UND-Grand Cities fete a terrific tuber with a week of activities, including annual Potato Bowl USA parade


Kate Menzies

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UND-Grand Cities fete a terrific tuber with a week of activities, including annual Potato Bowl USA parade

The Red River Valley knows how to grow 'em ? potatoes that is.

This week kicks off the 49th Annual Potato Bowl USA celebration (Sept. 2-6), uniting the Grand Cities, the University of North Dakota and the regional potato industry for a week dedicated to spuds and school spirit.

The week features many events, including the world's largest French-fry feed courtesy of J.R. Simplot Co., as well as a community parade and UND Athletics home contests.

Potato Bowl USA is rooted in the history of UND and two Red River Valley communities: Grand Forks, of course; and Hoople, N.D. ? about 50 miles northwest of Grand Forks. It all started in 1965, when UND football coach Jerry Olson started taking his players on an annual "Hop to Hoople," to meet and dine with the locals there. Soon an annual parade and football game back in Grand Forks evolved around the football players' yearly pilgrimage to Hoople. The community of Hoople, also known as "Tater Town USA," started sponsoring its own floats in the parades. The Hoople floats proved popular, and many years, were judged to be the best of the parade.

This year's schedule:

Below is a breakdown of the Potato Bowl USA 2014 festivities:

Tuesday, Sept. 2

  • Hugo's Potato Bowl Golf Scramble ? Open to the public (call 218.773.3633 to register)
    • Registration ? 11 a.m.
    • Tee Time: Noon
    • Location: Valley Golf Course, East Grand Forks, Minn.
    • Fee: $95 (covers green fees, cart, dinner, Potato Bowl gift and golf prizes)

Wednesday, Sept. 3

  • Chip Giveaway ? Scheels All Sports, Columbia Mall (in conjunction with the find "Potato Bowl Pete" event)

All week Hugo's will sponsor a Potato Bowl Pete Contest. Be sure to like Hugo's and the Potato Bowl USA's Facebook pages for clues to find the eight hidden Petes at the various Potato Bowl USA events throughout the week. The eight people who are the first to find Potato Bowl Pete will win a qualifying $50 Hugo's gift card and a pair of tickets to UND's Potato Bowl USA Football game on Saturday, Sept. 6. Those eight qualifiers will get the chance to win the grand prize, free groceries for a year ($1,200 Hugo's gift card), in a fun contest at halftime of the Potato Bowl USA football game!

Thursday, Sept. 4

  • Baked Potato Bar ? served 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at all Hugo's locations
  • Chip Giveaway ? All Fransden Bank & Trust locations
  • French Fry Feed and Fireworks ? 4:30 p.m.-dusk
    • Meet UND football athletes and coaches
    • French Fry Eating Contest ? Sponsored by J.R. Simplot
    • Bigger and Better Fireworks Display sponsored by Rydell Auto Center at Memorial Stadium
    • Find Potato Bowl Pete Event

Friday, Sept. 5

  • Baked Potato Bar ? served 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at all Hugo's locations
  • UND Fan Luncheon ? serving begins at 11:30 a.m., and the program will start at noon at the Alerus Center
  • Get Wet and Run Wild! Hugo's Potato Bowl Half-Mile and One-Mile Races (Under age 14)
    • Registration begins at Choice Health and Fitness at 4 p.m., races start at 5:30 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. There will be a free swim for all racers and their families after the event. Find Potato Bowl Pete Event
  • UND Volleyball vs. South Dakota at 7 p.m., at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. This event will include a 2013 Big Sky Championship celebration

Saturday, Sept. 6

  • GF Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast ? 7:30-10:30 a.m., at Grand Forks Central High School
  • Sons of Norway Potato Pancake Breakfast ? 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 1401 9th Ave. S. in Grand Forks
  • KEM Shrine Potato Bowl Parade ? 10:30 a.m.
    • Route starts behind YMCA in Grand Forks, turning onto DeMers Avenue then heading east over the river into East Grand Forks, Minn. It ends after turning into the Riverwalk Centre parking lot at Fourth Street Northwest and DeMers. (Find Potato Bowl Pete Event)
  • Tailgating Party ? 2-6 p.m., in the Alerus Center parking lots. Get your free baked potato with all the toppings!
  • 49th Annual Potato Bowl Football Game ? 6 p.m., UND vs. Robert Morris University, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks

Kate Menzies University & Public Affairs student writer

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