The weekend’s annual Fallon Cantaloupe Festival & Country Fair — along with the Lions Junior Rodeo and parade and the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast — smashed a home run as thousands of residents and visitors attended the four-day event.
Starting with the Love and Theft concert on Friday night to the closing of the exhibits on Monday, many attendees have remarked about the quality of the festival and the number of different exhibits, especially the ones that families enjoyed such as the agriculture-related activities. One person from Carson City even remarked how much better the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival was compared to this year’s Nevada State Fair, which was resurrected for the first time in six years. Ironically, the very first Nevada State Fair opened in Fallon more than 100 years ago but later moved westward to Reno before disbanding in 2010.
It’s been a long time when the cantaloupe festival and other events welcomed this large of a crowd. Additionally, scores of vendors set up their tents and stands, while next door at the arena, the junior rodeo attracted a good number of young cowboys and cowgirls, the most in a long stretch.
Hundreds turned out for the breakfast, and the Lions Club accepted many applicants for one of the state’s oldest parades. The various events couldn’t have been done without the dedication of a committee determined to make this year’s festival one of the best in recent memory.
While some talk surfaced during the weekend about moving the festival up one week to avoid conflicts with other events in Reno, Virginia City and beyond, old-timers said a move occurred more than 20 years ago with not so great results. We also saw what major changes did to the festival when the country fair separated into its own event in 2008 for a handful of years — neither had great years because the festival and fair split the attendance and activities.
If the festival and related activities last weekend saw a big improvement from 2015, why not focus on how to make this one of the top events during the Labor Day weekend and make it the place to be? The different activities spread over four days gave the Cantaloupe Festival a feel of a great country-type fair … not too small and not too large with something for everyone. Another visitor remarked how the festival reminded her of the hometown fairs in her native South Dakota, while the Labor Day parade offered a glimpse into Fallon’s community involvement.
For the time, though, let’s offer congratulations to the festival’s committee, the Lions and Kiwanis and the community for making this Labor Day one for the memory books.
LVN Editorials appear on Wednesdays.