Cookin’ with Candy Dance

Volunteers sell candy in the Genoa Town Hall during the annual Candy Dance.

Volunteers sell candy in the Genoa Town Hall during the annual Candy Dance.

‘The ladies of Genoa” hosted a dance Nov. 26, 1919, at the Raycraft Hall downtown. Tickets to the dance were $1 and if you wanted supper, it was 50 cents a plate.

“The dance is being given to raise money for the streetlights of Genoa,” according to the Dec. 7, 1923, edition of The Record-Courier. “Some years ago a dance was given to raise funds to have the lights installed, and now the residents of that town are very desirous of having them kept lighted.”

Ever since, the town has relied on the annual event to both literally and figuratively keep the lights on.

The town was able to make do on the proceeds of the dance for much of the event’s first half century, but a desire to fund the town recreation department prompted creation of a small craft fair in front of the Pink House in 1974.

The crowd estimate was around 1,000 people 50 years ago, and the buffet dinner served in the firehouse cost $5.

The event has done nothing but grow over time, to the point where an estimated 30,000 visitors arrive. Booth fees for the fair are the main source of revenue for the town, which earns around $200,000 each year, about eight times the amount raised in property taxes from residents.

We spend a lot of time and space on Candy Dance each year, in part because of that contribution to the county coffers. If the town wasn’t able to raise this money, at least some measure would be required from county resources.

R-C Editor Bert Selkirk referred to Candy Dance as Genoa’s experiment in finding an alternative to taxation.

We wouldn’t recommend it for larger municipalities, but for Nevada’s oldest settlement, it seems sufficient.

We’re proud of Genoan’s continuing efforts to support and maintain Nevada’s birthplace, and we hope it shows. And the candy’s pretty good, too.

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