By STEPHANIE BUNKER
Moapa Valley Progress
The first weekend of the Moapa Valley Days celebration was a fun time for families to get out of the house and come together as a community.
The weekend’s festivities began on Friday at the Wild Horse Gallery parking lot in downtown Overton. It was an evening of Cowboy Poetry. As a crowd of about 50 people gathered there around a campfire on Friday night, they heard four local poets tell about the old ways of the west through the humorous interpretation of poetry.
David “Mahoney” Perkins started the evening off with a poem written by his own father titled, “And Some are Born That Way.”
“I wanted to share a poem that connected with the valley,” Perkins said.
He then told a life lesson tale about local boys stealing chickens.
This chicken story started a trend with the poets. Delmar Leatham changed up his presentation to share another poem about poultry. Next in line was Kenny Marshall who shared some poems and continued the pattern of the chicken poems. Jacob Jensen also stood and recited a few of his favorite poems for the crowd.
Attendees also got to experience a presentation on the Buffalo Soldiers. Keith Hill from Las Vegas came out to present history on the Old West-era cavalry re-enactment group. He brought his trusty steed “Flicka” with him. Hill dressed as a soldier explained that a Buffalo Soldier is simply a nickname given to black soldiers in the military throughout American History.
Hill said that the nickname was originally given by the Native Americans. He explained that it was because the Indians saw that the black soldiers’ hair resembled buffalo’s fur and that they fought like a cornered buffalo, Hill said. The name stuck and Buffalo Soldiers have a place in history.
Southern Nevada now has its own chapter of the Buffalo Soldier Cavalry. Hill believes it’s important to inform the public about the Buffalo Soldiers.
“These unsung heroes aren’t in any history books,” Hill said. “You have to search it out to find it. It’s not just Black History, its American History.”
When Hill wasn’t busy presenting, he gave the kids who were in attendance a ride around the parking lot on his 22 year old palomino horse.
The evening was a great start to the Moapa Valley Days Festival.
“We had a nice crowd and it was very positive,” said Kathy Cooper member of the Moapa Valley Revitalization Project (MVRP). It felt like we were actually out on a campout!”
On the following morning, the Moapa Valley Street Fair began on main street in Overton. Several vendors set up in the Wild Horse Gallery parking lot. Many of the booths consisted of exquisite art collections. There were also vendors selling face and nail products and homemade arts and crafts.
A bounce house, bounce slide, and rock climbing wall provided by Fun Time Inflatable company was there to entertain the kids while their parents went through the displays.
“I wanted to see what they had here,” said attendee June Parkinson. “We have never had anything like this event before and I was interested to see it.”
Parkinson thought the event was great and looks forward to it growing next year.
Members of the Moapa Valley Art Guild were in attendance at the Street Fair and provided a variety of items. They had photography and paintings as well as handmade crafts.
“This get’s people out and it’s kind of fun to show your stuff,” said Debbie Bruse who was selling handmade items. “The more community things like this we can do the better.”
M.V. Art Guild President Jackie Worthen said that the Guild had come out to support the town and the Wild Horse Gallery.
“We have been busy and have had a good crowd in spite of the wind,” said Worthen.
Natalie Jacobsmeyer set up a booth for her product of Jamberry Nails. She explained that the produce is fancy nail wraps with over 300 designs. Jacobsmeyer and her friend Jacqueline Chandler were able to talk with several people about the product which helps sales in the future. Jacobsmeyer was optimistic and enthusiastic about the Street Fair.
The Roo’s N More Zoo from Moapa also had a booth set up where they were taking donations and selling stuffed animals in an effort to raise money for the zoo in Moapa.
“We still need more money for paved parking,” said Marjorie Naquin at the display. “But the sales are fair and people are being very supportive.”
She said that all of the tremendous positive support from the community has helped the zoo fight to stay open.
Bea Redd was selling Stampin Up products as well as items like ribbons, scissors, ink pads, and homemade paper products.
“I think it’s a good thing to get interest from the community to shop locally as well as get myself out there so they know the product I sell,” she said.
Shelly Benkman is a member of the Moapa Valley Revitalization Project (MVRP), she felt that the day was a success.
“We had people file through during the day and get excited about it,” she said. “It ignites a spark on doing things in the community.”
MVRP sold t-shirts at the Street Fair that were color-dyed using dirt gathered from the nearby mesa. The slogan on the front of the shirt reads: “Play in our Dirt, Moapa Valley Southern Nevada Outdoor Playground”.
These shirts are for sale in Lin’s Grocery Store and at the Wild Horse Gallery for $15 while supplies last.