Armed Forces Day is going to be back and bigger than ever this year to commemorate the 71st anniversary of this popular annual event. Mineral County has long been known as the “Home of the Armed Forces Day Celebration”, and many new and longstanding traditions are set to come on board leading up to the May 20-22 gathering.

New this year, the AFD Committee is adding on a new inaugural Warriors of Golf charity tournament hosted by Nevada Rural Counties RSVP Program, Inc. It will be held on Friday, May 20, at Walker Lake Golf Course on 61 Lawrence Road in Hawthorne with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. The cost is $40 per person (or $150 per team of four) and a free barbecue is included for those that RSVP. Golf carts are included in the fee and available on a first come, first serve basis by calling Walker Lake Golf Course at (775) 945-1111. You can also visit to register.

“We’ve been trying to get a golf tournament for a long time, and I think RSVP wants to make this an annual event,” says Mineral County Chamber of Commerce Acting Secretary Bea Whitney.

The application to enter the Armed Forces Day Parade is also now available; a parade entry fee is $25 or $50 for a political entry, which helps pay for the cost of trophies and other expenses. All parade entry applications and payment must be received by May 13 to be included in the judging process.

“Since this is an election year, we’ll probably have a longer parade. Sometimes we have more than 100 entries,” Whitney says. Entry fees are waived for active military, emergency services, and local law enforcement agencies.

Whitney warns that Cecil the Serpent is always the star of the show, however.

“He has an incredible story and is a Walker River Paiute Tribe legend. He’s famous…he used to be in Nevada Day parades and usually wins the People’s Choice awards,” she adds. Whitney remembers when she was a little kid growing up in Mineral County and seeing Cecil on a pontoon boat floating in Walker Lake. She explains that Cecil has also changed colors over the years; she remembers him being black with yellow spots, blue, green, and others.

“We tell the kids that as serpents grow up, they change colors,” she smiles.

The AFD Committee is actively seeking volunteers to help with parade staging and guide the floats/entries to where they need to be. Volunteers are also needed for this year’s Mud Games to be held at the VFW on A Street.

“We have a referee for the Tug of War, but we’ll need one for Mud Volleyball and other kids’ games,” Whitney smiles.

The powerful “Always Lost: A Meditation on War” exhibit will also be available to view at the VFW Post 2313 for the time being. Compiled by professors and students at Western Nevada College, “Always Lost” features a sprawling wall of photos and Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of photos and stories from the Dallas Morning News about soldiers who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan war since September 11, 2001. There are 6,700 photos on the display.

“It started with 4,000 photographs and now it’s up to over 6,000; it’s a whole wall with literary selections and meditations on the table.

“First and foremost, there’s always a solemn remembrance for the military at Armed Forces Day. It is about remembering those who’ve served and lost their lives and it’s a celebration of our military today, and how strong and incredible they are,” Whitney adds.

Hawthorne has the longest running AFD celebration in the United States, only missing one year in 2020 due to the pandemic. This year’s AFD theme is, “It takes all of us”, to represent everyone from the active military to the Native American veterans to the families of those who’ve served to the community that helps make AFD happen every year. Whitney says that the Hawthorne Army Depot is also very much involved, “because if it wasn’t for them then we wouldn’t exist,” she says.

For more information about entering the AFD parade, becoming a vendor, the “Always Lost” exhibit, or a list of events that are set to take place this year, visit