Annual Candy Dance festival returns to Genoa this weekend
It took the closure of every bank in the state to cancel one Candy Dance over the past century.
Not even sugar rationing during World War II could stop the fundraisers in Nevada’s first settlement. But the collapse of the Wingfield Banks in 1932 and subsequent closure of the rest of the state’s banks for a dozen days may well have prompted the dance’s cancellation notice that appeared in the Nov. 4 edition of The Record-Courier.
And while Genoans may have snuck in a little dancing later that year, that’s why this is only the 99th Candy Dance.
Started in 1919 by Lillian Virgin Finnegan to raise money to install and power street lights in the tiny town, Candy Dance has since become one of the most popular annual events in Carson Valley drawing an estimated 30,000 people thanks to the addition of an arts and crafts fair featuring more than 300 booths.
A popular craft fair was established in the 1970s to boost the event’s earnings. It has since supplanted candy and the dance as the event’s key earner.
With more than 300 booths, the craft faire was named No. 99 in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine for classic-contemporary craft shows.
Candy still makes up a good portion of the revenue for the event. Volunteers cooked up more than a ton and a half of fudge, toffee, brittle, bark and divinity.
The other half of the longstanding team, the dance, is essentially sold out, Town Manager Phil Ritger said.
The craft fair requires the town to close Genoa Lane, Foothill Road and Jacks Valley Road 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Parking is $5 with shuttles available to carry visitors to the craft fair.
Visitors coming from Minden and Gardnerville may turn onto Muller Lane to use the Foothill Road parking. Those coming from Carson City can turn onto Genoa Lane or Jacks Valley Road.
The left turn onto Genoa Lane from Highway 395 will be closed during the craft fair.
Shuttles from Minden to the town have been discontinued, so the only way to get to Candy Dance is to drive to Genoa.
Several organizations conduct fundraisers at Candy Dance, including Genoa Masons Lodge No. 12, which serves a $5 pancake breakfast both days and the Genoa Volunteer Fire Department, which serves Italian sausage sandwiches and draft beer.
There are several food vendors at the event.
Dogs are not allowed in Mormon Station State Historic Park where most of the craft fair is located.
Genoa is nestled at the base of the Carson Range in western Carson Valley, located east of Lake Tahoe.
Generally recognized as Nevada’s first settlement, the town was founded in 1851 as a trading post for 49ers making their way to the California gold fields. The first efforts to make Nevada a state occurred there and it was the seat of Carson County, Utah.
Until 1916, it was the Douglas County seat, and is still home to the Genoa Courthouse Museum.