The Genoa Cemetery has been hosting parking for Candy Dance since at least 1999. The current cemetery board has approved it for this year.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.
With Candy Dance a month away, issues related to the annual fundraiser that draws around 30,000 people to Genoa’s Oldest Town are cropping up.
The Genoa Cemetery Association’s former chairman, Wally Adams, is seeking to end parking in the cemetery off Jacks Valley Road related to the event.
The Adams family is one of the oldest living in Carson Valley and an Adams may well have dug the first grave in the cemetery.
He resigned earlier this year over concerns that someone drove over a grave. The association is governed by a board selected from those who have families interred at the cemetery.
In a letter appearing in today’s edition of The Record-Courier, Adams and Mark Saliba are asking those families to end the practice of parking at the cemetery.
“As recent as last year, tire tracks were seen on top of tribal burial sites and graves after the Genoa Candy Dance as their coordinators for parking management did not assure keeping vehicles out of burial areas,” Adams said in the letter.
Cemetery Board Chairman Bob Whear said the claim that someone drove over a plot during parking at last year’s Candy Dance is unsubstantiated.
“It’s all hearsay,” Whear said. “The cemetery is open 24-7, 365 days. People drive in there all the time. We can’t control them. When an organization is using the cemetery there is someone to monitor it.”
Whear said the association’s members approved renting the cemetery to Genoa for parking 32-12 at the annual meeting in April.
At the beginning of the year, Whear said that the town told the cemetery board that it would come up with an alternative if the association wasn’t interested in having parking.
That plan would have had people parking along side streets around town, something Whear said wasn’t in anyone’s best interest.
“We are neighbors to the town and Friends of Genoa,” he said.
There is a contract between the cemetery association and the town that he signed.
He said 45 Marines from Pickel Meadows Mountain Warfare Training Center will be handling parking at the cemetery this year.
The cemetery has been the smallest parking lot since Genoa started closing for Candy Dance, with the vast majority of parking on the Ranch One fields below town. Opponents to parking in the cemetery say there’s plenty of space in that site.
In 1999, the cemetery and the town agreed to allow parking on town cemetery, according to a May 10 correspondence between Adams, cemetery board member Ron Lange and Town Board member Bernard Carter.
The original agreement was to rent cemetery property. Since then, several nonprofits have managed parking at the cemetery for a portion of the proceeds.
There are also restrooms set up on cemetery property and a shuttle to carry visitors to town.
Visitors to Candy Dance who approach using Jacks Valley Road typically fill up the cemetery parking lot by the time the fair opens at 9 a.m.
Often on the first day of the fair, they will line up on either side of the road past Adams Ranch, up to two miles north of the closure.
Congestion is often an issue at Candy Dance as thousands of visitors come to shop at the craft fair that is spread across town.
The fundraiser provides most of the historic town’s budget, far surpassing the property taxes it generates.