Ebensburg shows the love for spuds

Annual PotatoFest marks 27th year

All eyes will be on spuds Saturday in Ebensburg, where officials are scheduled to host the annual PotatoFest.

In its 27th year, the annual festival is meant to celebrate Cambria County’s relationship with potatoes, said Danea Koss, Ebens­burg Borough’s Commu­nity Development director.

Cambria County, Koss said, is the second-largest potato producer in the state.

But the PotatoFest street festival doesn’t attract Cambria County natives alone.

“We have a lot of locals, and a lot of out-of-town­ers,” Koss said, explaining that this year’s festival has attracted vendors from as far away as Virginia and Tennessee.

Koss said local Police Chief Terry Wyland estimates that between 20,000 and 25,000 people attend the event each year. Last year, that number likely was closer to 30,000.

“Last year was probably our biggest year,” Koss said.

Koss attributed crowd growth to word-of-mouth promotion, as well as to organizers’ commitment to seeking out new musical performers and vendors each year.

According to a news release, more than 200 vendors — offering potato and other foods, crafts and artworks — are to set up this year.

Those vendors will be set up along borough roads that will be closed to traffic Saturday, Koss said.

Motorists will not be able to access Center Street between Lloyd and Craw­ford streets. High Street will be closed between Center and Julian streets.

The event is to begin at 9 a.m. and to end at 5:30 p.m., with live performances scheduled throughout the day.

Children also will be able to visit an area known as “Adventures in Spudland,” which is to feature an 18-foot slide, an obstacle course and a bounce house, as well as other entertainment.

An entire schedule of events is posted online at www.potatofest.com.

PotatoFest is free to at­tend, and shuttles to downtown Ebensburg are to run from Admiral Peary Vo-Tech, Penn Highlands Com­munity College, Ebens­­burg Mini Mall, the Cambria County Fairgrounds and Lake Rowena, organizers said.

Weather is a concern, especially with this year’s overly rainy summer, Koss said, but “it’s looking good right now,” she said Tues­day.

On Tuesday, the Na­tional Weather Service predicted mostly sunny skies for Satur­day with a high temperature of 62 in Ebens­burg.

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.