Deeply Rooted Traditions Are Aplenty at “Potato Days” in Barnesville

The celebration has happened continuously in the city since 1991

BARNESVILLE, Minn. — Over the years, Barnesville has cultivated a rich history with one important crop.

“This started in 1931, it took a few years off, and we brought it back in 1991, and we’re such a potato–rich area for farming, so it’s just a natural festival for us to have,” said Theresa Olson, the Festival Director for Potato Days.

Like potatoes in the soil, traditions at Potato Days are deep rooted.

One Barnesville woman has come to each celebration since 1991, and has pins to show it.

“I have Macular so it’s hard for me to do things now but I really enjoy watching what our people can do and more people come each year,” said Jeanette Just of Barnesville.

Others that are newer to the tradition love the camaraderie it creates.

“My favorite part of Potato Days is just meeting a lot of people and going around to all the booths and seeing what people have to offer,” said Jacob Brown of Barnesville.

One of the highlights of Potato Days is the Lefse Cook-Off. There, people wore personal traditions on their sleeves as they tried to make the best variation of the Norwegian dish.

“We’re just best friends, like forever and ever and ever, and when her mom passed away, she said I need to find someone to make lefse with her, and I said I know how to make lefse, so we’ll make it together,” said Amy Anderson, who won the Lefse Cook-Off with her friend, Eileen Geloff, who lives in Bismarck.

The bonds people develop go far beyond the spuds.

“These are about people coming together, people sharing, and families that travel back that haven’t been in Barnesville for a year and they come back for Potato Days. It’s really fun to share the laughter, hear the stories, and enjoy the moments that bring us all together,” said Pastor Chris Leach of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Barnesville.

The fun continues tomorrow with a Mashed Potato eating contest, a strongman competition, and a potato picking competition.

Categories: Community, Local News, Minnesota News