New acts light up Cantaloupe Fest
Pigs, clowns, trains and grills … the 22nd annual Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair in Fallon had it all.
Festival Director Andrea Zeller said attendance numbers were about the same as last year, with the exception of Friday night’s Battle of the Bands competition, when numbers were higher than in the past.
The addition of the Western Express tractor-train traversing the festival grounds was a big hit, Zeller said, as was Cook’s Racing Pigs. One of the most popular additions this year was the kids’ bull-riding attraction.
“We could have sold mechanical bull rides for the adults,” Zeller laughed.
She said for a short time Saturday night the bull riding was open to adults, and the line filled fast.
Friday night’s Battle of the Bands 5 was moved this year to the main arena, a change that helped prevent the problems that arose last year.
“It was fabulous,” said Stephanie Hanks, owner of Jive ‘n’ Java and the event sponsor. She said extra reinforcements were brought in and more security hired to ensure everybody’s safety. Hanks estimated 200 to 250 people watched the band competition, some from the grandstands and some from the dirt section directly in front of the stage.
Five bands, all hand-picked by Hanks, played three songs and were judged by a panel of four musicians. The bands were judged on stage presence, musicianship and other criteria.
The winner of the competition was Dorcia of Reno. They walked away with the $500 first-place prize and a guitar donated by Premier Pawn. Second place went to Darque Carnival of Reno, which claimed $200 and an oil painting of The Beatles, also donated by Premier Pawn. Fallon band Serenity Overthrown took third place and $200.
“I just want to thank the community and the sheriff’s department for helping,” Hanks said Monday afternoon. “Without them, we couldn’t have done it.”
Sheriff Rich Ingram said there were no major disruptions at the competition, just a few unruly attendees. He said no arrests were made at the four-day festival.
“It was far enough removed from the rest of the festival that it helped contribute to our ability to control the crowd,” Ingram said.
The second annual Kent’s Supply Center Cantaloupe Chunkin’ Competition was held Saturday night in the main arena, a step up for the attraction that began last year with the fruit flung in the parking lot.
Zeller said this year’s chunkin’ contest was “huge,” and she is looking forward to promoting the event further in the future.
Zeller, who logged between 17 and 20 hours a day at the festival for four days, said it takes her 11 months to plan the event.
A tired and tanned Zeller was looking forward to taking three weeks off following the conclusion of the festival, she said Monday afternoon. She has been the festival director for five years.
“All the volunteers have been wonderful,” Zeller said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”
After a four-day flurry of events, though, Zeller isn’t resting on her laurels.
“I’m already starting to plan next year,” she said.