Small-town charm runs rampant at the Manhattan Potato Festival. Manhattan has been around since the mid-1800s and is a town that has been home to a diverse range of ranchers and farmers. An earthquake in 1925 destroyed many of the town’s original buildings, so the main drag has a distinct 1920s feel. Old US 10 passes right through Main Street, and there’s a whole lot of quaintness to check out. Immigrants from the Netherlands arrived in the Gallatin Valley in the 1800s, ready to grow barley for nearby malters, and the agricultural industry grew from there. Today, one of the town’s most important industries is in growing seed potatoes, which brings us to present day with the annual Potato Festival. Held each year in August, this day of spuds is one you’ll want to check out. Just down the road from Three Forks, Manhattan makes an interesting stop, especially for the festivities to celebrate the food that brought us French Fries! Here are all the details to know before you go.
Annual Fireman’s Breakfast
The annual Fireman’s Breakfast helps support the Manhattan Volunteer Fire Department and kicks off the festival with the most important meal of the day. Prices are $5 for kids 5 to 11, and $8 for ages 12 and up. The best part is, you know your dollars are going to a worthy cause or the pancakes. You decide for yourself; both are pretty good!
Live Music All Day at the Gazebo
The gazebo in town at Railroad Park will host local artists all day for sweet afternoon hours filled with music and fun. Stretch out on the grass to enjoy a great time under the Big Sky. Strumming notes meeting the sunlit sky couldn’t be any better!
Baked Potatoes at the Senior Center
It wouldn’t be a potato festival without plenty of potatoes to sink your teeth into. You can pick up baked potatoes at the senior center in town—right across from the gazebo. Just be sure to load them up with all the fixings. There will be even more food to sample as you work your way around the festivities. Just be sure to save room, because on this day there’s no such thing as too many potatoes.
Any festival that will pass muster, normally requires a parade to really amp up the excitement. The Potato Festival does not disappoint with the Potato Parade. Find plenty of quirk and charm while the floats make their way through town. You don’t have to worry about a traffic jam, though, since parking and shuttles to the festival are free. You’ll see plenty of spuds featured, along with floats from local organizations and community members.
All Sorts of Activities
See the classic car show, and enjoy scoping out the glamourous rides on display. A raffle makes a fun addition to the day, with plenty of prizes you’ll be excited to take home. Plus, there are vendors, crafts, food, a 5K run, friendly competitions and a children’s area that will keep the kiddos entertained all day. That’s all along with potatoes in every form under the sun to celebrate Manhattan’s seed potato heritage.
Festival Street Dance
You’ll be dancing in the streets before the day is done. This year, Manhattan local favorite Mark Longie and the Western Skies will be there to get your toes tapping from 8:00pm to midnight. Get ready to shake it, celebrating summer and spudsk.
For more information about the Manhattan Potato Festival, click here and go to their website.
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