Winter Wonderland Wine Wasting |

Winter Wonderland Wine Wasting

by Sally J. Taylor
Entertainment for the evening will be provided by classic-jazz harpist Beverly Colgan, of Reno, above. The historic Odeon Hall & Saloon, now Mia's Swiss Restaurant was constructed in 1870, right.

When Mia’s Swiss Restaurant in the historic Odeon Hall closes next summer, Do-Mor for Dayton hopes to buy the property for a community cultural center.

Toward that goal, the organization will host its third annual wine tasting fund-raiser Saturday. The Winter Wonderland Wine Wasting is 7-11 p.m. at the Dayton Community Center on Pike Street. Tickets cost $20 and are available at the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, Mia’s Swiss Restaurant, Old Fogy’s Club and Antiques and Connie’s Copy Center.

Entertainment for the evening will be provided by classic-jazz harpist Beverly Colgan, of Reno. Guests are encouraged to dress formally, in vintage or western wear, with a prize awarded for the best costume.

Capital Beverage will uncork a selection of wines for tasting, as well as tasting cards for judging the wines. Favorites may also be purchased by the bottle.

“We make a little funds there (in sales),” said Lee Sommers, president of Do-Mor for Dayton. “We’ve always sold what we had. Some years we’ve taken orders and delivered them later.”

Appetizers, provided by the cooks on the committee, will also be served.

Thursday night was wrapping night for committee members to prepare for the White Elephant Auction. Renown auctioneer Curly Harrell will conduct the auction.

“The prettier the package, the higher the price,” Sommers said of the auction that can take an hour and a half from start to finish. “It’s all sight-unseen.

“Sometimes they are silly things. Everything is new and pretty nice – gift items and baskets, rare things that people have gotten and never used.

“Afterward, you’ll find people trading table to table.”

It all goes to the preservation of Dayton’s history.

Do-Mor for Dayton organized in July 2001 after the demolition of two historic buildings in Old Dayton. Their goal is to preserve and restore the historic district.

Their first project is the purchase of Odeon Hall & Saloon, one of the town’s best preserved early buildings. And it’s up for sale.

The Odeon was originally constructed in 1870 as the Oddfellows Fraternal Hall, which had lost its 1864 wood building to fire. In April 25, 1870, the first regalia ball in the community – and maybe the state – was held at the lodge.

Later, it became the Mel Odeon Hall and Saloon.

In 1960, it was the site of filming for several scenes for “The Misfits,” starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift.

Mia and Max Kuerzi bought the Odeon Hall and opened Mia’s Swiss Restaurant in 1987 after operating a restaurant in Carson City for several years. They plan to retire the end of June.

The Kuerzi’s postponed their original retirement plans to give Do-Mor for Dayton a chance to buy the property. Asking price is around $675,000, but the actual price is awaiting an appraisal for the building and its contents.

The Odeon Hall building has 9,000 square feet divided into three levels.

Do-Mor members envision using the building for youth exhibits and education in the arts and dances, and to rent for events.

The center will be “dedicated to teaching young people about our cultural background and American folklore,” Sommers said.

The upstairs is already used for live theater as well as private parties. Because the melodrama group, the Misfits of Dayton, scheduled performances this weekend, the wine tasting was moved to the Dayton Community Center.

“The melodramas will continue once we’re in there, and more,” Sommers said.

“The downstairs cellar, because of it’s more even temperature, will be dedicated to be an art gallery,” she said.

Plans also include a new restaurant to occupy the ground floor of the hall and to transform the bar into an ice cream parlor. Organizers expect the parlor to provide occupational training for troubled youths, “for kids who need a place to re-negotiate their lives.”

Do-Mor for Dayton has a lot of support from the public and Lyon County government for their plans to purchase and convert the building. What they need now is funding.

In addition to fund-raisers such as the wine tasting, members have been busy applying for public and private grants. During the next legislation session, they will again seek state funding to preserve this historical asset.

In the 2003 legislative session, a bill to provide funding languished due to lack of state funds and uncertainty whether the state should be purchasing historic buildings.

The Odeon Hall is in line for a grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. That grant up to $500,000 will provide for restoration work and upgrades such as an elevator for disabled access.

“But it must be our own building first,” Sommers said.

For now, most of the historic buildings in Old Dayton are privately owned, which limits access as well as the community’s ability to preserve them. The Odeon is not the only building that Sommers and the members of Do-Mor for Dayton hope to see open to the public in the future.

“We’ll start with one (building).”

If You Go

What: Winter Wonderland Wine Wasting Fund-raiser

When: 7-11 p.m. Saturday

Where: Dayton Community Center, 170 Pike Street

Cost: $20, tickets at Dayton Chamber of Commerce, Mia’s Swiss Restaurant, Old Fogy’s Club and Antiques and Connie’s Copy Center