Though snowfall of about three inches one day prior threatened the parade plans, maintenance crews were busy cleaning downtown Sparks streets and sidewalks before the parade, ensuring that a record of only one postponement (2012, flood warning) in more than 25 years remained intact.
Earlier this month, the city announced the winners of the parade entries and floats based on categories of theme, originality, personality and presentation. Eight total categories were judged and the results were as follows:
Best Vehicle - Thompson Garage Doors
Best Community - Reno Rodeo
Best Marching Band - The Mayor's Own Marching Band
Best Business - KOLO Channel 8 News
Best Animals - Palomino Valley Pet Rescue
Best Float - Sparks Heritage Museum
Best Costume - Young Pioneers
Best Overall - Sparks Heritage Museum
After tallying the most points overall, the Sparks Heritage Museum was crowned overall champion and received the opportunity to lead the 2014 parade. Using historical images capturing Nevada's culture aligned well with the theme based on the sesquicentennial celebration "150 Years of Nevada Heritage." The float featured several volunteers dressed up in classic clothing and large display boards depicted historical site like the Chollar Mine of 1861.
Larma Volk helped organize float construction and design with the help of Sparks-based Granite Construction Supply and Sign Shop. When word trickled down to Volk and the other volunteers at the Sparks Heritage Museum she said pure excitement was felt by all.
"It was a big surprise and it really felt great. It was very exciting," Volk said Thursday afternoon. "I know Granite was really excited too and they felt good for being able to help the museum in such a big and meaningful way."
After about a month of preparation, the collaboration between the museum and Granite grew stronger as the date of the parade drew near, according to Volk. She said last-minute design changes were handled easily by the folks at Granite, and though the weather was dreadful, she said participants aboard the float agreed it was worth it.
"It was hard because it was so cold, but I think anyone who rode on the float would tell you it was worth it," Volk said. "I know they were excited to participate on the float and they understand the tradition that comes with this event and that it is about showing our community pride."
Volk said the Sparks Heritage Museum was not the only float showing community spirit, and she added that because so many were up to the task it made for another wonderful event.
"I think Sparks is a very big community-minded place," she said. "We enjoy getting together and we love being out and enjoying the spirit of the season. Everyone is in a good mood and they love being outside, and the parade is just one of those events that brings out the best in the people here."
Volk said she was unsure if the museum would take up the offer to lead the 2014 parade, but she hopes to partner with Granite next year to help the museum defend its title.
"I can't tell you how much we appreciate Granite's help on the float," she said. "I think they enjoy doing it for the community and for the museum because they want the community to know about us. They don't want credit they just want to help us, and I think that is just one way they give back to the community and we are so grateful for it."