From sweet potato salad and iced tea to mashed potato pie, one crop was king Sunday at the Second Annual Long Island Potato Festival, in Calverton.
It was a “spudtacular” day as the crowds came early and stayed late at the former Calverton Links golf course, where the event was held for the first time. Organizers estimated about 2,000 in attendance this year, compared to 1,800 when it was held at the former Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue last year.
“We got a lot more people coming out this year,” said event organizer Andy Calamato. “It’s definitely more then we had this time last year.”
Fans of the potato got to compete in all kinds of activities and competitions including a homemade potato salad contest, potato sack races, potato spoon races, a mashed potato sculpting competition, a potato-peeling competition and, of course, the mashed potato eating contest.
Patricia Noren of Ronkonkoma was the winner of the homemade potato salad contest with her sweet potato salad, while Patrick Taylor of Levittown won the mashed potato eating contest.
“We have a great turnout,” said event manager Eric Dos Reis. “Plus we’ve got lots of products for people to try like sweet potato iced tea, veggie dip and chips, the Long Island Pie Company made a pie with mashed potato in it and peas, to name a few.”
“As a local, I’m happy about the turnout, it’s a lovely day, the place is filling up nicely,” said Michael Aruda of Calverton.
“It’s a great family event,” said Charles Siracusa. “We’re from Staten Island, but we have family in West Babylon and they told us to come and we’re having a great time.”
Today’s event benefited the Alzheimer’s Association and KiDS NEED MoRE.