The holidays arrive in the Carson Valley |

The holidays arrive in the Carson Valley

by Regina Purcell, Staff Writer

season in the Carson Valley.|By Shannon Litz

Thousands of Carson Valley residents welcomed the lack of traffic on Highway 395 Saturday and began this year’s holidays with the Parade of Lights.

Dubbed “Bright Lights for Frosty Nights,” the 7th annual parade was the highlight of the weekend’s activities that included Christmas tree lightings, a spaghetti dinner, and a downtown Minden Christmas Village and Gift Faire.

The Minden/Douglas Elks Lodge #2670 sponsored the kick-off Friday evening, with its 10th annual Spaghetti Feed, which included Bingo and Christmas Tree Bingo Party at Minden’s CVIC Hall.

“It was the best we ever had. It went quite nicely,” said Dave Trueblood, one of the Elks’ event organizers. “I didn’t hear a whine in the carload.”

Trueblood said more than 400 people attended the dinner – up from 300 last year D so that about 20 people had to be turned away when the food ran out.

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The Elk’s raised $3,000, which will be used to supply Christmas baskets to needy families and senior citizens in Douglas County.

There were a few glitches with the annual lighting of the Minden Town Park gazebo Friday, with the generator sputtering a bit in the beginning, causing some electricity starts and stops. But all in all, the event was well attended, and spirits were high.

The Douglas High School Image Choir and drama class and a bell choir performed along Esmeralda Street and during the Christmas Village and Gift Faire held Friday and Saturday.

Donna Cole of Cottage Antiques hosted a booth along with nearly 30 artisans offering crafts and homemade gifts.

She said there were a lot of people attending Friday, but the crowds thinned Saturday. She added additional advertising would have helped.

The Minden Downtown Merchants Association sponsored the craft fair.

The big draw was Saturday’s Parade of Lights as families, seniors and singles lined the highway from Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville to Esmeralda Street in Minden to watch 30 floats dressed in lights and bearing children who threw candy to the crowd.

“I like the candy!,” said 4-year-old Taylor Streeter, who attended with her family: father George Streeter, mom, Tanya, and brothers, Garrett, 1, and Owen, who at 7-weeks-old, was probably the youngest participant.

“We came last year and thought we would come out and check out all the lights,” said Streeter.

Tanya Streeter said the parade was a good opportunity to catch up with friends.

“We know a lot of people and it is nice to get together and see how everybody is doing,” she said.

Despite being “dragged down” to the parade by his wife, Angela, Lynn Baker seemed to enjoy himself.

“It’s a real treat to see a hometown parade,” said Angela Baker, a Gardnerville resident, who has attended the parade the last three years.

“It really gets you in to the holiday spirit.”

The parade was sponsored by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Authority, along with Carson Valley Inn, Starbucks Coffee and The Record-Courier.

Other contributors included: Accolades Trophies & Engraving; Arby’s Restaurant; Bently/GE; Bing Construction; Carson Tahoe Hospital; Carson Valley Golf Course; Elliot Ames of Nevada; Gardnerville Gymnastics; Tumbleweeds; Greater Nevada Credit Union; Heritage Bank of Nevada; KGVM Radio, Nevada State Bank and PolyPhaser Corporation.

“I am very proud of the community the way they participated,” Suzanne Rosevold, chamber of commerce director, said. “It was great to see the joy on the children’s faces in the parade.”

Rosevold said the parade seemed to go by very quickly, and attributed it to better organization.

“There were no troubles this year,” she said. “And the weather was perfect.”

The parade float winners who were awarded plaques of appreciation, included: Business Category: Bing Construction Materials; Youth Category: Cub Scouts #409; Church/Youth: Carson Valley Christ Center Youth Group; Governmental Agencies: Fish Springs; Animal: Cathy Carver on her horse; Organization: Carson Valley Cruisers.

The Carson Valley Arts Association hosted free arts and crafts at the CVIC Hall in Minden, and Beth Bosmans, treasurer for the association, said more than 200 children attended the free event.

“It went wonderful,” she said. “We were short-handed, but all the parents and children were very courteous, polite and patient.

“It was neat to see families working together.”

Bosmans said parents, who were not part of the Arts Association, stayed later and helped clean up the hall.

In Genoa, the town hosted holiday caroling and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony Saturday, and a Christmas Craft Faire both days.

“We had a great turnout!” said Paul Williams, town manager. “Vendors made a number of sales.”

Williams said the Foursquare Church in Carson City, the Unity Church of Today and violinist Daniel Hale provided music.

On Sunday, the Soroptimists International of Carson Valley hosted a holiday home tour featuring the Anderson, Cable, Hennesey, Hickey, McDonald, Todd and McCalla homes decked in holiday finery.

“It was a great success,” said Karen Winters, president of the Soroptimists, which made $1,400 from the tour for scholarships for Douglas County students.

“We really appreciate the owners for opening up their homes for a charitable cause.”

The tour ended with a party at the McCalla home.

“Everybody had a good time,” said Rosevold. “It was seven different interpretations of decorating for the holidays and a wonderful thing to be able to invade homes and get an idea about how to decorate.”

The Carson Valley Museum hosted a Holiday Open House and Cookie Walk over the weekend and organizers say it was so successful, it is definitely happening next year.

“It went terrific,” said Mary Ellen Conaway, director of museums. ” We did well.”

n Regina Purcell can be e-mailed at