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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- Colorful characters from Nevada's past mingled with present-day dignitaries Friday to carve up a giant birthday cake as part of yearlong celebration of the Silver State's sesquicentennial.
Nevada's first lady, Kathleen Sandoval, had the honor of carving the first slice of the 1,300-pound angel-food creation at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, wielding a sword that belonged to Nevada's fifth governor, Charles Clark Stevenson.
The cake is a replica of the one baked 50 years ago to celebrate Nevada's 100th birthday in 1964.
Kay Winters remembers it well. Now 93, Winters was among the volunteers who organized and helped serve that cake during the centennial celebration. The first lady at the time, Bette Sawyer, used a different sword belonging to Nevada first governor, Henry Blasdel, to cut it.
Winters was equally impressed with the latest creation.
"I think it's beautiful," she said.
Heidi Englund, her friend Misti Gower and a team of volunteers baked 170 sheet cakes over four days, and it took them seven hours -- until 10 p.m. Thursday -- to assemble them in the shape of Nevada.
The finishing touches -- 520 pounds of white citrus frosting and blue piping, and the state's "Battle Born" logo -- were completed early Friday.
The 21-by-13-foot confection was expected to serve 9,000 people.
A proclamation declaring March 21 in honor of the "Battle Born Birthday Cake Celebration" signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval was read by Mark Twain, as portrayed by McAvoy Layne.
The day marks the 150th anniversary of when President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation that allowed Nevada to write a constitution, paving its way to statehood on Oct. 31, 1864.
Portrayals of Lincoln and Paiute educator Sarah Winnemucca also mingled in the crowd, and noted cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell recited "Dame Nevada" -- a work commissioned by the state Sesquicentennial Commission as the official 150th anniversary poem.
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