Prepare for carb overload when the 3rd annual Long Island Potato Festival returns to the Long Island Sports Park in Calverton on Sunday, October 2nd.
"This is a great fall family event, we have activities planned for the kids including contests and games sure to make them smile," said Andy Calimano, owner of Starfish Junction - who produces the Festival.
A Mashed Potato Sculpting Contest contestant poses with his piece. (Photo: Karl Mischler)
The event pays homage to Long Island's time-honored history with the crop and all things potato by presenting foods trucks with spud centric dishes, over 30 exhibitors with potato decided products - like chips, French fries, potato au gratin grilled cheese, Belgian fries, loaded potato empanadas, beverages and more, seminars where attendees can learn more about the versatile crop, live music and more. The Potato Festival will also bring out a little friendly competition when it's time to compete in the special contests, which include an Amateur Potato Salad Competition, Mashed Potato Sculpting Contest, the Great Potato Peeling Race, and the popular Mashed Potato Eating Contest. Additionally, this year marks the inaugural Blindfolded Potato Head Building Race - a challenge that is bound to turn into a fan favorite. During the new event, competitors will search through Mr. Potato Head parts to find the ones that fit and then correctly attach them. While this may sound like a piece of cake, the twist is that participants won't be able to rely on their vision. Those who properly place the most pieces within three minutes will be deemed the winners. Advanced registration is highly recommended for all the contests.
Commercial potato production began on Long Island in the 1800's and Starfish Junction wanted to recognize the local farms and farmers that keep the trade alive. This year Peconic's Sang Lee Farms will join other local producers and offer attendees an array of different potatoes varieties to try.
And not only do potatoes taste delicious, they also have many health benefits - when eaten in moderation. According to the Empire State Potato Growers Association, potatoes contain antioxidants (including Vitamin C), they aid in maintaining normal blood pressure, are a good source of potassium and are 100 percent fat free.
The Great Potato Peeling Race is amusing to watch. (Photo: Karl Mischler)
In New York, 20,500 acres are used for potato crops, which ranks 13th in the nation. Nearly 5.2 million cwt are produced in New York, resulting in an industry that is valued at over $65 million.
Admission is $20 and includes entry to the potato sack races and contests, access to the seminars and Mr. Potato Head decorating, and more. The Long Island Potato Festival will be held on Sunday, October 2nd from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Long Island Sports Park is located at 149 Edwards Avenue in Calverton. For more information, visit www.lipotatofest.com.
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com