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If you saw some smoke coming from the grounds of the Centennial Village Museum on Saturday, there was no cause for alarm.
After a long two years, Potato Day returned to the museum with baked spuds, games, music and more.
Potato Day, hosted by Friends of Greeley Museums, began in 1987 as a way for the organization to help raise money for the City of Greeley Museums. To date, the group has donated more than $300,000 to the museums for educational programs and preservation projects.
Organizers canceled the popular event in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
Early Saturday morning, members of the organization and volunteers fired up a giant potato roaster and began baking of hundreds of potatoes for the fundraiser.
Built for the event, the roaster is used only one day a year, Potato Day Committee Chairman Nathaniel Johnson said. Depending on the size of the potatoes, the black steel baker can cook about 300-400 potatoes at a time.
Despite the drizzly weather, about 180 potato lovers had passed through the spud line within the first hour.
“You know, this is our first year back after two years of dealing with COVID, and I am happy with how it’s going,” Johnson said. “We have enough potatoes for 1,500 people, so we are well prepared.”
Volunteers parked under a large canopy welcomed guests, collecting their ticket and passing out piping hot potatoes wrapped in gleaming foil. From there, visitors made their way down the line loading up on butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon, onions and chives.
Ivy Dreher and her daughter, Lyla, were excited to return to the event.
Ivy has been coming since the inception of the event, and Lyla — whose favorite topping is bacon — has been a frequent attendee since she was born.
“We are so, so happy that it’s back. We really missed it,” Ivy Dreher said. “We eat potatoes all of the time. We love baked potatoes.”
One of the best parts about the event, aside from being loading up on carbs for a good cause, is that the spuds are grown locally and donated by Strohauer Farms in LaSalle. The farm has been providing potatoes for the event for the past six years.
The event also featured live music on two stages, a re-enactment by the Buffalo Soldiers, education about lace-making from the Rocky Mountain Lace Guild and visits with the museum’s farm animals.
The grounds of the museum were open, allowing visitors to tour the buildings and learn about the history of the museum as well as watch exhibitions in the garage and print shop.
If you missed Potato Day 2022, no worries. There are plenty more events the Greeley Museums have scheduled on their calendar.
For more information, go to www.greeleymuseums.com.
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