The City of Summersville is partnering with the Summersville Convention and Business Bureau to host the 44th annual Nicholas County Potato Festival Sept. 6 and 7.
The Nicholas County Potato Festival started in 1969 as an effort to promote the 200 acres of potato farming being done in Nicholas County in those early days.
“Potatoes were the most popular product of the region,” festival chairman Marianne Taylor said. “It’s what Nicholas County was known for. We’ve just continued that history and continued to celebrate the agricultural aspect of potato farming.”
The celebration includes a variety of events that not only celebrate the county’s history, but also give visitors a chance to experience the town and its people.
“We always invite outsiders to come into our community because Summersville is a beautiful little town with a lot of friendly people,“ Taylor said. “I think it’s important for our community to have such a festival, where everyone can get together and have fun and celebrate. There are also a lot of craft vendors and a lot of good food.”
The opening ceremony of the festival will start at 5:30 Friday evening.
The first event of the festival is the Pet Pageant and will feature pet owners leading their pets across the stage and being given an opportunity to do tricks and be great. Registration for the Pet Pageant begins at 5:30 with the full pageant starting at 6. Winners will be chosen in several categories: “Spud Stud,” the most handsome pet; “Special Spud,” the most unusual pet; “Funny Fry,” the goofiest pet; “Sweet Potato,” the sweetest pet; “Grand Champion,” for the best of the show; “Terrific Tater,” for the best trick; and “Spiffy Spud,” for the best costume. Pet treats and other prizes will be awarded to the winners.
A Tater-Tot Eating Contest is set for 6:30 p.m. and the winners will receive cash prizes.
Also at 6:30 will be the Cornhole Competition, which will have a registration fee of $15 and will be a double elimination tournament.
A Street Dance with DJ Brian Nabors will take place on Main Street from 7 to 11 p.m.
Also at 7 p.m., is the Mashed Potato Eating Contest, which offers a cash prize and the Potato Decorating Contest. For the decorating contest, all potato displays must be delivered to the Nicholas County Court House Lawn by 7 p.m.
The festival continues Saturday with the Farmer’s Market starting the day at 7:30 a.m. The Farmer’s Market will be at the Rich Station on Main Street.
The Touch of Class Car Club will have its annual car show at 8 a.m. in the BB&T Parking Lot on Main Street. A tractor show will also be on display.
The annual 5k Spud Run/Walk will start registering racers at 8 a.m. at the Summersville Baptist Church Family Life Center. There is a $20 fee to register. The race kicks off at 9 and the 5k Walk starts at 9:05. The Tater Tot Trot will begin at 9:10 a.m.
The Potato Exhibit and Auction will start around 9 a.m. Participants should bring their exhibits to Church Street between 8 and 9 a.m. After the judging is finished, the Summersville Lions Club will auction the exhibits, with half of the money being awarded to the exhibitor and the other half being kept by the Lions Club for sight conservation.
For the kids, a Spud Hunt will take place on the Midget Football Field below Old Main Street, at 10 a.m. and will be immediately followed by a Potato Sack Race at 10:30 a.m.
The Grand Parade is set for 2 p.m. in downtown Summersville and will begin with the Firefighters and First Responders Parade.
The Potato Idol Talent Search starts at 4 p.m. on the Courthouse Lawn Center Stage. There are three age categories to compete in: Five through 10, 11 through 16, and 17 and up. Performers should be at the Courthouse Lawn Center Stage by 3:15 p.m. There will be a brief rehearsal at 3:20 p.m. and the contest will start at 4. The grand winner, selected from the first place winners in each category, will perform at 6:30 on the Courthouse Lawn Center Stage. The grand winner will also receive $100 and the opportunity to record a CD of the song of their choice with Monty Price Sound and Music.
A Hot Wing Eating Contest with cash prizes will take place at 5 p.m.
Edsel the Clown and Magician will perform a magic show on the courthouse lawn stage at 5:30. He will also be doing balloon twisting throughout the day for children.
Singer Josh Proctor will be taking the stage at 7 p.m. and will open for country music singer, Chase Likens, who was recently a Top 24 Finalist on American Idol Season 11.
For more information about the festival and its events, visit http://www.nicholascountypotatofestival.com or call 866-716-0448.