This spud’s for you: Potato Day returns for 112th year in Carbondale
What: 112th annual Potato Day
Where: Sopris Park, Carbondale
When: Oct. 2, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sopris Park in Carbondale will return to its spuddy roots on Saturday as Potato Day returns for its 112th annual celebration.
Following a condensed celebration last year, 2021’s edition will follow a theme of resurfacing, dubbing this year’s celebration “Tuber Renaissance,” referencing the part of the potato that stems out of the ground and bears buds. Many of the in-person events that were scrapped last year have returned as some challenges of the pandemic improve.
“We’re not out of the COVID-scene yet, but we’re trying to re-emerge,” Carbondale Parks and Recreation Director Eric Brendinger said. “The renaissance of the tuber. We’re trying to make sure people are safe, obviously, but coming out of the pandemic is something that will be like a renaissance. If we can celebrate that with a potato, more power to us.”
The day starts with a 1-mile “Tater Trot” fun run at 8:30 a.m., starting at Plaza Park and ending on Fourth Street. At 9 a.m., the end-of-season farmers’ market will sell fresh produce and cottage farm food, plus local artisan products. The market will run until 3 p.m.
Also at 9 a.m., a scavenger hunt for kids kicks off. The hunt will be limited to 12 groups, and preregistration is required. A $5 fee per team covers the cost of a Mr./Mrs. Potato Head for contestants, which will be utilized in the hunt.
The Potato Day parade returns at 10:30 a.m., with prizes awarded based on theme relevance, originality, workmanship and crowd appeal.
Potato Day’s highlight — the barbecue and baked potato lunch — begins at 11:30 a.m. in the park. Food for the barbecue pit will be provided from Nieslanik Beef, Sustainable Settings and Highwater farm.
Tickets for the lunch are $10 each. In the midst of the pandemic, it will look different than it has in years past. Servers would load up plates with potatoes and meats, but this year will be more compartmentalized.
“You get a picnic-lunch sack — elementary school lunch sack — and there will be tables with different elements, and you build your picnic bag,” Brendinger said. “It’s going to be more of a picnic, sack-lunch, take it wherever you want to go.”
To accompany the lunch, live music will be performed by Pam and Dan Music followed by the Red Hill Rollers.
The youth Gymkhana rodeo will start at 2 p.m. at the Gus Darien Rodeo Grounds.
A pre-event potato decorating contest is already underway. Through Friday, participants are asked to decorate a potato in one of four categories — Renaissance Potato, Most Representative of Carbondale, Most Creative and “Totally Tubular,” which is skateboard, surfboard or snowboard based. Submissions can be sent to Facebook.com/CarbondaleAnnualPotatoDay.
Tables and activities will be spaced out to accommodate social distancing.
More information is available at Carbondale.com/event/potato-day-parade-celebration/.
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