Thousands of lights sprang to life simultaneously as Minden greeted the holidays with its annual gazebo lighting, a town tradition since 1990.
Gardnerville Elementary School sixth-grader Gina Cirillo had the honor of flipping the switch as hundreds of town residents and visitors gathered in Minden Park on cue from Minden Town Board Chairman Charlie Condron, who led the countdown.
The Douglas High School Jazz Band kept the mood swinging as they performed on Esmeralda Avenue in front of the town offices, as participants roasted free smores drank hot cider and ate cookies.
Down the road, in the CVIC Hall, the Tahoe-Douglas Elks were serving their annual spaghetti dinner.
Chairwoman Mary Retterer said they expected to serve 250-300 people on Friday night. It was her first time running the event, and only the second time she’d attended, though she said her experience as a college president should serve her in the job. After dinner the Elks’ Christmas Tree Bingo would offer 20 trees from Mountain View Tree Farm.
She and her husband recently moved to Carson Valley.
“We dived right in,” she said. “We’ve been trying to move here for 27 years, and it took us 25 to do it.”
Meanwhile, in Nevada’s first settlement, Genoans sang carols and gathered around to see the lighting of Hope Falcke’s tree downtown.
While Santa arrived by car in Minden, he took a fire truck into Genoa, in both instances accompanied by sirens, and swarmed by children.
On Saturday, Genoans will be having Santa over for breakfast 8:30-10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to noon. Pancakes, sausage, coffee and orange juice are $5.
The celebration of the holiday season continues on Saturday with the Parade of Lights, which starts in Gardnerville and rolls down Highway 395 to Esmeralda Avenue to Minden Park.
In Minden, the Weihnachts festival will continue 2-8 p.m. Saturday.