No sense crying over tossed onions

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In Mason Valley, onions aren't a garnish. They're the main event.

They'll be used for throwing, decorating, basketball and relay and sack races during the second annual Mason Valley Onion Festival, a celebration of one of the main crops in the Mason Valley.

The festival and the fifth annual Night in the Country concert have merged into a weekend of fun July 28 and 29 at the Lyon County Fairgrounds on Highway 95A East, 2.5 miles outside of Yerington.

Organizer Robert McKenrick said last year's first onion festival drew about 2,500, and 5,000 people attended the Night in the Country concert, which benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Mason Valley.

This year's concert features country star Neal McCoy, country girl group SHeDAISY and singer Rockie Lynne.

At the onion festival, the vegetable that stings eyes will be the featured attraction for many sports, including an onion soup dunk tank McKendrick is trying to get victims, er, volunteers to man.

"We will feature some of the town's muckey-mucks," he said. "We're also trying to get a couple of guys from KBUL to do it." The country radio station, KBUL 98.1 FM, is one of the festival sponsors.

About 40 vendors are expected for the festival and the Rotary Club will hold a duck race on the Walker River.

An onion-decorating contest and cookoff will attract the creative folk, and the more competitive can enjoy the onion basketball, sack race and throw.

"The onion throw is a baseball throw, and we'll use a speed gun to see how fast they can throw it," McKenrick said.

The activities won't be without color as yellow, white and red onions will be used in the events, McKenrick said.

The Night in the Country concert actually spans two nights. Reno country bands Rick Hayes and American Steel and Clear Blue 22 will be in the spotlight on July 28. McCoy, SHeDAISY and Rockie Lynn will perform July 29.

Travis Crowder of the Boys and Girls Club said tickets for the July 29 show are nearly sold out.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@ or 882-2111 ext. 351.

If you go

WHAT: Mason Valley Onion Festival & Night in the Country Concerts

WHEN: July 28-29

WHERE: Lyon County Fairgrounds, Highway 95A, Yerington

Cost: Free for the Onion Festival; $5 for Friday night concert; $20 advance or $25 at the gate for Saturday concert.

CALL: (775) 463-5114



3 p.m.

• Vendors and crafters open

• Miss Onion pageant

• Petting zoo opens

5 p.m.

• Gates open for Night in the Country show featuring Rick Hayes and American Steel and Clear Blue 22. Show begins at 6 p.m.

• Onion basketball

• Yerington High School dance team

• Onion soup dunk tank

• Onion decorating contest

6:30 p.m.

• Onion sack race


6 a.m.

• Pancake Breakfast

• Tour de Cebolla bicycle race

8 a.m.

• Golf Tournament

• Onion basketball (throughout the day)

• Onion pass

9 a.m.

• Slo-pitch softball tournament

10 a.m.

• Onion cookoff

• Mud Volleyball

• Petting zoo

• Guess how many?

• Onion soup dunk tank

• Onion decorating contest

5 p.m.

• Gates open for Night in the Country show with Neal McCoy, SHeDAISY and Rockie Lynn. Show begins at 6 p.m.


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