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Pasadena's 18-foot fork gets visit from six-ton Idaho 'potato'

October 16, 2012 |  1:35 pm

Pas-1021-potato-3

Big potatoPasadena’s 18-foot fork finally has food to match its massive scale.

Drivers heading toward the median that splits Saint John and Pasadena avenues have likely gotten used to the giant wooden utensil stuck in the road. But Tuesday afternoon, they were also greeted by a six-ton Idaho potato.

The Idaho Potato Commission is celebrating its 75th year by taking what they've dubbed the world's largest spud on a 36-state road trip, said Kaiti Frickey, part of the “Tater Team” that has been carting the potato around for more than six months.

“We’ve had a crowd all day since we got here at 11 a.m.,” Frickey said. "We’re basically potato baby sitters."

The potato commission kicked off the road trip with a $100,000 donation to Meals on Wheels and are accepting donations for the charity at each stop, Frickey said. Using a bright red truck and trailer, the Tater Team has had no trouble zipping down freeways with their giant spud chained down.   

Philip Coombes, who is an original member of Pasadena’s “Fork in the Road Gang,” helped coordinate the potato’s stop in Pasadena as a fun way to help raise awareness of his own “Put a Fork in Hunger” food drive Nov. 10 and 11. Last year, he said the drive raised more than five tons of food that fed people in Pasadena's Central Park on Thanksgiving Day.

“The potato weighs six tons, and we’ve got to bring in least that much this year,” Coombes said.

Frickey said the spud will remain near the fork on the 200 block of Bellefontaine Street until 6 p.m. Tuesday and is headed for the Farmers Market at 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue this weekend.   

But hungry onlookers beware: The giant potato is made of a steel frame, plywood, sculpting foam and concrete. Frickey said a real tater of this size would have taken more than 10,000 years to grow.

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— Matt Stevens

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Photos: A giant potato is parked on the 200 block of Bellafontaine Street in Pasadena on Tuesday. The spud is parked at the Fork in the Road installation to bring notice to the upcoming Stick a Fork in Hunger Food Drive for Union Station Homeless Services in November. Credit: Raul Roa/Times Community News.

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