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Candy Dance still in the cards

The annual crowds gathered for last year's Candy Dance.
Brad Coman

Organizers of Genoa’s annual Candy Dance aren’t ready to fold their tents yet.

Set for Sept. 26-27, the craft fair draws around 30,000 people to town over the weekend and raises 60-65 percent of the town’s annual budget.

The annual fundraiser accounts for around $150,000 every year, raised mostly in vendor booth fees. In comparison, the town generally raises about $22,000 in property taxes.

Town Manger JT Chevallier suggested that the town board has at least two opportunities to decide whether to go forward with the event.

“The latest we can start the Candy Dance process is typically Aug. 1,” he said. “That is usually when the candy making starts and it proceeds through August and September.”

Around a ton of homemade candy is produced by volunteers for sale at the event, and Chevallier said the concerns would be whether it was safe for candy makers in the town.

The key to determining whether to go forward with Candy Dance depends on the coronavirus and the response.

“I want nothing more than to successfully execute Candy Dance,” Chevallier said. “However, my chief responsibility as town manager is public safety. I’m not going to sacrifice general public safety of our town to raise money.”

The fate of the event isn’t just in the hands of the town.

Several entities are part of the festival permit process, including the Nevada Department of Transportation, the Nevada Department of Health, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, East Fork Fire District, all of which must sign off on the permit for the event to go forward.

Chevallier advised town board members to wait and see whether there is an upswing in the number of cases after the recent widespread gatherings.

“If we do not have a Candy Dance this year, it will have a significant financial impact on the town,” he said. “We’re in a good financial position. With some smart fiscal discipline, we could weather this year.”

Several events scheduled for this summer have already been canceled, including all three town’s Fourth of July celebrations.

Some of those, like Minden’s Fourth of July celebration, may be rescheduled for the week after Labor Day.