Guests to the fourth annual Genoa Cowboy Festival this weekend will have their choice of roping, riding, walking or dancing as Nevada’s oldest settlement celebrates the cowboy way of life.
Main Street Gardnerville is serving up some cowboy grub at 6 p.m. today at Sharkey’s Casino. Dinner includes range soup, cowboy beans, New York steak, potatoes, cornbread and berry cobbler.
Thursday night’s Baxter Black show is sold out, but visitors can still see Sourdough Slim perform a free concert with Robert Armstrong in the Carson Valley Inn Cabaret Lounge.
“We’re trying to make this a Carson Valley experience. There’s a lot of things we’re trying to pull together,” Genoa Town Manager Sheryl Gonzales said. “It’s going to be great weather, so cowboy up and discover the cowboy way in Carson Valley and Genoa.”
Award-winning cowboy music headliners Riders in the Sky, Hot Club of Cowtown, and the Saddle Cats are among those performing Friday through Sunday. Other festival entertainers include saloon piano player David Bourne, Cowboys by Night, and the honky-tonk trio Slade Rivers Band. Also performing are Virginia City-born singer and poet Richard Elloyan, Gardnerville’s own All Hat No Cattle, and cowboy poet Tony Argento.
“We have a wide range of cowboy entertainment you don’t get to see at every event,” Gonzales said. “There’s young bands all the way to award-winning entertainers. You can’t find a better selection of entertainment in one place, in one weekend as you can here in Genoa.”
Free events include the mountain man encampment, Civil War reenactors and the Mormon Battalion located inside Mormon Station.
Downtown Genoa will be closed from Fifth Street to Nixon Street with 20 outdoor Western art and mercantile booths, plus two art galleries and a gift shop.
Shoppers can choose from a wide assortment of Western goods, hats, apparel, boots and belts, collectibles, and gear as well as work by fine artists and craftsmen are available at various locations on Main Street.
Day pass events include The Native American Historic & Cultural Center featuring artisans, crafts vendors, and presentations about Great Basin tribes and activities ranging from flint-knapping to tribal dancing. Specialists will demonstrate bygone skills in blacksmithing, leather carving, Dutch oven and chuck wagon cooking, and the legacy of the vaquero. There will also be displays by muzzleloaders and fast-draw artists.
Special presenters are Glenn Ford’s son Peter Ford, who discusses his father’s Western films, and Cheryl Rogers, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans’ daughter. She explores her parents’ careers with the films “In His Own Words” and “Dale Evans: A Most Remarkable Woman.”
“We have a fiddler’s workshop this year that’s part of the day pass,” Gonzales said. “They will talk about the history of fiddling in America, and they’re inviting fiddlers to sit in and jam.”
New this year are the Carson Valley ranch tour, and the Emigrant Trail tour.
“You get behind the scene tours of the ranches you wouldn’t get to see otherwise. A lot of cowboy events have ranch tours and you really get to see the life of the cowboy past, present and future,” Gonzales said. “The Emigrant Trail tour celebrates the history of Carson Valley. You get to retrace the route of the 1850s gold rush emigrants.”
Food vendors will be dishing up their specialties in the Cowboy Corral tent, including a traditional chuck wagon dinner on Friday and the Basque dinner both of which will be served at the fire station. A Cinco de Mayo brunch is offered Sunday, presented by the Minden Rotary.
Passes to daytime events are $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under; three-day pass, $30 for adults, $15 for children. Concert tickets are $25, and $30. All-event packages include entrance to all concerts and day events for $95.