Santa Maria Day set for Aug. 16

DAYTON -- Santa Maria Day will include a parade, Wild West show and the Ultimate Outhouse Race in Dayton on Aug. 16. And that's just the beginning.

"Entertainment is scheduled throughout the day, and there will be loads of neat things for families to see and do," said Lee Sommers, spokeswoman for the Do Mor For Dayton, which is organizing the day.

The historic Joe Douglas train will be shined and ready for display in front of the Dayton Museum. More than 40 craft booths will sell a variety of wares. Fiddlers will do their best during the Fiddle-Off Contest, and the Dayton Historical Society will conduct lectures on the history of the area, starting at 3:30 p.m. in the historic Odeon Hall.

The town's historic district, just north of Highway 50 East, is the backdrop for the event, which has been a tradition for decades, according to Sommers.

"In the 1800s, Santa Maria Day was a celebration of the harvest, a day of fun after all the hard work," she said. "Dayton had many Italian farmers, and they sent fruits and vegetables to every mining camp in this state."

"Many of these families are still here, but the main crop is hay now," Sommers said.

Most farmers were Catholic. The celebration, otherwise known as the Feast of the Assumption, signifies the departure of the Virgin Mary from this life and the assumption of her body into heaven.

The celebration ultimately evolved into a fund-raiser.

Money raised by Do Mor, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Dayton's historic district, will go toward the purchase of Odeon Hall for a cultural center.

A street dance, scheduled for 8 p.m., is being organized by and is a benefit for the Dayton Volunteer Fire Department.

The event is also sponsored by the Lyon County Tourism Authority.

Carson RV donated a cabover recreational unit to be raffled off. Tickets are $5 each. Local brothels, including the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, Sage Brush and Raha Corp., are providing prizes for the contests.

if you go

What: Santa Maria Day

When: Starts 11 a.m. , Saturday, Aug. 16

Where: Dayton's historic district

Information: Camille Meggerson at 246-8080


-- 11 a.m. - Flag ceremony, flea market, children's games and farmers market (tentative)

-- 12 noon - Wild West parade, booths, and the Joe Douglas train

-- 1:30 p.m. - Wild West show

-- 2 p.m. - Ultimate Outhouse Race

-- 3 p.m. - Fiddle-Off contest

-- 3:30 p.m. - Horseshoe tournament, lectures about Dayton's past in Odeon Hall

-- 8 p.m. - Street dance


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