California’s 54th Annual Constitution Day Parade anchors a weekend of festivities on September 14 and 15, 2019 in this culturally-rich, scenic Gold Rush town.
Founded by the late Col. William H. Lambert, Nevada City’s Constitution Day Parade has been held since 1967. It is one of the oldest and largest Constitution observances in the West, quite possibly in the entire United States. The event mixes fun and history and, since 1988, features the Famous Marching Presidents (and their First Ladies), a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and celebrate the importance of the United States Constitution and the Presidents elected to represent its citizens.
Although recognized in different ways, it wasn’t until 2004 that the law establishing the present national holiday was created with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as “Citizenship Day.”
This means that Nevada City’s Constitution Day Parade predates the actual national holiday by thirty-eight (38) years, giving attendees a unique and spirited view of American ingenuity, while commemorating the document that recognizes the first citizens as well as the democratic process.
Famous Marching Presidents
This year, the Famous Marching Presidents provides 45 individuals the opportunity to be President for a day, assuming not only costumes, but the role of the president they are are acting as—of course, there are no presidential privileges, but a great deal of reverent, and respectful fun is had while providing an educational view of our democracy, not to mention the grand spectacle of forty-five (45) marching presidents in appropriate regalia with their first ladies and requisite secret service agents.
Art and Artifacts Part of Tradition
Nevada County artist and cultural icon R.L. Crabb joined the Famous Marching Presidents in 1993 and has created the Famous Marching Presidents logo annually ever since, with the Official Seal established in 1996. This year, the logo gives a nod to Apollo 11 and the 50th anniversary of the first humans landing on the Moon, July 20, 1969. See the full history of artwork here. <https://famousmarchingpresidents.org/?page_id=13>
In The Spirit of the West
Other Constitution Day activities include musical performances, a re-enactment of the signing of the Constitution and living history demonstrations of Revolutionary War soldiers drilling and firing, along with drums, regiment marching and ongoing demonstrations by the Delaware Regiment of the Brigade of the American Revolution.
Nevada City Constitution Day Schedule
Saturday, September 14th
* Revolutionary War Living History at Pioneer Park, 10am to 5pm
* Open Air Free Outdoor Concert by the Nevada County Concert Band on Pine Street, Downtown Nevada City, 4:30-6:15pm
Sunday, September 15th
* Revolutionary War Living History at Pioneer Park, 10am to noon
* Reenactment of the Signing of the U.S. Constitution, Broad and Pine streets, 1:30pm
* 54th Annual Constitution Day Parade – Broad Street, Historic Downtown Nevada City, 2pm
* 28th Annual 49er Rotary Club Gold Country Duck Race, Deer Creek, Downtown Nevada City. Carnival from 1pm, Racing begins at 2:30pm
Free Parking & Shuttle
Nevada County Government Center to Washington Street Overpass Noon-6pm
Photo for the Famous Marching Presidents in 1988, year one. Shown in the front right corner are young children, John and Jane Boyer, their father Terry Boyer can be seen in the back row in top hat and glasses portraying Franklin Pierce —Terry and John will both march in the 2019 Constitution Day Parade.
This year’s Constitution Day Parade recognizes the 50th anniversary of man walking on the moon, Apollo 11.
Daniel Batchelor of Elevation2477 portraying President James Buchanan and with his niece, Harriet Lane, portrayed by Joyce Schwilke of Foothill Tax Service.