Dayton Valley Days fund depot project |

Dayton Valley Days fund depot project

F.T. Norton, Appeal Staff Writer
Photo by Brad HornBrian Nichols takes a breath after finishing the noodle eating contest at Dayton Days on Sunday afternoon. Nichols is the program assistant for the 4-H at the University of Nevada, Reno.

DAYTON — The only thing rolling down the middle of Main Street in Dayton is usually tumbleweed, but over the weekend the heart of this historic settlement was teeming with life during the 14th annual Dayton Valley Days.

Beginning Saturday and until 4 p.m. Sunday festival goers sauntered among food and craft booths and participated in watermelon spitting, noodle sucking, stagecoach riding and rodeo fun.

This year’s theme was “Pioneers” with parade grand marshals Dave and Ruth Small.

Ruth Small said the highlight of the festival was the announcement of the “Save the Dayton Depot” fund-raiser.

“The fund-raiser is to benefit the old Dayton railroad depot, right on the corner of Main Street and Highway 50. (The group) would like to purchase that and turn it into a historical building and restore it to its original condition,” she said.

Sponsored by the Lyon County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, all proceeds from the festival go to the volunteer rescue organization and to revitalizing downtown Dayton.

For 120-plus years, Dayton and Genoa have battled for bragging rights as Nevada’s first permanent white settlement.

Dayton Valley Days started in 1989 as a fund-raiser for the artist-in- residence program at local schools. Four years later, the focus shifted to raising money to restore historic buildings in downtown Dayton and recently, the helm was turned over to search and rescue.

Dayton Valley Days is the largest event in Dayton, showcasing the historic downtown that dates to the 1860s.