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Boulder City's Dam Festivals Postponed Because Of Pandemic


Congress created Boulder City more than 90 years ago when it approved the construction of nearby Hoover Dam.

Since then the community of 16,000, which is the only city in Nevada without gambling, has cultivated its small-town image. Boulder City is home to the Damboree celebration on the Fourth of July, the Best Dam Barbecue, and Art in the Park, one of the biggest art festivals in the Southwest.

The pandemic, which afflicted about 40 residents and left two dead, also put a crimp in Boulder City’s tourist economy. The Damboree — the biggest event on the social calendar — is not being held this year for the first time in 72 years.

“I’m a native of Boulder City and ever since I can remember I’ve been marching in the parade or riding in the parade,” Mayor Kiernan McManus told State of Nevada. “It’s a real tradition here in Boulder City. There are high school classes that have their reunions at that time of year.”

It’s “beyond disappointment that we’re not going to be able to do it this year,” he said.

While the Damboree is gone, McManus is hopeful that Art in the Park will be held in the fall.

“I can only hope that we will not see a second wave of this virus and be able to hold that event,” he said.

McManus said events like the Damboree and Art in the Park are important for businesses in the small city.

McManus said the falloff of visitorship to Southern Nevada is felt in Boulder City, which attracts a mix of Southern Nevadans and out-of-towners to tour the dam and patronize the city’s restaurants and shops.

However, he can't say right now just how much of a budget shortfall his city is facing because tax revenue numbers are not in yet. He said there were a number of improvement projects slated for the city but whether those are completed "depends on revenue loss over the next few months."

The city is getting help from the federal government through the CARES Act but McManus said how much depends on how it is filtered through the state.

“We’re still waiting for those decisions to be made at a state level before we can see any reimbursement for the expenses we’ve had," he said.

Kiernan McManus, mayor, Boulder City


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With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.