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Staff Photo by Thomas J. TurneyGriffin Elsperman, 2, tries to make his way through a rolling tunnel at the Hofbrahaus at the Potato Festival, Friday. The festival in downtown Elizabeth City continues today and Sunday, with excellent weather forecast.

Staff Photo by Thomas J. TurneyGriffin Elsperman, 2, tries to make his way through a rolling tunnel at the Hofbrahaus at the Potato Festival, Friday. The festival in downtown Elizabeth City continues today and Sunday, with excellent weather forecast.

Enjoy the festival, be ready for street closures

From staff reports

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Big street festivals bring a lot of fun, but also temporary road closures and detours.

Today, the following streets will be closed until the end of the festival Sunday evening:

• Ehringhaus Street between Water and McMorrine streets and between Colonial Avenue and Shepard Street;

• Church Street at the entrance to The Daily Advance parking lot; Fearing Street from Water to Poindexter streets; Main Street from Road to Water streets; Poindexter Street from Colonial Avenue to Fearing Street; and Martin Luther King Boulevard from Colonial Avenue to Fearing Street.

The Potato Festival is scheduled to end Sunday at 5 p.m. Streets will not be completely reopened until all vendors have left the streets. Ehringhaus Street will likely not reopen until early Monday.

Meanwhile, today’s weather should be just about perfect, with a sunny sky and afternoon high near 72, according to The National Weather Service.

Tonight will be partly cloudy, with a low around 54 and light west wind.

Sunday will see a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m., and be mostly cloudy, with a high near 70. Northwest wind will be 5 to 10 mph becoming northeast in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.

Sunday night, there will be a chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11 p.m, then a chance of showers between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Rides at the festival will cost $1.25 each, and people can purchase wristbands allowing unlimited rides on Sunday only for $25.

Potatoes will obviously be featured at this weekend’s festival, most prominently in the form of the free french fries that will be given away to festival-goers today. The potatoes will be used during today’s potato-peeling contest.

While local potato grower George Wood Farms is donating the potatoes used for the french fries and peeling contest, none were grown locally, organizers said. That’s because the local potato growing season doesn’t coincide with the time of year the Potato Festival is held.

Statewide, he said North Carolina’s potato industry doesn’t compare to potato powerhouses like Maine and Idaho. However, he said their potato output tends to drop in summer months, during which North Carolina helps make up the difference.

The Potato Association, based in Elizabeth City, is joining the festival, running a booth outside the Museum of the Albemarle.

For a complete schedule of festival events, go to www.ncpotatofestival.com.

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