It's almost that time again when Northern Nevadans head up the hill to Virginia City for the annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry.
Rich Crombie of NV Shows invites intrepid taste testers to "come have a ball in Virginia City," and promises the 20th annual event on March 12 will be bigger and better than ever this year.
"Last year it was very crowded at the Bucket of Blood parking lot, so for safety and the ability to grow the event, we moved it to the festival grounds of the Delta Saloon," Crombie said.
"It was a mob scene last year, and we expect a huge crowd again this year. We've got new booths this year and new people coming in for the competition," he said.
The event kicks off at
10 a.m. as the ovens come on, and contestants will be serving to the public starting at about 11 a.m., he said.
The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on C Street starts at noon. Dishes are judged at 12:30, and the awards ceremony is at 3 p.m.
This annual tradition features both amateur and professional cooks, whose special recipes and dishes feature the unique flavors and textures of Rocky Mountain oysters (beef testicles, often referred to as beef fries), Crombie said.
All entries will be judged to win a $500 cash prize and bragging rights for best overall taste, and $250 each will be awarded to the best in categories of most creative dish, best presentation and best booth.
Crombie said there will be plenty of fun and family-
oriented activities going on throughout the day including the parade, face painting, street magicians, living legends, balloon animals and lots to eat.
The event is free, but samples of cook's recipes will be sold for $1 each. Dishes can be fried, baked, roasted, sauteed, barbequed, steamed, diced, sliced, battered or stewed.
"The cooks get really creative, and not only do they work diligently to come up with the winning dish, the teams really get into the spirit of the event with quirky costumes and team names, fun-themed decorations and a lively atmosphere," he said.
"They'll cook up a huge batch and continue cooking throughout the day, but they'll make up a special plate for the judging at 12:30, which will be upstairs in the Delta," Crombie said.
"We're just hoping the weather will cooperate. We're hoping for a nice spring day for our parade and contest. We anticipate a lot of people coming up for a lot of fun," he said.