Volunteers cook up sweet Candy Dance treats
September 1, 2014
Volunteers poured, portioned and packaged English toffee and rocky road in preparation for Genoa's Candy Dance Sept. 27-28.
The Genoa Town Hall morphed into a candy factory for volunteers to create the nine varieties that will be sold during the two-day event.
"These are handmade," said Candy Chairwoman Dee Chekowitz-Dykes said Aug. 22. "We don't add anything to them; just pure ingredients. We don't want to spoil a wonderful thing."
Volunteers from across Carson Valley donate their time to make and package the estimated 2,500 pounds of candy for Candy Dance.
Almond bark and rocky road are completed, with the top seller, English toffee, not far from being added to the "completed" list.
"It is a process, but they've got it down to a science now," Joyce Hamilton, volunteer for 18 years said. "We've come a long way and we love it."
Anywhere from 3-10 volunteers flood the Genoa Town Hall to assist in making the candies from Aug. 1 until the work is done around the 20th.
Since the first Candy Dance in 1919, not much has changed except the amount of candy being made.
Genoa resident Demi Hinmon has been a volunteer for three years.
"I love furthering the history and keeping up the tradition," Hinmon said.
Most of the volunteers are trained to make all of the nine candy varieties, however, two select groups handle the entire production of the peanut brittle and the oldest of the recipes, Virginia Henry's divinity.
"Three ladies from the community come in to work on the divinity," Chekowitz-Dykes said. "They know the history and know how the recipe works and how that all happens. Those three ladies will make all 300 pounds of the divinity."
While Virginia Henry's divinity is one of the only original candies still being made, the newer varieties are still helping Candy Dance be Genoa's biggest financial supporter.
This year the Candy Dance is an official sesquicentennial event.
"We are going to make some special chocolates with the sesquicentennial logo and put them in some coffee mugs to sell," Chekowitz-Dykes said. "This lets us feature something a little different this years since every year is basically the same thing. It's hard to fix something that isn't broken."
All of the candy made will be for sale 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 27-28 in the town hall.
Candy-buyers are encouraged to bring a cooler for their treats to keep them cool.
"We don't add anything to our candy so they tend to melt quickly," Chekowitz-Dkyes said. "Come early on Saturday to get your favorites before they sell out."
Volunteers are needed and welcomed.
If you'd like to volunteer, call the Town of Genoa office at 782-8696.