A LEGACY WITH LAYERS: THE VIDALIA® ONION MUSEUM GRAND OPENING
May 01, 2011
Soon Vidalia onion enthusiasts around the country will be able to explore the history of Georgia’s beloved state vegetable and the growing region that has made it so famous with the official opening of the Vidalia Onion Museum on Friday, April 29, 2011. The noon event is slated to include high-profile chefs and offers attendees a fascinating look into what makes the Vidalia onion so special.
“We have worked for five years to unearth each unique layer of the Vidalia onion story and then portray those layers creatively for visitors,” says Vidalia® Onion Committee Executive Director and Museum Chairperson Wendy Brannen. “When we first hired a museum consultant, they asked, ‘Really, an onion museum?’ But they quickly realized we’re not just any onion, and this isn’t just any story!” Brannen adds.
The museum is housed in the same building as the Vidalia Onion Committee, Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and Vidalia® Onion Business Council and gives guests a truly unforgettable interactive experience. The 1,300-square-foot space is filled with an array of educational exhibits that highlight the sweet onion’s economic, cultural and culinary significance. Exhibits include:
• “Pioneers, Problems and Promise”—This exhibit takes guests through the Vidalia onion’s humble beginnings. From Depression-era pioneers who began growing onions seeking a new cash cow to the first modern marketers who began selling Vidalia processed products like sauces and salad dressings, guests will learn how the onion’s “sweet” history started.
• “Recipe for a Vidalia Onion”— With a vast hand-painted 3D mural on display, this exhibit shows guests exactly what makes America’s favorite sweet onion so sweet.
• “Protecting a Name and its Fame”—This exhibit tells the story of the onion’s fight for its name. Visitors will learn about the struggle and steps taken to ensure the integrity of the real Vidalia onion.
• “A Year-Round Job”—This exhibit gives guests a glimpse into what it takes to produce these prized onions each year. From planting to picking and all that happens in between, Vidalia onion farmers have the harvesting down to a science.
• “Onion Town”—Paying homage to the town for which the vegetable was named, this exhibit notes how the city celebrates the onion. From festivals and cook-offs to beauty queens and cookbooks, the city of Vidalia incorporates the vegetable into everything it does. Visitors will also learn about the economic impact the Vidalia onion has on the state.
Vidalia Onion Museum Opening Release/ add one
• “Vidalias in Pop Culture”—This exhibit gives guests the scoop on Vidalia’s popularity across the country and across time. From playing a part in CSI:Miami to being featured in bestselling books, the Vidalia onion has truly been the star of the show.
• “Modern Marketing”—This exhibit walks visitors along the Vidalia onion’s marketing route over the years. From the first farmers’ word-of-mouth method to a 2010 partnership with DreamWorks Animation, the onion’s ever-growing popularity proves there has always been something to talk about.
• “On the Menu”—This exhibit includes information about the many celebrities who have voiced their love for Vidalia onions. Visitors will find out what folks like Julia Child, Bobby Flay and even the Clintons have to say about the sweet onion pioneer.
• “Sweet World for Kids”—This hands-on exhibit was created with kids in mind. The museum’s youngest visitors will get the chance to learn about the production of Vidalia onions as well as meet Yumion, the colorful mascot who is so popular he has his own Facebook page and book line.
• “Living Exhibit”—This exhibit allows guests to see the real thing actually growing in the smallest registered Vidalia onion field right in front of the museum.
In addition to the excitement of the museum’s grand opening, the Vidalia Onion Festival takes place that same weekend. Guests are encouraged to take part in all of the fun festivities including pageants, parades, concerts, car shows, onion-eating contests and arts and crafts. For more information about all of the festival events, visit http://www.vidaliaonionfestival.com.
The Vidalia Onion Museum is located at 100 Vidalia Sweet Onion Drive and will open to the public on Friday, April 29 at 3 p.m. The museum’s regular operating hours will be Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with Saturday hours available for tours. For more information, visit http://www.vidaliaonion.org or call 912-537-1918.
The Vidalia® Onion Committee was established in 1989 as Federal Marketing Order No. 955. The order authorizes production research, marketing research and development, and marketing promotion programs. The VOC administers the order locally and consists of eight producer members and their alternates and one public member and an alternate. More information about the Vidalia® Onion industry may be obtained at VidaliaOnion.org.
"The only thing better than the onions in Vidalia is the people. They’re great cooks, and friendly."- Chef Bobby Flay, "Postcard from Vidalia, Georgia" Bobby Flay Cooks American