Minden as Venue
May 31, 2006
For more than 20 years, Esmeralda Avenue has served as a venue for bringing visitors to Minden. Craft fairs, street dances and car shows have brought out the crowds.
Roxanne Stangle has watched the passing parade on Esmeralda from her store, Tumblewind.
She’s been a driving force behind the street celebrations, working in conjunction with promoter Jeff Williams of Washoe Valley.
“It happened because Jeff came to the chamber of commerce 21 years ago with this idea. He was born and raised in Smith Valley and always loved the Carson Valley,” Stangle said. “Once he started the business, we started looking at a craft fair.”
For the first seven years, the fair was set for August, but the weekend event was so successful, Williams added a second fair.
They’re held in spring and late summer, and the weather can be mercurial, especially with the earlier event, but that hasn’t stopped the business community from taking a look at another event planned for December, when the weather is guaranteed to be chilly.
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Last December, Stangle and Howard and Kregg Herz spent two weeks in Germany to visit the popular Christmas markets in Frankfort, Nuremberg and Dresden with an eye toward introducing the popular custom in Minden.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to start the Christmas market Friday night with the lighting of the gazebo and culminate a week later with the Pops Orchestra holiday concert?” she asked.
The traditional German Christmas markets are centuries old.
“It really is a social thing,” she said. “You’d look down the street where we were staying and beginning about 3:30 p.m., hundreds of people start coming.”
There are food booths and vendors offering mulled wine and beer along with other beverages.
“I never saw a skirmish or heard a harsh word,” she said. “It was just a social thing. People just come down and get together.”
Stangle said nobody seemed to mind the frigid temperatures.
“Everybody just bundles up in coats, gloves and scarves,” she said. “People walk up and down the booths and chitchat. It really puts you in the Christmas mood.”
She said plans for Minden call for organizers to construct little huts for the vendors to offer some protection from the weather.
“Every town has it’s own colors with canopy tops,” she said of the German fairs.
The booths are designed for easy storage and multiple use.
“We’d like to do about 20 to 30 booths,” Stangle said.
Stangle thinks it’s the kind of event than could put Minden even more on the map than it already is.
“Wouldn’t it be nice for people to think of Carson Valley as the Christmas town?” she said.
“We have the camaraderie and the friendship and can do things you can’t do in the big city.”