30th annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry returns to Nevada mountain town in an all-new COVID-friendly format, March 13, 2021


Virginia City, Nevada, has never shied away from talking about balls. That’s because every year it hosts the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry, a festive celebration of its Irish and Basque roots and an all-out St. Patrick’s Day party like no other. For 2021, the 30th annual Oyster Fry is completely restructured to accommodate COVID-19 safety precautions and is set for Saturday, March 13 in historic Virginia City from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Rather than the usual all-out street party, this year ticket holders enjoy a sampling tour of the historic town, tasting tasty testes and specialty-themed drinks along the way.

Often referred to as the “testicle festival,” the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry celebrates St. Patrick’s Day along with brave souls who are willing to partake in the delicacy. With occupancy restrictions still in place in Nevada, this new format will allow for a select and brave few to attend this in-demand celebration.

“Last year we had to cancel the Oyster Fry the day before due to the pandemic shutdowns so we’re looking forward to bringing it back, albeit in a different way than we have before,” Deny Dotson, tourism director for Virginia City Tourism Commission, said. “In normal years, this event kicks off the northern Nevada event season and brings a much needed boost to our local businesses that struggle through the winter months. We’re optimistic that our new revamped festival will allow for our businesses to be more involved and to support them during what has been an extremely tough year. We’re confident that the changes we’ve made this year are going to make for a safe and fun return of one of our most popular celebrations.”

In order to accommodate current state COVID-19 guidelines, the 2021 Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry takes participants on a tour of the town, with the beef fry samples at various locations including restaurants, saloons and merchants. For $45, ticket holders receive a tasting ticket for each of the 10 testicle samples, as well as and additional 15 locations serving up alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages and a variety of treats. To adhere to occupancy guidelines in place, a limited number of tickets are available.

The sampling begins at 10 a.m. At noon, the St. Patrick’s Day Cruise rolls down C Street where anyone is invited to join in the fun, decorate their vehicles and drive down the town’s main drag. Walking groups, congregating along the boardwalk and tossing of candy is prohibited.

Tickets to the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry are limited and are on sale now online. Tickets will be sold in advance only, no walk-ups or day-of sales.

All visitors and residents are required to adhere to current State of Nevada guidelines to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. This includes wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and washing hands. Virginia City and its businesses have put in place extra precautions and measures to adhere to all current guidelines, however, these activities are subject to change based on the current environment.

For more information on Virginia City, Nevada, and the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry, visit VisitVirginiaCityNV.com.

A short 30-minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport takes visitors to one of the largest historic districts in the Unites States – Virginia City, Nevada. Come experience this mining “boomtown” as it was in the 1800’s. Step back in time while visiting the numerous historic buildings, saloons, churches and museums or take a mine tour or even ride a real steam train. The Comstock Adventure Passes offer the best value with discounted attraction packages.  For lodging, event calendar or Comstock Adventure Passes, visit online or call 775-847-7500. The Visitor Information Center is located at 86 South C Street, Virginia City.