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Pahrump Fall Festival kicks off tomorrow

After Nye County commissioners made the difficult decision in mid-2020 to cancel that year’s Fall Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials with both the county and town immediately embarked on a mission to make the next one the very best it could possibly be. Now, with many months of painstaking planning under their belts, event organizers are all geared up to host the 2021 Fall Festival.

“The town of Pahrump is so excited to be hosting the Fall Festival this year, it’s going to be a wonderful time for the whole family,” Pahrump Tourism Director Arlette Ledbetter told the Pahrump Valley Times. “We’re encouraging everyone, both residents and visitors to the area, to head over to Petrack Park to check out all of the fun, activities and entertainment, as well as the huge array of vendors who will be on site. Our team has put together what we believe will absolutely be one of the best fall festivals on record and we want the entire community to come out and have a great time with us. We’re ready for an amazing Fall Festival!” And with everything from a carnival to a car show, a rodeo, to live performances on stage and hot air balloons, to a vast lineup of vendors, there’s sure to be a little something for the whole family to enjoy.

It all kicks off tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 23 with the carnival rides and midways games opening at 5 p.m., offering pulse-pounding fun for the teens and adults as well as kiddie rides galore for the youngest of the Fall Festival attendees. The carnival is being provided by Paradise Amusements and tickets can be purchased at the festival for $35 per all-day pass.

Live entertainment will be included Thursday evening as well, with a variety of talented acts that are sure to please the crowd. In addition, attendees will have plenty of merchandise to browse from at the more than 180 vendors booths that will be set up all around the park.

The big excitement for Thursday is the much-anticipated Fall Festival Fireworks Show, which will be conducted by Zambelli Fireworks, the same purveyor that has provided Pahrump’s incredible fireworks spectaculars for the Fourth of July for many years running. This will be the very first time fireworks have been incorporated into the festival and though only low-level incendiary devices will be used for this particular show, to help prevent stress to the animals arriving for the rodeo, the pyrotechnic display will undoubtedly be well worth a trip down to the park and seems a fitting way in which to open the 2021 Fall Festival. The fireworks are set to go off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and the festival will continue on into the night, with no set closing time as the activities will keep on going until the crowds thin.

Friday morning the event will start back up bright and early with another new feature of the festival, hot air balloons. Balloon pilots from all around the country will be in the valley for the Fall Festival and they have plans to launch not only Friday morning but the mornings of Saturday and Sunday as well. The hot air balloons will take to the skies around sunrise each day, weather permitting, and while there is just no comparison to being in the park itself up close to these enormous aircraft, even those who don’t make it out to the park during the launches will be able to enjoy the scene as the balloons drift serenely above the town.

Vendors are scheduled to start opening their stands at 9 a.m. on Friday and by 11 a.m., the Arts and Crafts exhibit inside the Bob Ruud Community Center and the live entertainment will be up and ready to go as well. With students set to be in school on Friday, the carnival will open later in the afternoon at 3 p.m. and the first of the Nevada Western Heritage rodeos will take place that night. Tickets for the rodeo are $10 each and can be purchased at the gate to the rodeo grounds at McCullough Arena. Rodeo gates open at 6 p.m. with the cowboys and cowgirls set to show off their skills beginning at 7 p.m. The festival will continue until midnight on Friday, with the exception of the Arts and Crafts display, which will close at 6 p.m.

Saturday, which has always seen the largest festival crowds, will be the big day for the Fall Festival. Thousands of people, both residents and visitors out for a good time, will descend upon the park for a full day that is jam-packed with happenings.

Saturday will commence with a colorful menagerie in the sky as the hot air balloon pilots make their way up to mingle with the clouds, and those watching the launch will then have ample time to stake out a good location from which to watch the day’s next major activity, the Pahrump Fall Festival Parade.

Participants in the parade will gather around 6 a.m. to begin lining up and for those in the competition to ready themselves for the judging, which will take place from 7 to 7:45 a.m. Winners will be announced prior to the parade and award banners and trophies handed out so they can be proudly displayed.

Highway 160 will close along the parade route at 8 a.m. on Saturday and the parade is scheduled to start its march down the highway from Oxbow Avenue to Dandelion Street at 9 a.m. It is expected to include dozens of entries of all kinds, including floats, vehicles, horses and more. With the Fall Festival theme this year being “Stars and Stripes”, there is sure to be great deal of patriotic flair showcased as the procession makes it way down the highway flanked with enthusiastic parade-goers.

Both vendors and the car show will open at 9 a.m. Saturday morning as well. The car show is planned to run until about 4:30 p.m. This feature of the festival also includes an element of competition, with the vehicles set to be formally judged and awards to be announced beginning at 3:45 p.m.

There will be a blind-draw, non-sanctioned horseshoe tournament on Saturday, too, giving horseshoe pitchers the chance for some competitive fun. Anyone interested in playing in the non-sanctioned tournament on Saturday must be signed in by 10:30 a.m. The contest will take place at the horseshoe pit located on the north side of the Pahrump Community Pool. Entry costs $15 per person.

At 11 a.m. live entertainment will start rocking the stage and the Arts and Crafts exhibit will also open. The carnival kicks off at noon on Saturday and the rodeo will take place again at 7 p.m. All activities will go until midnight, with the exception of Arts and Crafts, which will again close at 6 p.m.

Sunday will be the fourth and final day for the Pahrump Fall Festival and town officials noted that this will be “Family Day”. At sunrise, hot air balloons will make their ascent once more and vendors will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Nevada Horseshoe Pitchers Association will host a singles, sanctioned horseshoe tournament, with sign-up to be completed by 9 a.m. The cost for the sanctioned tournament will be $15 per player. The Arts and Crafts show will then open its doors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and entertainment will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The carnival rides will start whirling at noon and continue until the crowds have depleted.

A full list of the performers to provide the live entertainment, including show times, and additional information on the event can be found online at www.visitpahrump.com

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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