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January 23, 2018

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Boulder City:

Annual Damboree Celebration bringing town together


Heather Cory

The water fight portion of the Damboree Parade is an annual tradition. (FILE PHOTO)

Click to enlarge photo

Young spectators are sprayed with water during the 60th annual Damboree parade, Boulder City's Fourth of July celebration.

The early settlers of Boulder City knew how to throw a party.

“We, all the families, made sure to have celebrations and events to bring us together. Those first years were a struggle,” Erma Godbey, one of the city’s first settlers, wrote in her memoir about the early 1930s.

More than 70 years later, Boulder City residents are continuing the tradition with the 61st annual Damboree Celebration.

The theme of this year’s Fourth of July celebration is “United We Stand.”

“When times get tough, people need to stick together and support each other, because there’s strength in numbers. It’s every bit as important today as it was in the 1930s to have that mentality,” said Godbey’s great granddaughter, Patty Sullivan, who helps organize the celebration.

Though the festivities have grown in size and scope over the years, the goal is to keep a “small-town feel and small-town atmosphere,” said Sullivan, whose grandmother also served on the Damboree Committee.

“Every segment of it is hometown U.S.A. It’s mom and pop, apple pie and the flag,” said Damboree Committee Chairman Roger Hall.

The day kicks off with an early morning pancake breakfast at Bicentennial Park. Members of the Rotary plan to mix up 100 pounds of batter and serve up golden flapjacks, sausage and juice for an estimated 600 hungry revelers.

The rest of the day is filled with traditional Damboree fare, including a patriotic parade, concessions, games, entertainment and fireworks.

The parade has had a long tradition of getting wet and wild, with entrants and onlookers engaging in water fights.

Organizers have decided to again split the parade into two sections: the first for water-free participants and the second for those looking to get soaked. A golf cart bearing a sign declaring the water fight on will mark the break in the two sections.

“If you don’t want to get wet, then you better step back after that,” Hall warned.

There is also a designated water zone on the parade route — on 5th Street from Aztec to Avenue B and Avenue B to 6th Street.

The entire parade route is open to water play once the water section of the parade starts, but organizers caution to only sit in the water zone if you’re prepared to be doused.

Organizers describe those last blocks, fittingly situated near the pool, as “similar to Sea World’s soak zone.” For many, it serves as a welcome cool down from the often scorching July heat.

Damboree schedule

  • 7 a.m.: Rotary pancake breakfast at Bicentennial Park (1100 Colorado Street)
  • 9 a.m.: Parade (Begins at Colorado, ends at Avenue B. and 5th Street). Parade flyover by Boulder City Veterans Flying Group
  • 10 a.m.: to 4 p.m. Games and festivities at Broadbent Memorial Park, 1301 5th St.
  • 11 a.m.: Flag raising and national anthem, presentation of parade trophies and greetings by officials, including Assemblyman Joe Hardy, Nevada Treasurer Kate Marshall, Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
  • 11:30 a.m.: Entertainment, including performances by the Boulder City Department Cheerleaders, Life Long Dreams musical group, Justin Mather and Neil Diamond, Billy O and Lilly Rose impersonators
  • 2–4 p.m:. Games and contests, including a coin toss at the swimming pool at 4 p.m.
  • 6 p.m.: Festivities at Veterans Memorial Park begin, 1650 Buchanan Blvd. Officials note that there will be no personal fireworks allowed in the park.
  • 9 p.m.: Fireworks show at Veterans’ Memorial Park, followed by live music from a D.J.

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