Friday, July 4, 2008 | 4:55 p.m.
Dripping wet political hopefuls and confetti-coated lawns ushered in Boulder City’s 60th annual Damboree — a scene reminiscent of the town’s early Fourth of July celebrations.
Independence Day morning, Nevada Way swelled with thousands of spectators, and about 120 floats crawled along the parade route — a tractor-trailer, a boat and a band of horses among them.
Some paraders suffering in the swelter opted to battle the crowd with water guns, plastic bottles and anything else that could hurl the cool liquid. All along the parade route, spectators came equally prepared with hoses and water balloons, trying to hold their fire until the “Water Entry” section of the parade arrived.
Not even firefighters unleashing hydrants were missing, as they did in the 1950s to cool off the sun-soaked parades — which began the water tradition.
The first Damboree, in 1949, was a three-day, American Legion-thrown bash in city parks. The original dances on the tennis courts, baseball games and beauty contests faded out in time, but the parade, midway booths and visits from senators and other political hopefuls stuck.
Like U.S. Sen. Pat McCarran before her at the 1950 Damboree, State Sen. Dina Titus spoke on a grandstand after the parade.
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In Broadbent Park on Fifth Street, Titus called the day “a fabulous way to remember those small-town, good American values.”
“It’s not a day for partisan politics but for holding hands with friends and family,” she said. “That’s what I want to do, and I know that’s what you want to do.”
William Kephart took his run for District Court Judge — and his family — to the parade and the park.
“It’s very important for people to take their concerns directly to me,” he said from under a tent facing Fifth Street. “And personally, I like the idea of coming out here. It’s like a picnic.”
Kephart said Boulder City and other small towns like Mesquite and Laughlin are important to his race.
“Boulder City’s got a voice,” he said, as a familiar face interrupted to ask him how the campaign was going.
A few tents down, Stefany Miley, a candidate for a different seat on the District Court bench, said that speaking face to face with voters matters, since she can’t run on a platform.
“It’s important for people to meet judicial candidates, because we can’t take positions,” she said. “Unlike someone running for County Commission, I can’t say what I’d change, but I can say I’d be fair and ready.”
Miley’s husband and children accompanied her on the parade route while she passed out fans to spectators. She said she’d been to the parade before, but only for fun.
Shrieks of children pelting each other with confetti-filled eggshells and the distant squeals of rogue fireworks rang out over the stumping as Miley said this time, while she was there for politics, it was fun too.
Cassie Tomlin is a reporter for the Home News. She can be reached at 948-2073 or firstname.lastname@example.org.