The Klamath Basin Potato Festival is a tradition that brings folks from all over the Klamath Basin to Merrill to celebrate the area’s most popular tuber. If you grew up in the rural Klamath Basin, the Potato Festival likely served as your social backdrop to the ag community. With the crowning of the Potato Festival Queen, the Spud Bowl football games, the Saturday parade followed by a free potato feed, it’s a tradition that we’re happy and proud to be a part of. And every year, the Potato Festival seems to get bigger. Bigger floats, more parade entries, food carts from around the area, the addition of Pop Warner football games, bed races and now a car show – there is almost literally something for everyone.
Against the backdrop of the Spud Festival, Gold Dust has created a few annual traditions of its own. One of those traditions is on the Friday of the Potato Festival, the Gold Dust Staff gets together for a potato lunch. This year, Jan Walker invited the office staff up to her home to dress up baked chipping potatoes (yes, you can bake ’em!) for lunch. From chili and cheese sauce to bacon and jalepeños and everything in between, everyone brought something to top their spud with. Not only was it a great way for the staff to get out of the office and hang out together, it was delicious!
Another tradition that has developed over the past couple of years is Bring Your Kid to Work day. Between Potato Festival Friday usually being a teacher’s in-service day and the afternoon of it being dedicated to working on the parade float, the office staff has been bringing their children to work to help out. This year was a little different than years past in that the kids were treated to tours of the packing shed as well as the cellars. “We’re always giving tours to other people and school children,” said Tricia Hill. “So this year, Lexi and I decided we should give the kids of the people who work here a tour so they can see what happens where their moms and dads work.” Out of everything the children saw, it seems the big pile of spuds and the plenum made the cellars a clear winner.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a Potato Festival without a float! This year, the festival’s theme was “Spud-Tacular”, and there were plenty of “spudtacular” entries. Gold Dust and Walker Brothers’ float was pulled by one of our International Express trucks and featured a balloon rainbow leading to a pot of golden chipping potatoes. A few Gold Dust and Walker Brothers folks showed up to help decorate the float Saturday morning, and their dedication nabbed us first place in the Commercial Division of the parade! Well done!
Before wrapping up this post, we’d like to give a big thanks to Jan Walker for putting on the potato feast in her home, as well as to the Gold Dust staff for planning and putting together the float. It turned out great, and thanks to your dedication we’re able to show our involvement in the community. See you all next Potato Festival!