The Fallon Cantaloupe Festival & Country Fair over Labor Day weekend is fast approaching with longtime traditions remaining strong.
The festival takes place at the Churchill County Fairgrounds and includes a rodeo, parade, farmers market and a broad spectrum of shows, experiences and cantaloupe.
Events run Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight and Monday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The long-running Kiwanis Club breakfast with all-you-can-eat pancakes and more will precede the 66th annual Fallon Lions Club parade, both taking place Labor Day morning.
The breakfast will open at 6 a.m. with its spread of pancakes, eggs, ham, coffee and cantaloupe. The meal will be served between Picture This! and E.H. Hursh on South Maine Street. Adults are $6.50 and children under 12 are $3.50.
The fundraiser is one of the club’s biggest of the year and can draw politicians seeking the rural Nevada vote.
The Lions Club parade and junior rodeo both predate the festival, and the parade is one of the oldest in Nevada. This year’s theme is “celebrating Seasons that Bring Life to Churchill County.” Organizers said they choose a theme pertinent to Fallon, and this year’s reflects the upswing in water compared to the last four years.
The grand marshal is Ernie Schank, president of the board of directors for the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District for 20 years. Schank, born in Fallon, calls himself “a Churchill County farmer” but has also served as a leader in organizations fighting for water rights on the local and federal stage. He and his wife, Carmen, have four children.
The parade has between 80-100 entries so far. There will be wards given out in categories such as most creative, best use of theme, best mounted individual and best antique farm implement.
Participants start lining up before 10 a.m. near Churchill County Junior High between Taylor and Virginia Streets. They wind through downtown Fallon to end on Maine Street near the Churchill County Middle School.
The Lions Club’s junior rodeo spotlights ages 18 and younger. It will run from approximately 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with the top 10 on Monday at 11 a.m.
Tom Lammel, longtime Fallon Lions Club member, said it’s great to see such young cowboys and cowgirls out roping the dummies or riding a sheep — instead of a bull.
The mud volleyball tournament, a Labor Day weekend favorite for more than 20 years, has returned to the festival for ages 16 and older with 10 people to a team. Teams are also required to have an equal number of men and women.
Matches will be Saturday from about 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The three-game guaranteed tournament will be in the mud pit east of the festival’s main area.
Team registration and the $150 entry fee are due by Aug. 26, which results in guaranteed event T-shirts. The price goes up $10 after and the new deadline is Sept. 2 at noon. Prizes are $400 for first place, $200 for second and $100 for third. A trophy will go to the winner of the consolation bracket. Interested players are to call 775-423-7733.
Country star duo Love and Theft will also perform on opening night and other bands that will play over the weekend are Adrenaline, musician Byron Sorensen, the Journey tribute band Evolution as well as Mark and Friends. Love and Theft tickets are on sale and VIP packages are available.
Tickets may purchased online at http://falloncantaloupefestival.tix.com, or for general admission at Fallon Ford-Toyota and CC Communications.
Festival admission tickets are $5 (ages 10 and older) and pre-purchased weekend passes are available for $10. Parking is free.