Nevadans celebrate Fourth of July

Nevadan's celebrated the nation's birthday Wednesday with parades, barbecues, fireworks and anti-war rallies.

Fire trucks, veterans groups, dogs and color guards highlighted the annual parade in downtown Reno.

A few blocks away, anti-war activists commemorated the day with a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

"America is a work in progress, and we have strived through decades of challenge and change to become what the framers envisioned on our first Independence Day," Shane Piccinini of the Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace told a small gathering on the steps of the federal courthouse.

"Renewing our commitment to our social contract is the best way to pay tribute to those who, 231 years ago, pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to guarantee our freedom."

Parades, along with community concerts, picnics and various other activities, were held in communities across the state.

In Sparks, daylong activities began early at the Sparks Marina with milk carton boat races.

Participants in the Model Dairy Milk Carton Boat Regatta competed aboard brightly colored contraptions made out of milk cartons, chicken wire and glue.

"I think if everybody worked together with their paddling it would have worked better," said John Baker, captain of "Bakers Boat", which was built by members of the Nevada Air National Guard.

At Lake Tahoe, people swarmed to beaches seeking relief from the
heat as temperatures across Nevada approached record highs.

A volunteer at Sand Harbor on Lake Tahoe's east shore said cars were lined up before the state park opened at 8 a.m., and parking capacity was reached shortly before 10:30 a.m.

The Nevada Highway Patrol was on the scene directing traffic.

Around the state, the day's activities were to be capped off with fireworks displays after dark.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)