Anyone who has ever been to the Genoa Candy Dance knows there’s a lot more to it these days than just candy and, well, dancing.
The Candy Dance originated in 1919 as a benefit to raise money to purchase street lamps. Genoa’s women made candy to sell in an effort to entice patrons to attend the fund-raiser.
“My first Candy Dance was in 1954,” said Marian Vassar, chairwoman of this year’s candy-making committee. “It was simply a dance with an 11 p.m. dinner and candy was sold during the dance and handed out for free.”
Since its birth, the Candy Dance has grown into one of the biggest events in the area.
More than 350 arts and crafts fair vendors are setting up for the weekend’s 81st annual Candy Dance. Almost 70,000 people are expected to attend.
There is a dance scheduled Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Genoa Town Hall on Main Street. Tickets are $15 and include music by Eddie D. and the Cruisers and a buffet dinner next to the town hall. Dress is casual.
The crafts fair, which showcases everything from pottery to jewelry to toys to sculptures, will take place Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mormon Station Historic State Monument, the Pink House parking lot and the Genoa Town Park on Nixon Street.
In the grand tradition of the original Candy Dance, local volunteers will be selling homemade goodies throughout the weekend.
Approximately 3,000 pounds of Genoa fudge, divinity, peanut brittle, almond bark, suckers and other delicious delights will be be available at the Candy Dance. The record amount of candy made for the event was 4,000 pounds but this year’s candy creators got off to a late start according to Vassar.
“We have almost 3,000 pounds of homemade candy and I think there is 16 different varieties,” Vassar said. “That’s pretty awesome and although I was the chairman, I could not have done it without the help of Betty Bourne. She’s the one who has been in charge of this candy making in the past.”
Vassar said many volunteers came to Genoa from surrounding areas to lend a fudge-mixing hand.
“It’s a large undertaking for such a small town, but the people involved really enjoy it,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of people come who don’t live right in Genoa who come to volunteer. I had people who called from even Reno to come. It’s just really fun. It’s a good way to draw people together.”
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