Genoans seek permit moratorium to preserve Candy Dance fair |

Genoans seek permit moratorium to preserve Candy Dance fair

by Kurt Hildebrand

The Candy Dance Arts & Crafts Faire has dropped in ranking from sixth to 85th in the nation and townspeople are blaming the number of non-juried vendors brought in by private property owners.

Genoans voted Tuesday to ask county commissioners for a moratorium on festival permits for the weekend of Candy Dance 2008.

Town board members decided to pursue a plan that would make Genoa’s the only festival permit for the weekend in an effort to bring the number of non-juried booths under control.

Candy Dance is the town’s main fundraiser and is estimated to bring in up to 80 percent of its revenue.

Candy Dance Dinner Co-chairman Les Kynettt made the presentation to the town board in favor of a single permit.

Kynett reported the drop in stature by the craft fair which was added to Candy Dance in the early 1970s and has become the town’s chief fundraiser.

Kynettt did the announcing during Candy Dance and quoted one vendor’s complaints about the event.

“This is the comment that came from one of the vendors,” Kynett said. “‘You guys are just another cheap crafts jamboree. You’re almost a high priced garage sale.'”

Candy Dance vendors pay more than $400 a booth and must go through a jury to make sure their wares are handmade. However, private businesses sell booth space to vendors, whose materials are not reviewed and are selling goods that are sometimes of lesser quality, Kynett said.

Town booths are in Mormon Station State Historic Park and the Genoa Town Park, while many of the private booths are located in prominent locations in front of town businesses.

“If this issue is not resolved than Candy Dance will die,” he said.

Kynett said without Candy Dance, townspeople would have to pay an additional $400 to $1,000 in additional property taxes to support the town.

Parking chairman Dan Pendleton said a number of vendors from what he called pirate booths were blocking streets when town vendors were trying to set up or break down their booths.

The issue of non-town vendors is not a new one, board member Bill Donohoe reminded those attending the meeting.

“This isn’t our first outing,” he said. “This has been an issue since the county shoved competing festival permits down our throats. We’ve got to keep Candy Dance to itself. We can’t afford to lose it.”

Donohoe said a grassroots effort would be needed to convince the county to make a change.

Ranch One representative J.B. Lekumberry agreed that the town has to be the sole permitee.

“We need to rally and bring all this under one umbrella if we want to keep Candy Dance Candy Dance,” Lekumberry said.

Town board members agreed to the formation of a Candy Dance Study Group which would report back in December with recommendations for a resolution to be forwarded to the county commission.

“We need to make a compelling presentation to commissioners,” Town Board member Dave Whitgob said.

Genoan Bill Brooks said growing up in the town people had their differences.

“But we had an understanding that two days a year we put the town’s interests before our own,” he said. “That’s something that seems to have gone out of vogue.”