The play on words is endless for Virginia City’s 26th annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry, taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 11 in the heart of the historic mining town. The “oysters” consumed at this festival are the land variety, meaning bull or sheep testicles. Each year, the town goes nuts over these delicacies and hosts more than a dozen cooks who come to compete for the title of “Best Oyster Fry Cook in the West.”
Other events taking place throughout the day include the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Ball Breaker Saloon Crawl, where attendees get into the Irish spirit and dress in their most outlandish green garb. A costume contest and Irish music enhances the celebratory atmosphere.
“This is our first major event of the season,” said Deny Dotson, tourism director for the Virginia City Tourism Commission. “It always draws a great crowd which is good news for our merchants as we climb out of some pretty rough winter weather.”
More than a dozen cooks from around the region compete in the event, serving up fried, chopped, grilled or sautéed steer testicles for a variety of flavorful combinations. Cooks compete for Best Overall Taste, Best Presentation, Most Creative Dish and People’s Choice, as well as bragging rights. This year’s event offers up doubled cash prizes for winning cooks with the Best Overall Taste awarded $1,000.
Tasting tickets start at $5 for three samples or 10 samples for $12, prices for advance online purchases. To sweeten the pot, every Flight of 10 purchased in advance online receives a $5 apparel credit to be used at the event.
The Ball Breaker Saloon Crawl, presented by Virginia City’s Cemetery Gin, takes place at Virginia City’s various saloons offering samples and discounted beer and specialty drinks throughout the day. Purchase a cup for $20 in advance online or $25 at the event.
The Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry is sponsored by Dolan Automotive Group, New West Distributing and Camelot Party Rentals.
For information, go to VisitVirginiaCityNV.com, or call the Virginia City Tourism Commission at 775-847-7500.