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EC gearing up for Potato Festival

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The Big Idaho Potato, a 72-foot tractor-trailer rig that features a six-ton replica of an Idaho potato, will be on display at next weekend's N.C. Potato Festival in Elizabeth City. The giant potato is a promotion by the Idaho Potato Commission.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, May 12, 2018

North Carolina’s potato-growing friends in Idaho are making a big — six tons, in fact — appearance at next weekend’s N.C. Potato Festival in Elizabeth City.

The Big Idaho Potato, a 72-foot tractor-trailer rig that features a six-ton replica of an Idaho potato, is a promotion by the Idaho Potato Commission. The potato truck will be a new attraction at this year’s festival which gets underway on Friday and continues daily through Sunday.

It’s one more way to keep the potato at the heart of the Potato Festival, organizers say.

Of course, the free hot french fries while they last on Saturday are always a big hit. Another popular annual  feature is the National Potato-Peeling Contest, which begins Saturday at 10 a.m.

As of Friday there were some eight teams that had signed up for the contest, but Tim Williams, one of the festival organizers, noted teams sign up right to the last minute. He said he expects about as many teams as usual.

“Most things are tracking about like normal,” Williams said.

Residents should notice amusement rides start being constructed on Tuesday.

There will be a couple of new food vendors this year. In all, more than 100 food and arts and crafts vendors are expected for the festival.

“We’re doing the wristbands a little differently this year,” Williams said, referring to ride wristbands issued to those who want to spend their time at the festival riding rides.

A wristband for Friday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. will cost $20, as will the Sunday wristband, which is good from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Saturday, though, there are two options: a matinee wristband for $15 that is good from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or an all-day wristband for $25 that is good from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Each ride will require 2-5 tickets, which are $1 each.

In additional to local music favorites such as Little Dickie & the Misfits, Connected, Uphill and Bobby Plough, a number of up-and-coming national and regional bands also will be performing at the festival.

R&B singer-songwriter Lucia Valentine from West Virginia will perform at 6:30 p.m. for Saturday’s street dance, followed by the TFC Band performing classic Motown and other party music at 8 p.m.

Other bands scheduled to perform at the Potato Festival this year are Violet Bell, an Americana duo from Durham; The Wildmans, a mountain string band from Virginia that combines traditional bluegrass with contemporary sounds; Delta Son, an alt country and roots rock band from High Point; Amasa Hines, a rock and soul band from Little Rock, Arkansas; Sarajane McDonald & Sweetfire, a country and country-rock band from Virginia.

“There are some pretty good music acts this year lined up,” Williams said.

More information about this year’s potato festival is available at www.ncpotatofestival.com or the festival’s Facebook page.

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