Preparations are in place and the final details are being set as the 2015 Armed Forces Day weekend is a little more than a week away.

Once again, Hawthorne will play host to the 65th annual event where it will honor soldiers past and present in the biggest celebration of its kind in the state.

Parade and vendor entries are slightly down from last year at this point, but there is still time to sign up for both with next Monday being the deadline.

Still, the weekend will have plenty to offer for locals and visitors alike. While the Nevada State Chili Championship cook-off at Barley’s Sports Bar Friday afternoon is the unofficial start of the weekend, several events will precede it.
SOC will host a golf tournament on Saturday morning at the Walker Lake Golf Course, and the first annual Armed Forces Day Talent Show will take place on Wednesday at the convention center. Also, next Thursday Barley’s will play host to a horseshoe and King Pong tournament outside starting at 7 p.m.

“We’re planning on a big event all week and hoping for a big crowd,” said Armed forces Day committee member Karen Colbert. “This is the biggest event in town for the year, and the committee has spent all year planning for it.”
From a free swim day at the community pool, to a Little league All Star game at Tiny Cardenas Memorial Field, a Nevada Gunfighters performance at Veterans Park and an arm wrestling tournament at Barley’s, Hawthorne should be buzzing with excitement on Friday as the hundreds of expected visitors pour into town.

A brand new event has been added to Friday’s schedule as professional wrestling will invade Hawthorne. Reno’s Wrestle Factory promotion will put on a show at the Hawthorne Junior High School gym beginning at 6 p.m.
The night will be capped off by the annual fireworks display at the El Capitan.

“It will be a great show as always,” said El Capitan general manager Glenn Carns. “We are proud to kickoff Armed Forces Day for those serving our country past and present.”

A slew of activities and events are planned on Saturday starting with the Pancake and Sausage Breakfast at the Elks Lodge and ending with the tricycle races at Joe’s Tavern.

The biggest event, of course is the parade down Hawthorne’s Main Street that will begin at Noon with a flyover from a T-6 formation team called Vulture’s Row that will honor the military with its missing man formation flight. A static display at the Hawthorne Airport will begin at 9 a.m. that day with the flyover planes and pilots, as well as many others.

The weekend promises to be a big boost for the local economy as most of the motels in town are almost booked to capacity. As of Tuesday morning, the El Capitan and Holiday Lodge were sold out, and America’s Best and the Monarch Motel had only a handful of rooms left. Those numbers could change however with last minute cancellations. Those with family or friends looking for lodging are urged to call ahead and book as soon as possible.

For a full Armed Forces Day weekend schedule see the annual AFD special section in next week’s edition of the Independent-News.