54th Annual Potato Bowl USA fest serves up French fries, football , fun and fireworks

Parade route makes return to University Avenue prior to big UND football rematch at Alerus Center

Every year about this time, the epicenter of the potato-growing world is the Grand Cities and the Potato Bowl USA festival.

The 54th Annual Potato Bowl celebration kicks off Monday with a week’s worth of events, culminating with the big football game at 4 p.m., Saturday, when the UND Fighting Hawks will take on the Bearkats of Sam Houston State of Texas.

The Bearkats will be seeking revenge on Saturday, as last year, the Hawks flew down to Huntsville, Texas, and pulled the upset over the highly ranked opponent.

For a more detailed look at what’s going on this week, including the world’s largest French Fry Feed in University Park and the Potato Bowl USA Parade’s return to University Avenue, check out the 54th Annual Potato Bowl USA website .

Some events are weather dependent, so stay tuned to University and other local media for updates.

BRIEF HISTORY OF POTATO BOWL – On Sept. 24, 1966, the very first Potato Bowl football game was played at Memorial Stadium and was billed as a battle between two of the largest potato growing regions in the United States (Idaho and the Red River Valley).   The idea of creating a week of festivities to celebrate potatoes and football was the brainchild of UND Athletic Director Len Marti, UND Head Football Coach Marv “Whitey” Helling, Assistant Football Coach Jerry Olson and Sports Information Director Lee Bohnet. In that first game in 1966, the UND Fighting Sioux thumped Idaho State 41-0.  UND is 40-13 in its first 53 Potato Bowl games.