Genoans literally sold more than a ton of candy by lunchtime Sunday, but the main topic of conversation was the mama bear and her cub who were early arrivals at the Candy Dance Fair on Saturday morning.
Brian Crowe said the bears were spotted behind the Country Store on Saturday morning just as the fair was opening.
Deputies cordoned off a section of Main Street to let the bears run for the hills, but the cub apparently was not ready for the throng and climbed the tree between the store and the town hall.
After a little sedation, the cub was taken southwest of town and reunited with mama, Crowe said.
Town Board Chairman Gordon Pasley said the town sold two-thirds of the homemade candy. The most popular item was the pecan divinity followed by the peppermint patties, both of which were gone by Sunday morning.
The annual Craft Fair was busy on both days over a beautiful fall weekend as visitors shopped at the nearly 400 craft booths.
Vehicles were backed up four miles on Genoa Lane as visitors waited to park on the fields of Ranch No. 1.
U.S. Marines from Pickel Meadows coordinated parking at all three of the town lots, raising money to attend the Marine Corps Ball. They also had a dunking booth that seemed fairly popular from the number of wet Marines in town.
The shuttles provided by Douglas Area Rural Transit were busy ferrying visitors from the parking lots to town, where roughly 30,000 visitors filled Nevada’s oldest settlement.
The craft fair is the chief source of revenue for the town.
Candy Dance was founded in 1919 to raise money for streetlights just two years after the county seat was moved to Minden.
Most of the vendor booths are in Mormon Station State Historic Park, where park ranger Stanley Lawhead was giving tours of the blacksmith shop on the Campbell Addition.
A bear was one of the early attendees at this year’s Candy Dance in Genoa.
Reports that a juvenile bear was spotted behind the Genoa Country Store prompted Douglas County deputies to briefly tape off a section of downtown this morning as visitors gathered round.
As forecast, the Genoa Cemetery parking lot was full by 9 a.m. and visitors were parked on either side of Jacks Valley Road for almost a mile around two hours after the fair opened.
Temperatures were chilly on Saturday morning but had risen to around 60 degrees by 11 a.m. under sunny skies.
Volunteers selling the candy that gives the event its name were doing brusque business not long after the doors opened. They were helped by Carson Valley Middle School students.
Town Chairman Gordon Pasley said they were working to sell the ton and a half of homemade candy made by volunteers.
When it comes to parking for Candy Dance, Genoa is sending in the U.S. Marines.
The Marines from the Mountain Warfare Training Center at Pickel Meadows will be operating all of three parking lots for this weekend’s event.
“We have handicapped parking at each lot, and it will be clearly marked, and the Marines will direct people to those spots who need parking,” Town Manager David Qualls said.
Parking at the town lots is $10, and the Marines will be operating a six-person golf cart to help ferry people who are not quite ambulatory into town.
“If a disabled person needs help to get from their car to the shuttle, they should ask at the gate when they come in,” Qualls said on Thursday.
He advised visitors to use Genoa and Muller lanes to access the main parking lots on the east and south end of town. The parking lot at the Genoa Cemetery will be full before most people arrive at the fair, which will leave visitors walking along Jacks Valley Road for more than a mile before they get to a shuttle.
Shuttles start running at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and the fair officially opens at 9 a.m. each day.
The Marines are using money they raise at the parking lots to help send them to the Marine Corps Ball.
Marines aren’t the only group that raises money during Candy Dance.
Douglas Lodge No. 12 of the Free and Accepted Masons of Genoa serve breakfast consisting of pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, orange juice, and coffee at their hall 6-11 a.m. today and Sunday. The Lodge is 155 years old this year, having been founded Sept. 17, 1868.
The $10 price raises money for scholarships and to maintain of the historic lodge building and grounds
Genoa volunteer firefighters will be serving beer and Italian sausage sandwiches during the event.
Qualls advised visitors to carry cash, because the town doesn’t have the best internet reception, and the anticipated 30,000-person crowd tends to use a lot of bandwidth.
“Bring cash, because even though now there is WiFi in town, you have to pay for it,” he said.
He suggested that people not bring dogs to the event.
“We love dogs but we’re advising against bringing them due to the sheer volume of people,” he said. “It’s not a good thing to have animals with so many people.”
Genoa continues two traditions that gives the event its name.
Handmade candy, including the town’s famous fudge, will be on sale in the Town Hall, where the first Candy Dance was held in 1919.
Visitors are advised to bring a cooler if they plan to purchase candy.
The weather for the weekend is forecast to be cool in the mornings, warming up to the mid-70s under sunny skies.
All 400 seats at tonight’s dance in Genoa Park dance are spoken for, Qualls said.
Right across Nixon Street from the park is the Genoa Town Church, which is undergoing renovations.
“Our big focus this year is on the Genoa Church we have a beautiful print that will be auctioned off during the dinner,” he said. We want to draw attention to the church project that will continue through the year. Anyone interested in helping us with that project, should reach out to town office.”
The Candy Dance Arts & Crafts Fair was added 49 years ago, and features more than 400 vendor booths. The event takes over the entire town. All three routes into town will be shut down 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Genoa is located four miles west of Highway 395 in Carson Valley.
Founded in 1851, the town was the original Douglas County seat.