Onion Festival brings music to Mason Valley
Appeal Staff Writer
As he prepares for the more than 5,000 people who will flock to Mason Valley for the Onion Festival and Night in the Country, Travis Crowder still remembers what made it possible.
Six years ago, the Boys & Girls Club of Mason Valley decided to bring a country music act to play as a fundraiser. They booked Shenandoah and Highway 101 and were impressed with the turnout.
For their second year, the group chose Tracy Byrd, a decision which would catapult the event to what it is today.
“Tracy Byrd convinced us that we could do this and be successful with bigger acts. He was so genuine that he just took it to a higher level,” said Crowder, chief professional officer for the club. “When he took the stage and talked about the importance of the Boys and Girls Club, family and community, it got people excited.”
Byrd’s concert is credited with doubling attendance the following year, prompting organizers to expand the event to two days instead of one.
This year’s festival, scheduled for July 27-28, will feature Clear Blue 22 opening for Phil Vassar on Friday night and John Michael Montgomery opening for Blake Shelton on Saturday night.
Three years ago, the Mason Valley Onion Festival was added to broaden the entertainment offered during those two days. The festival features craft and food vendors and a Kids Zone, featuring bounce houses, climbing wall, boxing ring and Lego fun center.
The festival also includes an onion cookoff, with $500 for people’s choice winner and $1,000 for judges choice winner. State Sen. Mark Amodei, State Assemblyman Tom Grady and Lyon County Supervisor Bob Milz are slated to judge the cookoff, which is free to enter. The people’s choice tasting starts at noon and judging begins at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The annual onion pageant starts at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, with categories ranging from young children to adult.
Yet the biggest draw remains the country acts that grace the stage, which Crowder said, are made possible by the sponsors.
“In all honesty, the reason we are able to do this is the sponsors. They step it up for the kids and allow us to get these acts in,” Crowder said. “Our goal is to underwrite the acts with the sponsors so that everything we make from tickets goes to the clubs and service organizations.”
“We want an event that involves the entire community, and this is just a really good family event,” he said.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
If you go
What: Mason Valley Onion Festival and Night in the Country
When: July 27: Opens at 3 p.m.; 6 p.m. concert gates open; 7 p.m. concert starts
July 28: 7 a.m. Pancake breakfast; 10 a.m. gates open; noon onion cookoff tasting; 2 p.m. onion cookoff-judging begins; 4:30 p.m. onion pageant begins; 6 p.m. concert gates open; 7 p.m. concert starts
Where: Lyon County Fairgrounds,Yerington
Cost: $25 for one-night concert pass, $45 for both nights. There is no entry fee for the onion festival, but there is a $3 fee for parking. The Kid Zone is $5 for July 27 and $10 for July 28.
tickets: http://www.bgcmasonvalley.org or call (775) 463-5114 or (775) 463-2245.