Gold Butte Days began with a lot of prayers; prayers from the coordinators of the event, the scheduled entertainers and the vendors who were coming from near and far that the threatening skies wouldn’t open up on the residents of Mesquite and spoil the festivities on its inaugural day.
Each of those prayers was answered; the clouds floated away, the prior rains stopped and blue skies began to show through. Temperatures were comfortable and mild while the coordinators, entertainers, volunteer policemen and police women along with vendors set up their tents, took their positions, adjusted last minute schedules and got ready to greet what they hoped would be a substantial crowd of Mesquite residents.
Events were scattered throughout the area of South Yucca Street and Mesquite City Hall, as well as across Mesquite Boulevard at the Heritage Museum and the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery and its amphitheater. And there was something to do or see for everybody.
There were 82 vendors’ booths that had treasures of all types from handmade scarves, jewelry and purses to flower arrangements, woodworking and hand-painted gourds. There were booths for the children to work their own magic with arts and crafts face painting.
One very popular exhibit with the children was the Gold Butte Booth which was staffed by Carrie Ronning, Wildlife Biologist and David McMullen of the BLM.
Ronning and McCullen caught the attention of many of the children with a table full of animal skins, tortoise shells and creepy crawlers which are native to the Gold Butte area. Ronning captivated them with the information about the animals which are native to the desert wilderness.
Children were especially impressed with the weight of the Big Horned Ram’s horn which Ronning was more than willing to let them hold and feel to demonstrate just how heavy those horns are.
Ronning explained to the children that they do not shed these horns but they continue to grow on the male sheep’s heads, some weighing as much as 30 pounds apiece, much larger than the one than the one they had on display. She explained that the rams use these horns to ram into one another when fighting for a mate.
The more Ronning talked about the animals the more the crowd of interested children grew and the younger set managed to keep the BLM booth busy throughout the festival.
Dorothy Blake of Overton was one of the many vendors who came to display and sell her artwork. Blake’s artwork consisted of painted animals. Her canvasses varied from rocks to Ostrich Eggs but her content was strictly animals.
Blake is originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and has a winter home in Overton. Blake is 72 years old and has only been painting the past 6 years. She told the MLN, “I never even picked up a paint brush before I was 66, I never painted anything except the walls.”
Blake’s first pieces were painted rocks; she used the natural contours of the rocks to create three dimensional looking nature scenes, with animals.
Blake tried to take an art class but says she was discouraged from continuing by comments made to her by the teacher so she continued to teach herself.
Blake also weaves her own baskets and apparently does a great job due to the fact that she nearly sold out the first evening; she only had one basket left to show just before the festival closed on Friday night.
Saturday brought sunshine and lots of people to the festival. Entertainment was varied and included some last minute changes and performers such as John D. Ward who performed several original songs which were written by Ward himself.
Claude “Doc Elvis” Nielson showed up in full Elvis costume to entertain the guests as well. Nielson was the third place winner of the Mesquite Has Talent competition which was held in April and is a big hit with many of Mesquite’s residents. Neilson’s talents don’t begin and end with the “King,” he also has an array of music from the ‘40s and ‘50s and is very close to sounding just like Sinatra when he croons.
Entertainment was varied from Blue Grass music to rock’n’roll. But it was the local On Beat Dance Company dancers who stole the show. The crowd was standing room only when these little people took the stage and completely captured the hearts of many of the festival attendees. The crowd went wild for the dances these little ladies performed. More information for On Beat Dance and Cheer can be found by contacting the Mesquite Department of Leisure Services.
Those who live in the community were impressed with the local turnout but locals weren’t the only ones who were able to enjoy this community sponsored event. Brothers, Lloyd and Dave Marsten from Hurricane, Utah, stopped by the Discover Mesquite Nevada booth for information on everything Mesquite has to offer to tourists and locals alike. They were given a sack which contained coupons for local business, information on points of interest and local attractions as well as information and the web address of their new online community calendar where you can find everything that’s going on in Mesquite, from church schedules to recreation center activities, all in one place. Cindi Delaney, co-owner of Discover Mesquite Nevada explained that the new community calendar has already ranked in the top 10 on the Alexa Rankings for the state of Nevada.
Delaney along with Envy Nightclub coordinated the performers and kept the audience entertained on the main stage.
Judging by the crowds of people who came and stayed for a while, Gold Butte’s inaugural festival was a huge success with members of Mesquite’s community. Residents of Mesquite and surrounding areas expressed their pleasure with the way the event turned out. They were entertained, there was good food, family, friends and lots to do and see at this first annual Gold Butte Days event and many of them are looking forward to next year’s festival already.
As Joyce Meland said, “The weather turned out to be perfect, the whole town seems to have come out here today and this was a very nicely put together community event; they did a great job and there’s so much to see and do.”