Burning Man + Downtowners = A Halloween parade to remember

The inaugural Las Vegas Halloween Parade marched through Downtown October 31, 2010.
Photo: Bryan Haraway

Here comes Santa, blinged out in sequins and jewels, passing an Angry Gingerbread Man and a vodka-sipping Betty Friedan housewife.

An art car is barking. Marie Antoinette is texting. Richard Simmons is limping. Zombie Jesus is drinking from a paper sack, amid fairies, superheroes, priests and politicians.

You’d never know by the sheer numbers, the diversity and the elaborate costuming that this is Las Vegas’ first Halloween parade, heading down Fourth Street from Hoover to Ogden on Sunday night.

Halloween Parade in Downtown Las Vegas

Organizer Cory Mervis says close to 1,000 turned out for the event sponsored by Las Vegas Weekly, including (if you missed it) Luke Skywalker riding atop a giant Burning Man Star Trek shuttlecraft, driven by a clown.

Mervis, a regular Burning Man attendee, owns a production company, Flying Pan Production LLC, and moved to Las Vegas in March. Observing that there was no Halloween parade, she formed one. “I’m not one to sit around and be shocked, then go back to sleep,” she says. She wasn’t sure what to expect of the inaugural event’s turnout, fearing that nobody would show or that everyone would show. No matter the size, when you mix the theatrical nature of Las Vegas with Burners from Burning Man, it’s going to be colorful. Steve Evans, a candidate for City Council, donned an Uncle Sam costume and arrived surrounded by Secret Service agents. A drum group performed on a spider-web-enclosed float. There was a ghost car (an SUV covered with an enormous sheet with two holes for eyes), a band, a dance ensemble, a pit-bull dressed as Hannibal Lecter, insane aliens, vixens, little Spidermen, big Spidermen and a Superman on stilts.

The evening was also sprinkled with Downtown pride: Four parade marchers dressed as popular local watering holes –Don’t Tell Mama, the Griffin, Downtown Cocktail Room and Beauty Bar. Jennifer Cornthwaithe, operator of Emergency Arts, dressed as the Jerry Misko mural on the Emergency Arts building. Misko dressed as Elvis.

Mervis plans to make the parade an annual event, always on Halloween and always bigger than the year before. This year, however, is the best, she says, because “it’s the first.”

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