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Churchill County’s grand weekend

Christine Kuklica
ckuklica@lahontanvalleynews.com
Vicky Eckert, left, and Rory Litch display a quilt that will be raffled on Monday during the final day of the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair. This is the 13th year for raffling a community quilt by the Hearts of Gold quilters. The quilt, Painted Desert, is the work of Kathy Valladon.
STEVE RANSON / LVN |

Nevada’s longest agricultural event begins this afternoon at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.

The annual Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair, which merged earlier this year with the Country Fair, celebrates its 30th anniversary with a variety of events and activities for the Labor Day weekend.

The Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair begins at 5 p.m. on a four-day run.

“Despite the drought we’ve been suffering through this year, we are going to have an awesome farmers market,” said Rick Lattin, farmer and festival committee member. “There will be quite a selection of different produce and cantaloupe products for attendees to indulge in. We’re excited about some of the new items we’ll be offering this year.”

Lattin also said he is pleased the two events, the festival and fair, are now one event. Because of that, he said the annual event is focusing on agriculture and families this year.

“The Country Fair adds to the event, and I think we’ll have a great turnout this year,” he said. “Overall the festival is to celebrate our community’s heritage.”

The festival features entertainers such as musical groups and Civil War re-enactors, a 4-H show, produce stands, vendors’ booths of all sorts, arts and crafts and exhibits.

The popular festival that draws thousands of visitors every year was inspired by the rich farm land of Fallon and Churchill County and the produce grown on it. Since its inception in 1986, the festival has undergone many changes since the first visitors attended the event 30 years ago.

The festival has a $5 admission fee for seniors, adults and teens. Children under 10 years of age get in for free. The festival has slightly different hours for the weekend: the Cantaloupe Festival is open Friday from 5 p.m.-midnight, Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-midnight and Monday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The County Fair is open Friday from 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

In addition, the Labor Day weekend is busy with other events:

The Fallon Lions Club Junior Rodeo begins Saturday with its first performance at 8 a.m. at the fairgrounds arena. The second go-around is Sunday at 8 a.m., and the Top 10 concludes the three days of rodeo action at 11 a.m. on Monday morning. Events include barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, team roping, figure 8, run ride lead, steer riding, mutton busting, dummy roping, chute dogging and calf roping.

The Lions Club Labor Day Parade is one of the oldest in Nevada. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and follows a route heading north on Taylor Street to the Homestead, west to the American Legion and back to Williams Avenue. The final stretch is south of Maine Street to the middle school.

This year’s parade marshal is Dr. Stuart Richardson, a Fallon optometrist.

Tom Lammel, one of the parade organizers for the Lions Club, said will be eight announcer booths will cover the length of the parade route, and each announcer will introduce the entries.

“We’re expecting a good turn out this year; it’s a great parade,” Lammel said.

Prior to the parade is the Kiwanis Club breakfast that begins at 6:30 a.m. in

the parking lot between Picture This and E.H. Hursh Insurance. The Kiwanis breakfast is $6.50 for adults and $3.50 for children.

Gov. Brian Sandoval will attend both the breakfast and parade, and Sen. Dean Heller will ride in the parade.

Meanwhile, the Churchill County Parks and Recreation Department announced its annual Nevada State Championship Mud Volleyball Tournament has been cancelled because of a lack of teams.