The Potato Bowl is here

The Potato Bowl is here In the days leading up to the 51st annual Potato Bowl, a week long celebration of the Red River Valley’s economy boosting potato crop, there has been growing anticipation among UND students and the surrounding community alike for one of the highlights of the Grand Forks fall season.

“All the activities and prizes sound really exciting and the free food, all college students need free food,” freshman Brody Graff said.

Since its initiation in 1966 and UND’s 41-0 defeat of Idaho State University, two of the largest Potato-producing regions in the country, the Bowl has only grown in popularity.

“The Potato Bowl is a great event for Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, and the surrounding communities. I always look forward to the Thursday night french fry feed. It’s great to see all the people and children in the park on Thursday night and we always strive to break the french fry feed world record,”

Potato Bowl Chairman Todd Phelps said. Yesterday marked the start of the early weekend and main Potato Bowl festivities. A baked potato bar will be available at all Hugo’s locations from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m, chip giveaways and Plinko games will also be ongoing before the start of the renowned french fry feed at 4:30 p.m.

The feed will continue until dusk, with fireworks at dusk around University Park and Memorial Stadium. Live entertainment, inflatables, a rock climbing wall, french fry eating competition and giveaways for children will all be set up for the evening as well.

Today the celebration will continue, starting with a fan luncheon at the Alerus Center at 11:30 a.m., a “Get Wet and Run Wild” run for children age 14 and younger at Choice Health and Fitness with races starting at 5:30 p.m. followed by street concerts and dances.

Putting together all the daily entertainment involves an effort from more than just one or any select few.

“Potato Bowl week is really a team effort of all committee members, the University of North Dakota Athletic Department, and the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association,” Phelps said.

Activities kicked off earlier this week on Tuesday with Hugo’s Potato Bowl Plinko, followed by a golf scramble Wednesday at the Valley Golf Course which included door prizes for top performers and green fees, cart and dinner for all participants.

Also on Saturday is the celebrated Kem Shrine Potato Bowl parade, starting at 10:30 a.m. This year, participants will march through DeMers Avenue, appeasing safety concerns many had about last year’s route through University Avenue.

“The Potato Bowl is tradition. Anything I can do to keep something like this going and to make it bigger I’m all for. As a Kem Shrine, we are involved in a lot of Parades throughout the country, but we look forward to this one the most, performing in front of our hometown and the huge crowd,” Potato Bowl parade Chairman Ryan Scott said.

Over the past week athletes on the football team have been seen around campus handing out tickets for Saturday’s game. Kickoff will be at 4 p.m. when the Fighting Hawks will face off against the University of South Dakota. It’s the spirit of the week and the unity of the team, though, that makes the Potato Bowl special for many.

“It brings us together by being able to support a local team — our team now. It’s something I’ve been hearing a lot about and I can’t wait to go for the first time,” freshman Abbie Morlock said.

Declan Hoffman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]