2018 Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and County Fair features plenty of fun Aug. 23-26 | NevadaAppeal.com

2018 Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and County Fair features plenty of fun Aug. 23-26

Claire Cudahy
ccudahy@tahoedailytribune.com

"Festival Fun on a Budget" is the theme for Thursday's activities as a way to ensure everyone can have a fun -- and affordable -- time at this year's festival.

FALLON, Nev. — Nevada's longest-running agricultural festival returns to Fallon this week, bringing with it a host of musical entertainment, family fun and heritage.

Starting Thursday, Aug. 23, the four-day Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and County Fair kicks off at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.

The festival began in 1985 and celebrates Churchill County's famed Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe. With demand on the rise, the melons were grown in large quantities in the 1920s and 1930s and shipped around the county.

However, a crash in the market saw the once thriving crop replaced by alfalfa. Thankfully, six Chinese immigrant families kept the Hearts of Gold in production, allowing for the eventual revival of the fruit across the county.

“It’s where you can come with your whole family and enjoy the day.”Kim Klenakis

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Today, the festival honors the region's agricultural heritage through a variety of cantaloupe-inspired goods, including cantaloupe daiquiris, cantaloupe beer from Great Basin Brewing Company, cantaloupe ice cream and more from over 70 vendors.

"If you're a first-time goer, it's a great event to go to because it really captures small town America and that feeling we all want to have," said Kim Klenakis, festival board secretary. "It's where you can come with your whole family and enjoy the day."

Agricultural education displays — including up-close-and-personal interactions with cows, chickens, goats, donkeys and other livestock — from the Churchill County Farm Bureau, Churchill County 4-H, Churchill County FFA, local beekeepers, Truckee-Carson Irrigation District, Nevada Department of Agriculture and Churchill County Museum will offer plenty of fun for children of all ages.

"New this year, we have the Nascar experience coming to the festival," said Klenakis. "A group is bringing a Nascar racecar that simulates what it's like to race around a track at those speeds."

Other family-friendly activities include the Discovering Science tent, Kent's Corn Hole Classic on Saturday (featuring a $500 first-place prize), a greased pig chase and a slew of country fair games.

Schoeppner Shows Carnival is bringing 14 rides and a midway. On Thursday, rides cost just a dollar, and entry to the festival is half-price.

"The festival is continuing in its traditions. We have a whole bunch of activities for people of all ages and some really great entertainment acts," said Zip Upham, president of the festival committee.

On Friday, AC/DC tribute band Noise Pollution headlines at 8 p.m. after Reno-based Metal Echo opens at 7 p.m. The Country Artists Tribute Show hits the stage on Saturday at 8 p.m. with Eric Church, George Strait and Taylor Swift impersonators.

Throughout the weekend, other entertainers will take the stage, including juggling comedian Sam Malcolm, magician Dennis Kyriakos and ventriloquist Steve Chaney.

"The festival exists because it's still relevant and people still find it fun and exciting," said Klenakis. "And we would just encourage everybody to come from wherever they are hanging out and enjoy the festival."

Weekend passes at the gate are $15 for ages 11 and up, $6 for children 3-10, and free for children under 3 years of age. Day admission at the gate is $8 for ages 11 and up and $2 for children ages 3-10.

You can also save $3 per ticket by purchasing weekend passes online at falloncantaloupefestival.com or locally in Fallon at CC Communications and the Fallon Food Hub.

Plenty of food options on tap this year

Many food, beverage and product vendors are on hand annually for the Cantaloupe Festival & Country Fair, and this year will be no different, with over 70 vendors on tap for the event. Below is a list of booths that will be selling cantaloupe-themed products at the 2018 festival. Go to falloncantaloupefestival.com/vendors for full details.

Cantaloupe food & beverage items:

• Fresh cantaloupe from Lattin Farms, Rau Bees and First Fruits Sustainable Farms.

In the Dry Gulch:

• Cantaloupe beer from Great Basin Brewery in the Elks Beer Garden.

• Cantaloupe daiquiris from Troy’s Double Shot Bar — these have been served at the festival annually for over 30 years.

Other food items:

• Soft serve cantaloupe ice cream and cantaloupe crepes from the Running Iron Cafe.

• Hawaiian barbecue with cantaloupe-infused marinade, cantaloupe ice candy (Popsicles) and cantaloupe juice with bobba from Fast-Hawaii BBQ.

• Ice cream — including cantaloupe filled with vanilla ice cream or cantaloupe ice cream — and the Oasis Cantaloupe Ice Cream Sandwich from The Creamery Premium Ice Cream.

• Cantaloupe shaved ice from Rick’s Shaved Ice.

• Sweet cantaloupe bread and cantaloupe bread with a praline top from One Bite at a Time.

• Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe jam and cantaloupe bread from Lattin Farms.

• Mexican fruit bowls with cantaloupe from Rincon Latino.

• Melon antipasto from Peace Love and Waffles.

• Smoked pulled pork street taco with choice of barbecue sauce and topped with cantaloupe salsa from Skinny’s BBQ.

• More cantaloupe-flavored ice cream from Bubba Bob’s.

Non food cantaloupe items:

• Country Cantaloupe Soap with Himalayan sea salt, Cantaloupe Glycerin Soap with sea salt & loofa, and Country Cantaloupe Glycerin & Shea Soap from Magdoodles.

• Cantaloupe crocheted items from SonShine Gifts.

• Laser-engraved Cantaloupe Festival signs from GGW Laser Engraving and Cutting.

• Cantaloupe-scented soap, bath bombs, shower steamers, lotion bars, beard oil, and salt soak from Gravel Pit Creations

• Cantaloupe lip balm from Rau Bees

• Cantaloupe Festival themed photo booth by Stephanie Winder Photography