For generations, locals and visitors alike have flocked to Nevada’s oldest permanent settlement, for the Annual Candy Dance! The event originated with a humble and simple need…street lights. Yes, street lights. In 1919, the town needed to raise money to purchase and install the lights. Prominent Genoa resident Lillian Virgin Finnegan developed the idea to host a dance, and pass out homemade candy, as a fundraiser and the first Genoa Candy Dance was born.
The first Candy Dance was a success and the streetlights were purchased. However, the maintenance costs and electricity bills raised another funding problem, which was solved by making the Candy Dance an annual fundraiser. Almost 100 years later, the Candy Dance has grown to more than 300 craft and food vendors. In fact, they close the streets to vehicles during the two-day event. (Visit http://www.genoanevada.org/candydancefaire.htm for info on shuttles and parking).
With the 100th anniversary of the Genoa Candy Dance fast approaching (2019) a bronze statue of Lillian Virgin Finnegan is being erected to honor Lillian and the generations of volunteers who make the event possible. Find out more about the project and/or donate by visiting their website.
Genoa Candy Dance Fun Facts:
- Of the 10 original lights in town, 9 still burn brightly.
- Lillian Virgin Finnegan was an active supporter of women’s suffrage.
- Today the Genoa Candy Dance funds about ⅔ of the town’s annual budget.
- Every year volunteers make about 4,000 pounds of Genoa’s famous homemade candy.
- A craft fair was added to the event in the 1970s.
- The event draws about 50,000 visitors.
This annual event is always held the last full weekend of September. Make your travel plans soon to enjoy this historic event!