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Potato Days event set for this weekend in Barnesville, M.N.

BARNESVILLE, Minn. — The cash crop of this small town will be celebrated this week. Roasted, actually. And baked, fried, mashed and carved. But most importantly, the potato will be thoroughly enjoyed.

Barnesville’s Potato Days is one of the premiere food festivals in the country and properly celebrates the versatility of the terrific tuber.

Like most civic events, Potato Days has its share of old auto shows, street dances, dunking tanks, kiddie parades, rides and family activities spread out Friday and Saturday.

What makes Barnesville’s annual celebration stand out is the starch.

The spud was featured in the national lefse cook-off from and a potato cook-off in Hildebrand Hall. A french fry feed added an extra sizzle to Friday’s lineup.

Today kicks off with a potato pancake breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. The spud will power visitors through the day with a potato soup feed from noon to 4 p.m., and a mashed potato eating contest from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Sometimes it’s fun to play with your food, and Barnesville is happy to oblige. The mashed potato wrestling was a highlight of the festival Friday at Assumption Church.

The fun carries over to today with a potato-picking contest at 9:30 p.m., followed by a potato scramble at 10:45, both in the potato field. A potato sack fashion show runs from 11 a.m. to noon.

Adults get into it with the Sew and Stack Competition in which two-person teams stitch and pile 10 100-pound bags of potatoes.

A potato peeling contest from 1 to 2 p.m. is followed by a mashed potato sculpture contest from 3 to 4 p.m.

The day will end with a street dance at 9 p.m., with a performance by the band FUSE.