SLV Potato Festival celebrates the annual harvest
Photos by Marie Mccolm The San Luis Valley Potato Festival was held on Saturday, Sept. 9, at Chapman Park in Monte Vista. Nearly 80 vendors were set up at the festival. The Potato Festival on Saturday, Sept. 9, in Monte Vista had three large bouncy houses for children. The Antique Iron Club had its colored train for people to ride in at the Potato Festival in Monte Vista on Saturday, Sept. 9.
MONTE VISTA — There was lots of excitement and hundreds of people at Chapman Park on Saturday Sept. 9, as the San Luis Valley held its annual harvest celebration with the Potato Festival.
The festival kicked off at 8 in the morning with one of the festival’s ever-popular Ag Tours. There were two tours this year, one at 8 a.m. and another at 1 p.m. The tours were to the Colorado State University San Luis Valley Research Center and to Martinez Farms. Attendees got to ask questions about potatoes, including how they are grown, what works best to grow them, vegetation time of potatoes, and in-depth questions about the grown cycle and life of potatoes. Experts on the tours gave lots of information.
The 5K Tater Trot also took place in the morning with lots of fun obstacles for everyone who entered. A Professional Chef Competition was held in the park during the day. The Mashed Potato Dunk Tank was set up in the park, and many people enjoyed dunking people in the gooey potato mixture.
There were also a total of 78 vendors at Chapman Park for the festival. There were numerous food trucks and people could be seen enjoying the food, socializing, and sitting for the chef demonstrations.
The Monte Vista High School basketball team, in conjunction with the Monte Vista Future Farmers of America, served a baked potato bar at the festival. According to Assistant Director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee Jessica Bradshaw, the potato bar opened at about 11 a.m., and served almost 600 potatoes before they were sold out by 1 p.m.
All over the park kids could be seen running and playing. There were a total of three giant bouncy houses in the park — one had a long green slide — and a giant swing that children and adults could attach around their waists and jump at least 20 feet in the air.
The Antique Iron Club had its colored train ride that they bring annually to the festival. Children could be seen laughing and smiling as they enjoyed a ride on the train across the park and on the walking path at the park.
There were also green and red tractors in the park along with a giant swather. Many vendors stated that they were having a good day and selling a lot at the festival.
The Rio Grande County 4-H Coordinator was at the festival with a booth, showing some youth a stem robotic program. Carlos Garcia was at the booth with his daughter Malori Garcia. Garcia was working on making a robotic hand out of some supplies that were given to her, a construction papered copy of her hand, along with some straws and string.
Malori Garcia said, “I have been having fun. There are so many fun activities to do here all day.”
Bradshaw said attendance was good for the festival.
“We feel this is a success. Overall, we feel this is probably the largest Potato Festival we have ever had, and very well attended,” she said. “We have had a steady flow of people all day long. Overall, I think the festival has gone really well. We are extremely thankful for all the support that we have had throughout the community; for all the community goers that have come to support us, for all the sponsorships. We are very thankful that we are able to provide a fun family friendly event for all the community, to celebrate not only our industry but our community as well.”