Marian Vassar calls the crowd to order in preparation for the lighting of Hopie Falcke's Christmas tree on Friday night.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.
A celebration representing generations of Genoans culminated in scores of residents gathering around to light the blue spruce named for Hope “Hopie” Falcke in Nevada’s first settlement on Friday.
Falcke’s sister-in-law Marian Vassar called the crowd to order after the walk down from the Genoa Town Church where they’d been singing Christmas carols.
The lighting of the tree was the signal for Santa to ride down Nixon Street in a Genoa Volunteer fire engine where he handed candy out to the town children.
As Santa was making his way toward the crowd, Brentwood, Calif., resident Tyler Williams was down on one knee proposing to Cassie Rogers on the other side of Hope’s tree.
Williams said he kept his plans for the proposal a secret for months.
Tyler Williams proposes to Cassie Rogers at Genoa's tree lighting.
Rogers even asked if he’d planned to propose during their trip to visit family in Carson Valley, but his lips were sealed until Friday night when he popped the question.
“This is a happy day,” he said basking in the glow of the multi-colored lights with family in attendance.
Both sittings of Breakfast with Santa in Genoa were sold out on Saturday with 320 paying customers. Because little kids were free, that’s the low end. Carson Valley Middle School Leadership students helped Genoans with the annual fundraiser.
The blue spruce was dedicated in honor of Falcke on April 17, 1994.
“She lived a life of service,” Vassar told R-C reporter Joyce Hollister 35 years ago for Falcke’s Oct. 27, 1988 obituary.
Falcke was active in the restoration of the Genoa Town Church and was a key participant in Candy Dance. Falcke was a 1946 graduate of Douglas County High School and attended the University of Nevada, Reno.
The maple that grows next to the spruce at Main and Nixon streets was dedicated to Robert Giovacchini in the same 1994 ceremony.