Tater time: Potato Festival begins tonight

051619 Potato Fest Setup
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Jim King (left), Brendan Rosa and Augustine Mendez on Wednesday piece together the track for the Dragon Coaster, one of the popular returning rides at this weekend's Potato Festival that gets underway today in Elizabeth City's downtown and waterfront areas.

051719 Potato Festival

By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Friday, May 17, 2019

Tonight, visitors to downtown Elizabeth City will be treated to a spectacle of rides and games, sweet and savory foods, live music and local crafts, and much more.

That's right: it's Potato Festival time.

The N.C. Potato Festival starts at 5:30 p.m., with an opening ceremony and kick-off party at the main stage at the corner of Main and Water streets. Festivities run through 11 p.m. tonight.

Picking back up on Saturday, an event-packed day begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 11 p.m. The festival wraps up on Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m.

Looming tall among the festival's attractions are street rides from Deggeller Attractions. The returning, Florida-based vendor is offering 19 rides and attractions this year — more than last year — according to Potato Festival Co-Chairman Tim Williams and Jody Cadwell, a vendor representative.

Among the returning favorites, they said, are the Super Shot, the Dragon Coaster, and the Zero Gravity ride.

Cadwell also said there are seven rides geared for small kids, including the Circus Train, Farm Tractor, the Crazy Bus, and the Puppy Spin.

Other rides include: the Scooter, the Crazy Chopper, the Starship, the Cliff Hanger, Vertigo, the Quad Runner, Tea Cups, the Jump Around, the Typhoon, the Magic Maze, the Yo-Yo, and the Haunted Mansion.

According to the Potato Festival website, rides cost two to five tickets to ride, and each ticket costs $1. Wristbands allowing unlimited rides during specific times will also be for sale.

Wristband times and prices are: Tonight, $20; Saturday matinee, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $15; Saturday all day, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., $25; and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., $20.

If rides aren't the right tempo for some festival-goers, there will be music and dancing aplenty, with main stage acts including the Hope Griffin Duo, James Ethan Clark, Byrum, and Erin Rae. A slew of other acts will be performing throughout the weekend, including Lovely World, PBNJ, Delta Son, Connected, and more.

There will also be a Saturday Night Street Dance, sponsored by Avangrid Renewables, Walmart, and Elizabeth City State University.

The festival's also got food and drink covered, with classic festival meals and desserts, plus free French fries starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the corner of Main and Poindexter streets. Beer gardens will also start at 6 p.m. Friday and then pick back up at noon on both Saturday and Sunday. The Potato Festival's website also stresses that, for alcohol purchasing, “no ID, no service.”

To learn more about the festival's offerings, including other vendors, the Little Miss Tater Tot, Potato Peeling and other contests, auto and tractor displays, a U.S. Coast Guard boat tour, and more, visit www.ncpotatofestival.com.