MONTE VISTA — The morning air was filled with a slight chill, with a reminder that fall, and the San Luis Valley’s annual potato harvest is upon us.
More than 500 people attended the annual SLV Potato Festival held in celebration of the harvest on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Chapman Park in Monte Vista. The festival kicked off with the 5K Tater Trot at 8 am. The Tater Trot had many potato obstacles involved making it fun for everyone that entered the event.
There was a large green bouncy house with a huge green inflated slide attached to it for children.
There was also a giant swing, where children and adults could attach a rope to their waists and bounce and swing at least 20 feet off the ground.
Members of the Early Iron Club were at the festival with their toy train ride that they bring to the festival every year. The ride is a favorite for parents and children alike. The ride is a series of what look like mini-toy cars attached to each other. It travels all over Chapman Park with children laughing and waving and smiling at everyone.
Phillip and Ashley Archuleta, of Monte Vista, said that their children really enjoy the ride every year.
“We come to the festival every year. Our kids love this little ride. Our daughters smile and think it's so much fun. Coming to the festival is definitely a tradition and we are so glad it's here again this year,” Ashley said.
There were vendors at the festival along with food trucks. New this year to the festival were the Circus Foundry performances. The performance acts consisted of a trapeze performance with two women, whirling and twirling on two ropes dangling from a trapeze bar. People watched the performance from chairs.
There were also floor performances by two women and two men who used hula hoops, jumping, and tumbling through them, along with dancing.
Ag tours were also part of the festival. People toured local potato farms.
People ate free baked potatoes and sat under the pavilion or on chairs with family and friends. Arlene Woodman and her husband Brandon enjoyed eating a plate of seasoned blue potato chips.
“I have never tried these blue potato chips but when I saw they were going to have them, I decided to try them,” Arelene said. “We love the fest. We come out and support the Valley and the farmers every year here at the festival. There is honestly so much to see and so much to do here at the festival. I couldn’t see our Valley without this. We always joke, too, you know summer is almost over when the potato fest is here, but we always come out, enjoy some baked potatoes and this year blue chips,” she said with a laugh, “and we enjoy the sun, while we still have it, and all the vendors. This is fun.”