It’s been 32 years since Mesquite Incorporated. 32 years of progress, building, triumph and failures. A story that is all too common all across America.
Initially, with this special section of today’s Mesquite Local News, we were going to point out the important moments that have brought this town to what it is today. When that proved to be nearly impossible due to time and space constraints, we thought of doing a comprehensive history on Mesquite Days alone. With Mesquite Days 1985 being the first celebration of a newborn city, this week marks the 31st year in existence.
Thanks to Virgin Valley Heritage Museum Coordinator, Elspeth Kuta, the MLN was able to dig up numerous tidbits of information on the history of Mesquite Days and some of the people who were part of it through the years. Unfortunately, while our story today may have several holes, we hope to add to this year’s motto, “Celebrating Mesquite’s Heritage Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”
The committees and organizations that set everything up for each year’s events have stayed with the same format throughout the years. For most years, mottos were found that often suggested to those who didn’t know Mesquite, that it was the best thing since sliced bread. Mottos such as “A Star on The Horizon” in 1988 to “Nevada’s Rising Star” for 1992 and even “City of Champions” in 1996. 2005’s motto, “A Community Through Unity” signified the residents’ achievement of pushing the adult entertainment store out of business.
Many of the years, according to information that could be found, often celebrated new features that Mesquite had built to offer.
For 1986, they celebrated the opening of the Museum and offered a barbeque dinner for just $1. However, one flyer for the event noted that ‘Western Attire Required’ or else a person could risk being thrown into an undesirable pile of questionable substance. Perhaps it was a pile of horse manure or a bucket of slop for the pigs.
In 1987, the city celebrated the new dedication of softball fields. 1989 brought the groundbreaking ceremonies for the current airport’s location and 1990 featured tours of the airport, new library, the welcome station and the museum. At this time, a majority of the events for Mesquite Days were held at Pioneer Memorial Complex, where the softball fields are.
1994 saw a local playwright’s production of “Miss Kate,” a Mesquite Musical. Photos and script from this event are available in several binders at the Museum today.
In 1995, the Mesquite Chamber and City Officials decided to combine Mesquite Days with the Virgin Valley Festival so that participation would increase and there would be more activities.
Finally, in 1999, the main addition to the Mesquite Days events was the opening of the Recreation Center on West Old Mill Road. From what was found in the books at the museum, the outdoor pool may have already been there, but the newer building, which is currently utilized year-round by hundreds, was built and opened.
In 2015, the Department of Athletic and Leisure Services began a new tradition, the Tug O War mud pit competition, where various teams could compete against each other and the loser would fall into a muddy pit. This year, they have chosen to add an alternative competition in addition to the mud version and held it in cleaner conditions, at the outdoor pool at the Mesquite Recreation Center. (Check the MLN Facebook page for photos!).
Today, many of the traditions that began in 1985 with the first Mesquite Days celebration are intact. Bake-offs, carnivals, community events and fun are steadfast components that have remained strong. In the past, there have been fireworks, races, rodeos and other competitions that brought excitement to the community. Where Mesquite Days goes from here is completely up to you – the current community. With the right donations of time and/or funding, Mesquite Days could turn into something measurable to that of the Clark County Fair, a main event that draws visitors from all over the world because of the variety of activities and entertainment. Finding a balance of what to schedule and when is a key factor in producing its success.