Celebrating the Spud

It’s starting to look like fall. My viburnum has changed from green to red in less than a week, the weather forecast is for cooler weather, and my daughter-in-law said she is starting to look forward to “the holiday season.”

                Most people think “the holiday season” begins the end of October with Halloween, includes Thanksgiving in November, and goes on through December with Christmas and New Years. But here in Shelley, Idaho, the holiday season begins earlier--on the third Saturday of September with Spud Day.

                Ah, Spud Day. Small town USA celebrating a carbohydrate rich vegetable. It is Americana at its best, a festival not to be missed. It involves a beauty pageant to crown “Miss Russett”, a parade where enough candy is thrown from floats that children can collect sufficient to last until Halloween, a 5K “Spud Run” for adults and a children’s race called the “Tator Trot.” Free baked potatoes with all the trimmings are handed out to anyone willing to wait in line. For those not willing, there are a plethora of food booths serving everything from
hamburgers to funnel cakes. There are children’s rides, games, vendor booths, and a free stage where entertainment goes on all afternoon long. And then there are the competitions: horseshoes, Frisbee golf, and spud picking, which harks back to the way potatoes were harvested before mechanization. The highlight comes late in the afternoon with the Spud Tug, a tug-of-war across a pit filled with mashed potatoes that have been prepared in a cement mixing truck. Someone always ends up in the pit, and that is always the picture that makes the front page of the newspaper.

                One of my daughters told me that when she moved away, she was surprised to find out that people outside of the Shelley area don’t celebrate Spud Day. They don’t even know about it. I was raised outside of this area, so this didn’t surprise me, but what does is how often I run into people who live right here who have never been to Spud Day. Really? That is like living in New York and never going to see the Statue of Liberty or living in Paris and never going to see the Eiffel tower. Yes, I know I could probably find New Yorkers who haven’t been to the Statue of Liberty and Parisians who have never been to the Eiffel tower, but that doesn’t make it right!

                So, don’t forget—third Saturday in September (which right now is in two days.) There will be a baked potato with your name on it.



  1. What a fun celebration. I would come just for the baked potatoes with all the fixings!

  2. What a fun celebration. I would come just for the baked potatoes with all the fixings!


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