Using a sword from Nevada’s fifth governor, Charles C. Stevenson, first lady Kathleen Sandoval cut the first slice of Nevada’s birthday cake Friday in celebration of the state’s 150th year.
“As a native Nevadan, it makes it all the more special,” she said. “I’ve been able to see how Nevada has progressed over the last 48 years. To look at our history and see where we’ve come over the last 150 years is spectacular to me.”
The 13-by-21-foot cake, which weighed in at about 1,300 pounds, was a replica of a cake created 50 years ago by Sewell’s Bakery to celebrate the state’s 100th birthday. This year’s cake was baked by volunteers, mostly from the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
In a ceremony held Friday — the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln signing an act to allow Nevada to begin the process of becoming a state — at the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, Mark Twain, portrayed by McAvoy Lane, read a proclamation from Gov. Brian Sandoval declaring it Battle Born Birthday Cake Celebration day.
“It is only fitting that a reproduction of their cake is to be enjoyed again by the people of the state of Nevada,” the proclamation read. “This beautiful and edible Battle Born display should forever remind us of our origins and signifies our strength born at a time of war, freedom and discovery.”
Cowboy Poet Waddie Mitchell read his official poem of the sesquicentennial, “Dame Nevada.”
He told of the state’s harsh climate and stark beauty, and the people who choose to call it home.
“Deemed and destined Dame Nevada, cloaked in sage and sunset crowned. Making sense and friends and legends, turning prudence upside down.”
And he advised that modern-day Nevadans pay heed to the Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone who settled the rugged terrain long before statehood.
“Be protective and responsive to Her needs and feed Her pride. And as Nevadans, we should not forget what native stories tell, ‘If we but live within her wishes, we will prosper and live well.’”
Mitchell said it was an overwhelming venture to capture the spirit of the state and its history into one poem.
“I could write three novels to try to capture the essence,” he said. “It was a daunting task.”
Carson City Mayor Robert Crowell said the ceremony sparked his sense of pride.
“To be able to celebrate Nevada’s 150th birthday is rather emotional,” he said. “It’s a great day. I’m proud to be a native Nevadan.”