Monday, September 27, 2010

A Sociable Weekend, Out and About

The weather was absolutely gorgeous this past weekend, and both of us got the chance to be out enjoying it. After Labor Day, when the kids head back to school, the number of tourists visiting Lake Tahoe naturally drops - at least until snow brings the skiers. However, right now really is the best time of year to be out and about - the heat of summer gives way to pleasantly warm days, while the nights have yet to get down below freezing. The area capitalizes on this by scheduling a plethora of outside events every weekend in September and into October - luring the tourists (and their money) back.

Earlier this month were the Reno Balloon Races, the Camel Races in Virginia City, the the Reno Air Races , and closer to home, our local Basque Festival.

Aries took a week's vacation this past week, just so he could finally check out this weekend's big event: Street Vibrations - "a celebration of music, metal and motorcycles." The highway is only two blocks from our house, and from Thursday afternoon through Sunday, the rumble of motorcycles was almost non-stop. For three days, Aries was out with his buddies - riding up to Virginia City, and then checking out the bikes, vendors, and shows in Reno and Sparks. I have a bike - an 800 cc 1989 Honda Pacific Coast, but haven't ridden it much lately. I let the boys have their fun without me.

But, not to worry, I was out and about having fun with the girls. My Soroptimist Club held our biggest annual fundraiser Saturday - the Stroke to Help (fight breast cancer) Golf Tournament. The money we raise pays for mammograms and biopsies for uninsured local women. On the day of the tournament, I volunteered to be an official observer on a par-3 hole where a hole-in-one would win a $10,000 prize.

I used to work at Eagle Valley Golf, where we hold the tournament. I know the hole-in-one hole I'd be working - it's one of the prettiest places on the West Course. I packed a thermos of coffee, a magazine, and my Ipod: prepared to spend the morning kicked-back in a golf cart, looking out across just about all of Carson City. I stitched together two photos (above, click on photo for a closer look) and still only show a partial slice of the view. No hole-in-one (it's a pretty tough hole - short distance, but there's a ravine between the tee and the green that shakes a lot of golfers' confidence).

Sunday, Aries and I were out and about together. He joined me to check out the Candy Dance Faire in Genoa. Originally called Mormon Station, a trading outpost built during the California Gold Rush days, Genoa is the oldest permanent settlement in Nevada (photo above is statue of Snowshoe Thompson, legendary skiing frontier mail carrier, outside the Mormon Station State Park in Genoa). In 1919, the town needed money to buy street lights, so they held a fund-raising dance with home-made candy for refreshments. Of course, once the street lights were bought and installed, they then had an electric bill that had to be paid each year. So the Candy Dance became an annual tradition.

Ninety years later, they still hold a dance on Saturday night, and they still make candy (hundreds of hours by devoted volunteers - making, packing, and selling over 4000 pounds of candy). But the biggest draw now is the Arts & Crafts Faire. They close off the streets in this tiny town of only a couple hundred people, and for two days hundreds of vendors attract thousands of people. We didn't buy anything, other than our lunch, but I love wandering about, people-watching and to see what other people have made - it's a great idea-starter for my own projects.

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