Carson Valley Days shows towns’ heart | RecordCourier.com

Carson Valley Days shows towns’ heart

by Amy Alonzo
aalonzo@recordcourier.com

Wind and rain cleared just in time for residents to honor first responders during the annual Carson Valley Days parade Saturday.

The theme of this year's Carson Valley Days Festival, which includes a parade, carnival and sports competitions, was "A Salute to First Responders."

"First responders are very important," said Kelly Bailey of Gardnerville as she watched the parade.

"They should be recognized," chimed in her friend, Marge Ocamb.

Representatives from more than 70 local businesses and organizations marched in the parade, which ran from Minden Park to Lampe Park over the course of two hours. Thousands of valley residents turned out to cheer those marching, riding or otherwise making their way down the parade route.

Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Teresa Duffy, and the Carson Valley Days 2016 Citizen of the Year, served as grand marshal of the parade. Retired Deputy Rick Koontz was named the 2017 Citizen of the Year.

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"Kids look up to him. He was a coach in the Valley," said festival chairman and Carson Valley Active 20-30 Club #85 member Tim Provost. The 20-30 Club puts on the festival each year. "We felt like, as he was moving from Douglas County Sheriff's Office, it was time to recognize him and what he's done for the community."

Cirra Woods, Douglas County 911 communications supervisor, said it took three days of hard work to build the float she rode on. The float was covered with red, gold and blue balloons representing firefighters, dispatchers and law enforcement officials.

She said she was honored the theme of this year's parade is emergency responders, and she hoped people watching the parade learned something about those who serve the community.

"I'm looking forward to [people] hopefully understanding something about all dispatchers," she said.

Valley residents and sisters Staci Lonnegren, Amber Hohenstein and Sharon DuBlanc, a former Ruhenstroth volunteer firefighter, said they've watched the parade together for more than 20 years, always sitting in the same location on Esmeralda Avenue. Their dad also was a volunteer firefighter at Ruhenstroth, Lonnegren said, and this year's theme is "really sentimental to us. It's very important. It shows good values."

Adele and John Hoppe, owners of Coffee on Main, said they've watched the parade for the last 16 or 17 years, but this year they had an extra reason to watch — their granddaughter was riding on the Douglas County Historical Society's float.

"It's a neat family tradition type of thing," she said. "It's fun to watch the kids."

Clutching a large bag filled with candy handed out by parade participants, Henna Claussen, 8, of Minden, said her favorite part of the part of the parade was the chance to be "with my cousins."

She also said the stash of candy she'd netted, filling two bags, wasn't too bad either.

"I can't count them," she said of all the sweets she'd collected.

Eric Schmidt, manager of GIS and IT customer service for the county, volunteered to drive Douglas County Dispatch's float.

The parade is "the best display of the heart of the community," he said.

The Carson Valley Days Festival runs through 5 p.m. tonight. Today's events include a grass volleyball tournament, a kid's grease pole competition, music by Miki and Double Cross and a raffle.

PARADE RESULTS

Youth: Silver State Pony Club

Service club: JustServe.org

Non-service club: Douglas County Republican Central Committee

Commercial: Carson Valley Medical Center

Noncommercial: Carson Valley Swim Center

Native American: Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California

Antique vehicle: Northern Nevada Antique Power Club

Miscellaneous: Fleet Reserve Association

Western-ranch: Amacker Ranch

Trophies are available Friday at Accolades Trophies, 1532 Highway 395 N., Gardnerville.