The Genoa Candy Dance Arts and Crafts Faire, a tradition since 1919, is by far the town's largest annual event, attracting more than 300 vendors and drawing thousands of people to Genoa.
This year marks the 101st anniversary of the Candy Dance, started as a fundraiser to purchase street lights for the small, enterprising community of Genoa — Nevada's first settlement.
Lillian Virgin Finnegan, daughter of then prominent Judge Daniel Webster Virgin, suggested the idea of a dance and making candy to pass around during the dance as an incentive for a good turn-out of couples.
Genoa did raise the needed funds for streetlights, but realized the monthly electric bill had to be paid. The candy makers were then called upon each year to help promote the “Candy Dance” and pay a year’s worth of electricity for the streetlights throughout the town.
The Candy Dance eventually became the “Big Event of the Season” in the Carson Valley, attracting couples from Reno, Carson City, Minden, Gardnerville and surrounding areas to join in the evening's fun, often by horse and wagon, as well as “those new-fangled automobiles.”
An arts and crafts faire as added in 1974, later extending the event to a two-day weekend celebration. With all the people visiting the faire these days, the streets in and out of Genoa are temporarily closed during the day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Shuttles bring people from the main parking lots on Genoa Lane and Foothill Road, as well as the limited parking lot at the Genoa Cemetery.
The Candy Dance Dinner and Dance is held Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.
For more information, directions, parking, schedule and to get your hands on dinner/dance tickets, and to plan your visit to Genoa and the Carson Valley, call the Genoa Visitors Center at (775) 782-8696 or click Visit Genoa.