Long Island Potato Festival returns to East End this summer

Last year's festival featured a spoon race. (Credit: Vera Chinese, file)

Last year’s festival featured a spoon race. (Credit: Vera Chinese, file)

Potato lovers, get your peelers ready.

After a successful first year, the Long Island Potato Festival will be returning to the East End on Aug. 9 at Calverton Links. 

Starch-enthusiasts and foodies alike are welcome to partake in the various contests, demonstrations and exhibitions. Some highlights of the day include the mashed potato sculpting contest, the best amateur potato salad contest, a potato peeling race, and of course, a mashed potato eating contest.

Long Island Potato Festival Event Manager Eric dos Reis is excited about everything the second year of the festival has to offer.

“Local farmers are bringing new and old equipment so attendees will be able to get a hands-on look into the deeper process behind potato farming,” dos Reis said. “We’re going to have free tastings of potato products as well, so everyone will be able to see potatoes from start-to-finish.”

SEE PHOTOS FROM LAST YEAR’S FESTIVAL

Demonstrations and seminars, such as an educational “How to Cook with Potatoes,” will give attendees a first-hand look at all the ways the starchy vegetable can be served. Kids are also welcome to participate in activities such as Hot Potato and potato sack races.

The event also stresses a more important trend in the realm of Long Island potato farming.

In the late 1940s, about 70,000 acres was dedicated to growing potatoes on Long Island, with more than 1,000 farmers producing an average of eight tons of potatoes per acre.

Today, only 2,500 acres of potatoes are being cultivated, some by members of the island’s original potato farming families.

The event will take place Aug. 9 at Calverton Links located at 149 Edwards Ave. in Calverton from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets for the festival can be purchased online at LIPotatoFest.com for $20 each. Tickets include admission to the festival plus access to all programs, live music, samples of potato products and free parking. Children 12 and under are admitted free, but should obtain a ticket via the event website. Food will be available to purchase from local food trucks and vendors, and a portion of proceeds will go toward the event’s charity partner, the Alzheimer’s Association.