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Plenty of fun planned for Snowshoe Thompson Festival

Staff reports

Civil War Volunteers, Nevada Gunfighters, Highland Dancers, games, food and arts and crafts are all planned for the 11th annual Snowshoe Thompson Festival in Genoa this month.

The Carson Valley Historical Society first organized the event to honor John A. “Snowshoe” Thompson, who carried mail and supplies from Placerville, Calif., to Genoa from 1856 to 1886.

He is credited with being the first known American to have skied in this country. He once skied 300 miles non-stop, in a terrible storm, to save a man’s life.

The festival will be held June 27-28 in Genoa at the Courthouse Museum and Mormon State State Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The varied cultures and heritage of Carson Valley will be featured with displays, hands-on demonstrations, a Civil War encampment and Native American presentations and Indian tacos.

In addition, Basque chorizo sandwiches will be sold by the Basque club of Carson Valley and Norwegian baked goods will be made available by the Daughters of Norway. Thompson came from Norway.

The Germans settled much of Carson Valley, and so a German Beer Garden complete with bratwurst, potato salad, sauerkraut and beer will be available.

Hand-dipped ice cream, sodas and coffee will be sold, too.

Kids may want to see how children lived in the old days, and a living history children’s area will offer a number of activities for kids. Posters in the Snowshoe Thompson Festival poster contest will be on display, including grand prize made by Gabriel Motta of Scarselli Elementary, first place, Sarah Doran, Kingsbury Middle School, second, Megan Mortenson, Pinon Hills Elementary, and third place, Jenna Jabara, KMS.

Historical personages will be portrayed, including Snowshoe Thompson, Maj. William Ormsby, Eilley Bowers, Dr. Eliza Cook, Hank Monk, Gen. Robert E. Lee, President Abraham Lincoln and Gov. Isaac Roop.

The Carson Valley Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will offer a pioneer display and the John C. Fremont chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will take part.

Arts and crafts include wood carvings, iron art, handpainted china, Victorian crafts, wooden toys, sun bonnets, oil lamps, ceramics, quilts, country crafts, T-shirts, pottery, stone ware, preserves and birdhouses and bird feeders, among other crafts.

Marlena Hellwinkel of the historical society will give opening remarks Saturday at 10 a.m. followed by a flag-raising ceremony by the Nevada Civil War Volunteers Honor Guard. Soloist Eileen Bianchi will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Norwegian national anthem.

On Sunday, Nina McCloud will give opening remarks, with the honor guard and Bianchi to follow. Ken Ault will give an invocation.

Most all of the presentations, skits, demonstrations and activities are free, and families are welcome.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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