First Person: Take a bite out of PotatoFest this weekend
Look no further than downtown Rhinelander this Labor Day weekend. The second annual PotatoFest begins with live music at the main tent, and a fish fry Friday night at Trig’s Green Space. Friday events aren’t the only additions to this year’s festivities. We caught up with Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. (DRI) Executive Director Maggie Steffen for a last minute update.
Buyers’ Guide: Why did PotatoFest organizers decide to add another evening and new events to the schedule?
Maggie Steffen: We added the “Rhinelander Reunion Jam” Friday night for two reasons. First of all, we had the tent and the space set up, so why not use it? And secondly, it gives people who are perhaps busy on Saturday a taste of PotatoFest (pun intended) and to maybe make plans to spend more time next year.
BG: In addition to Friday night, what else is new this year?
MS: It has always been our goal, our plan to invite outside organizations to be involved by starting their own activity at PotatoFest. This year, Rhinelander Basketball Association is running a 3-on-3 tournament for players grade three to adult; the YMCA is once again running the Couch Potato Race. These organizations keep all of the profits from their events. New this year is the Duck Regatta, where yellow ducks are dumped into the Wisconsin River, and the first several ducks to the finish line win cash. Ducks are on sale – only $5 each. We’re also thrilled to have the new Wisconsin Spudmobile this year, which is a 40’ RV converted into a traveling potato museum, complete with hands-on exhibits sponsored by Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.
BG: How did your partnership with Tri-County Council Lily’s House develop?
MS: The idea for PotatoFest came about following survey results that we received telling us that people and business owners wanted the DRI to bring an event to downtown, and more specifically to focus on a ‘signature’ type event. Turns out, the concept had been brought up years ago by Shellie Holmes, who is now associated with Tri-County Council on Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault. We talked with her and decided a partnership with Lily’s House would be appropriate. A percentage of our food and beverage sales benefits Lily’s House, so be sure and visit our booth!
BG: Where can readers find more information?
MS: We have a complete schedule of events at our website, downtownrhinelander.com, or call the DRI office, 715-362-7374.