Nevada City Constitution Day Parade cancelled | TheUnion.com
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Nevada City Constitution Day Parade cancelled

The COVID-19 shutdown continues to affect public events scheduled for this fall. Nevada City’s 2020 Constitution Day Parade, which typically happens the Sunday after Sept. 17, has been cancelled.

But the traditional reenactment of the signing of the U.S. Constitution by members of the Nevada City Masonic Lodge will likely take place and will be live-streamed, said parade committee chair Sean Metroka.

And the Famous Marching Presidents, an integral part of the parade, are preparing an educational video project to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment on Aug. 26.

Founded by the late Col. William H. Lambert, Nevada City’s Constitution Day Parade has been held since 1967. It is one of the oldest and largest Constitution observances in the West, quite possibly in the entire United States. Since 1988, the parade has featured the Famous Marching Presidents (and their First Ladies), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and celebrate the importance of the Constitution and the presidents.

The decision to cancel the parade due to COVID-19 concerns was made at the beginning of July, Metroka said.

“We typically have anywhere from 50 to 60 entries in the parade,” he said. “There are school bands. … There’s just a wide variety of groups that want to participate, including political action groups, which seems appropriate for a parade honoring the Constitution. We normally have a Revolutionary War living history group (The Delaware Regiment of the Brigade of the American Revolution) and a drum band (the California Consolidated Drum Band) also participate.”

19TH AMENDMENT

Events usually take place during the weekend after Constitution Day, with the Revolutionary War re-enactors at Pioneer Park, an outdoor concert on Saturday, and reenactment of the signing of the Constitution preceding the parade on Sunday.

The signing reenactment will still take place but the exact date has yet to be determined, Metroka said. The reenactment features 13 of the 39 signers who were Masons, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, Metroka said.

“Hopefully, we will do it the actual day,” he said.

The Famous Marching Presidents are producing an original play, “An Evening with Ellen,” highlighting Ellen Clark Sargent and the 19th Amendment. This original work, co-created by actress Mary Baird and writer Pamela Biery, is set in an interview format. Mary Baird portrays Ellen Sargent, while Nevada City businessman Rick Ewald interviews Ellen, from a present-day perspective. Terry Boyer will provide the master of ceremonies role.

“Not only did (the 19th Amendment) grant women the right to vote, but this amendment is still critical in protecting personal freedoms,” said Biery, adding that Ellen Clark Sargent was a prominent suffrage leader and resident of Nevada City, where she founded one of the early West Coast Suffrage organizations in 1869.

“We had started working on this as a live play, but with COVID, it became apparent the video project would be better, that would keep everyone safe and would be make it an educational resource with a longer lifespan and a greater effect,” Biery said. “So we shifted gears. I’m happy we had a project underway we could convert.”

The performance will be videotaped in the historic Nevada City Odd Fellows Oustomah Lodge, where the Sargents were members, Biery said. The finished product, a 30-minute video, will be made available to the general public free of charge through online streaming. Funds are being raised to produce the video and make it publicly available for at least three years, without any fees for viewers, through a GoFundMe page.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.


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