constitution Day with 53rd annual parade

John Orona
Staff Writer
Prior to the Constitution Day Parade is the re-enactment of the signing of the famous document by the members of the Marching Masons portraying the Founding Fathers.
Elias Funez/


WHAT: Revolutionary War Living History at Pioneer Park

WHEN: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-noon Sunday

WHERE: Pioneer Park, Nevada City

WHAT: Free Outdoor Concert by the Nevada County Concert Band

WHEN: 4:30-6:15 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Pine Street, downtown Nevada City

WHAT: 28th annual 49er Rotary Club Gold Country Duck Race

WHEN: 1 p.m. carnival; 2:30 p.m. racing begins

WHERE: Deer Creek, downtown Nevada City

WHAT: Reenactment of the signing of the U.S. Constitution

WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Broad and Pine streets, downtown Nevada City

WHAT: 54th annual Constitution Day Parade

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Broad Street, downtown Nevada City

Free parking and shuttle service is available from the Nevada County Government Center to Washington Street overpass between noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Think you could be president for a day? This weekend 45 locals will get their chance at the 53rd annual Constitution Day parade in Nevada City.

The parade, starting Sunday at 2 p.m. on Broad Street, will cap off a whole weekend of Constitution-related educational festivities, making it one of the largest Constitution Day observances in the country.

The weekend-long celebration will include free musical performances, a re-enactment of the signing of the Constitution, Revolutionary War demonstrations at Pioneer Park, and the 28th annual Rotary Duck Race all leading up to the parade.

Past celebrations have drawn attendees by the thousands, turning a quiet Sunday in the community into a patriotic party.

What is Constitution Day?

Support Local Journalism

Constitution Day began nationally as a way to celebrate the adoption of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787 and to recognize those who have become U.S. citizens. Nevada City’s celebration of the day dates back to 1967 when it was founded by Col. Willliam H. Lambert.

Since 1988, the parade has featured the Famous Marching Presidents and their First Ladies, giving local residents an opportunity to stroll down the parade route assuming the roles of current and former leaders. The presidential marchers began as an art project idea that David Parker, a Nevada City council member who plays Martin Van Buren, came up with in the middle of the night 30 years ago.

“They really go all out with their costumes and take everything very seriously,” Nevada City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cathy Whittlesey said. “It’s really something to see and it’s all about educating people on the Constitution.”

The marchers try to keep as historically accurate as possible, while still keeping everything festive.

“Especially the First Ladies,” Parker said. “They really go all out with their costumes.”

This year’s parade will feature floats, historical units, and local community organizations. The parade will be led by Grand Marshal Stuart Wright, who serves as grand master of Masons in California. The parade’s theme will be “One Giant Leap for Mankind,” commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Parade officials will be accepting entries until the day of the parade, on Sept. 15.

Contact Staff Writer John Orona at or 530-477-4229.

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.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Connect with needs and opportunities from

Get immediate access to organizations and people in our area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.

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