This year’s Fallon Cantaloupe Festival queen made her first official appearance Saturday in the annual Fourth of July parade.
Makenzee Moretto was selected last week as the newest member of royalty to promote the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair, Aug. 28-30, at the fairgrounds. Moretto, who was crowned at the Fallon Theatre, said the iconic venue also holds many memories for her as she attended many movies there with her friends and family.
Moretto graduated from Churchill County High School on May 29 in an unique drive-through ceremony and recently signed to play women’s basketball at Butte College, a small community college 14 miles southeast of Chico, Calif. The Fallon native, the daughter of Todd and Brandy Moretto, said she eventually wants to obtain her degree in elementary education.
As this year’s Fallon Cantaloupe Festival queen, the 18-year-old Moretto said she has fond memories of the annual event that showcases Fallon’s agricultural community.
“One of my favorite moments occurred two years ago at one of the concerts,” she said. “My friends were able to be on the stage.”
Moretto said a friend was able to get the guitar pick from one of the musicians. Over the past several years, she has also enjoyed the talents of Fallon’s own Sam Malcolm, the juggling comedian, and she likes the food such as potato swirls and ice cream dipped into a sliced cantaloupe.
Moretto knows the importance of the festival because of its promotion of cantaloupes and other agriculture found in the Lahontan Valley.
“It’s a big event for people in Fallon like the Farmers Market and the livestock show,” she said.
It’s that small town atmosphere that Moretto will miss once she leaves full-time for Butte College.
The crazy spring fueled by the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic cut Moretto’s softball season short, but she still retains memories from her previous high-school years when she played not only softball but competed in volleyball and on the 2019 girls basketball team the won the state 3A championship. She said the Otuafi cousins who played on that team definitely inspired her.
“Leta and Lena were my biggest influences,” Moretto said. “They pushed others to do better.”
Moretto said her teammates encouraged other players on and off the court and left a lasting work ethic.
In addition to her high-school classes, friends and sports, Moretto said she enjoys hunting and fishing in addition to camping at Lahontan Reservoir.