It’s going to take a dedicated group of people to ensure that an idea planted some time ago comes full circle and grows to bring about a full harvest later this year in Outlook.
That idea is to host the community’s first-ever Potato Festival, a celebration of the stalwart and starchy tuber that is grown so rampantly in the local produce sector. Similar to the Harvest Festival thrown in September 2017 by the Outlook & District Chamber of Commerce, the event would put a spotlight on the area’s agricultural roots and hopefully bring the community together for a day and evening of fellowship and fun, and of course, a laundry list of foods and even some games where potatoes are obviously the star attraction.
It’s believed that such an event would effectively replace the Harvest Festival, which required a lot of work from a tight-knit group of people who perhaps gave up far more of their time and effort than they should have. The hope is that a new batch of volunteers within the community will step up and help bring this new vision to life.
Donna Smith, a councillor with the Town of Outlook, noted in an email to this reporter that the ‘seed’ of an idea to organize such an event that highlights something so well-known in the community came about a few years ago by a former resident. In her view, it’s time to celebrate one of the things that helps drive the local economy in Outlook.
“We need to celebrate one of the things that makes our community great,” said Donna. “That seed sprouted, and I hope in 2020 we will be able to celebrate the ‘potato’. Other communities have festivals surrounding food. In 2018, Riverhurst celebrated their 1st Annual Bean Festival.”
In brainstorming sessions with town recreation director Jordy Jones, Smith says there are a lot of ideas for fun games and events that could be held during the festival. Some of those ideas include:
- A potato pancake breakfast
- Potato sack races
- Potato peeling contest
- Potato bowling
- A potato gun competition
- Celebration of all things in potato form; fries, mashed, baked, poutine, chips, scalloped, perogies, lefse, dumplings, gnocchi, etc.
- A possible ham and scalloped potato supper that evening
As well, Smith says there could also be an entertainment stage all day or possibly just in the evening, and it would be a great opportunity to have Outlook’s local potato growers in attendance to show off their product varieties and maybe even display some of the different machinery that’s required for their growing operations.
It certainly sounds like a fun and unique event on paper, but it all starts with getting people on board who will help steer the ship.
“We will need sponsors and many volunteers,” said Smith. “But first we need people who are prepared to sit on this committee, and we need to talk to the producers so we can determine when the best time is to hold this festival. When I asked Mrs. Google for potato festivals, I found many to get ideas from. Most were a multiple day festival, but for now I think we should start with a one-day festival.”
If you’re someone whose interested in seeing Outlook’s first-ever Potato Festival come to fruition, you may want to attend an informational meeting that Smith has called for this coming Monday night.
“If we don’t get support from the producers or people to help organize the event, our potato seed will not produce,” said Donna. “If you are a producer or want to help in any way, please call or text me at 306-867-3254. I will be at SUMA convention February 3, 4 and 5. I’d like to strike the committee and have a short meeting on February 10 at the Town Hall Complex at 7:00 PM in the court room.”