Snowshoe Thompson Festival to feature living history |

Snowshoe Thompson Festival to feature living history

by MaryJane Harding

Come to the Snowshoe Thompson Festival, Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, at the Mormon Station State Park in Genoa and enter the fort to enjoy a visit with living history.

From Carson City, the Robinson family will discuss Nevada’s past history, demonstrate lead-bullet making, period cooking and sewing methods. Meet Terry “Firewalker” Reeve of Janesville, Calif., Don Krause of Cassel, Calif. and Travis Agee of Sparks and learn the history and art of blacksmithing and the ancient technique of scrimshaw by Suzanne Reeve.

Also planned as Chautauqua portrayals by area children grades 4 through 12, a 1907 Freight Wagon, the Nevada Gunfighters and the Guns and Gals of Old Virginia City giving gun safety demonstrations and Historical Old West skits and talks, to name a few of what is in store for you at Genoa.

Make sure to take a ride to the Genoa cemetery and visit “Snowshoe’s” grave. Your guide, historian Billie Jean Rightmire, a Genoa native, will introduce you to some of the people who “live” in the cemetery. Your driver, Ernie Fanning, knows just where to stop, so you can learn some history about the residents.

The tour goes through Genoa, and you are given historical facts about the area. The ride on the haywagon takes about 40 minutes, and the charge is $5 for an adult and $3 for children under 12.

The haywagon will be in operation both days from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. While waiting for your ride on the haywagon, check out the arts and crafts booths and the antiques and collectibles.

On Saturday, enjoy chorizo sandwiches served by the Basque Club of Carson Valley. These folks donate all their profits to the Carson Valley Historical Society. The Daughters of Norway will tempt everyone with ethnic home-baked cookies. The historical society will sell hot dogs, bratwurst and hamburgers both days.

In addition to the living histories, music and special performances will be provided all weekend.

The Carson Valley Historical Society sponsors this event to honor John A.”Snowshoe” Thompson. He is known as the “Legendary Mailman of the Sierra,” who carried 100 pounds of mail and supplies twice a month during the winter from Genoa to Placerville, Calif., for 20 years (1856 until the year of his death in 1876).

Thompson, originally from Norway, carved his own skis and made the one-way 90-mile journey over the mountains in three days and the return trip in two days. Thompson never received any pay promised by the U.S. Postal Service. He died at the age of 49 and is buried in the Genoa Cemetery.

For additional information contact Grace Bower at 265-6097, Mary Jane Harding at 265-7074 or the Carson Valley Historical Society at 782-2555.