It all starts Thursday evening with the crowning of the Potato Festival Queen at Lost River High School. Judges will choose from a bevy of lovely young ladies, representing high schools from all over the basin.
On Friday, enjoy exhibits such as the biggest, strangest and most uniform potatoes, vegetables and fruit. There will be food contests, floral design, kid’s contests and quilting. People may submit photography, drawings, paintings, etc. Umpqua Bank will be giving away 400 to 500 baked potatoes, with all the toppings. We will have a gospel show straight out of Nashville with Jim Sheldon, (The Positive Cowboy) and Bev McCann and Don McCloud. The Spud Bowl will be played later that evening with the participating teams still pending.
Saturday is the big day beginning with the 5K Spud Run starting at 8:00 A.M. Pop Warner football will be played all day long. There will be 50 to 60 vendors open for business and the parade starts at 11:00. Following the parade will be a free BBQ. The Merrill Lion’s Club will serve delicious BBQ beef, baked potatoes and all the fixings to some 1500 to 2000 festival goers. There will be bed races, a beer garden, live music in the Civic Center and on the outdoor stage. Don’t miss The Friends of Merrill museum, located inside the Civic Center.
The South Slough Trail and Treat is an inexpensive race ($15) near Charleston/Coos Bay at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve Interpretive Center (October 15, 2016). I have grown to love the South Oregon Coast over the last year, and this looks like a great race to check out. The course is described as having:
Technical trails, boardwalks, hills (300’ change in elevation). Run where the river meets the sea, along vast tidal flats, extensive marshes and meandering channels.
The event begins at 945am (allowing for runners from the valley to make it down without having to wake up sooooo early. There will be a themed medal and post-race Rick Krispie treat after the event, as well as a free lunch with local tunes afterwards. There will be a few South Slough T-Shirts that can be purchased independently at the Interpretive Center.
Proceeds from the event go to the Friends of South Slough Reserve, Inc., an non-profit that helps fund internships and education. Check out the race on Facebook.