Candy Dance candy makers making less due to economy

Even a nearly 100-year tradition of volunteers making candy is not immune to economic uncertainties.

"We're making about 4,000 pounds of candy this year instead of 4,500," said Genoa resident Marian Vassar, who has been organizing the Genoa Candy Dance candy-making sessions since 2000. "Because of high gas prices, we suspect not as many people from great distances will come to the event."

Held the last weekend in September every year, Candy Dance is the Town of Genoa's main revenue source. The two-day fair was established in 1919 as a way to pay for the town's electric street lights. Residents started making candy to sell at the dance from which the festival derives its name.

Vassar said the sale of candy generates about $40,000 for the town each year.

"Expenses are higher this year," she said. "Some products, like chocolate, have gone up."

Despite the economic crunch, dozens of volunteers from around the Carson Valley have come to the Genoa Town Kitchen to help produce and package 16 varieties of sweets. And the quality of the candies has not diminished.

"Our mainstay is still the fudge, rocky road and divinity," Vassar said. "We are also making some chocolate-dipped, soft center mints and may try some English Toffee."

Other candies include dragon eye mints, haystacks, peanut brittle, cappuccino cups and Genoa Gems, truffle-like fudge confections.

"It's a lot of fun," Vassar said. "People really do enjoy coming in here to do this."

Eight people were in the town kitchen getting their hands sugary on Aug. 26.

"My arm is getting tired," said Johnson Lane resident John Slattery after stirring a batch of boiling fudge base for 25 minutes.

It was is Slattery's second year volunteering.

"He's become our fudge expert," Vassar said.

Gardnerville resident Sandy Cypert was enthralled by the idea of candy-making.

"I just started this year, and it's very neat," she said, while loading peanut butter cups into plastic bags.

Genoa resident Betty Bourne has been volunteering her confectionery skills for 29 years.

"This is a way I support my town and make a contribution," she said.

More volunteers are welcome. Candy operations will continue in the town kitchen until Sept. 22. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Those interested in volunteering to help sell candy during Candy Dance on Sept. 27 and 28, should call Vassar at 782-4584.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment