Celebrating potatoes by wrestling in them

by Austin Kaus on September 15, 2014 · 0 comments

Town celebrations are always a good time. An entire community comes together to bask in a collective sense of pride as their residents wrestle each other in a homemade vat of mashed potatoes.

O.K. Maybe that’s just what happens in Clark.

Each year, the northeastern town of Clark (pop. 1,068) celebrates Potato Days. The weekend-long celebration of the, in the town’s website’s own words, “favorite over-used, under-appreciated starch” features some of the more common celebration staples (parades, equipment shows, arts and crafts). More importantly, it has some tuber-centric events like recipe contests, mashed potato sculpting and, of course, mashed potato wrestling.

The goal of my Clark visit was to witness live potato wrestling and I did not leave disappointed. I strolled onto the baseball field at Dickinson Park (as with most small towns, I didn’t even bother with directions – “Drive until you find the cars” is my motto in situations like this) to find a live kickboxing demonstration happening 10 feet from where mashed potato insanity was soon to take place. The square ring was constructed of hay bales covered in a tarp and filled with instant mashed potatoes.

Before the bell could ring on the spud-soaked spectacle, a kickboxing demonstration kept the crowd entertained. In my first five minutes in Clark, I spied the aforementioned wrestling ring and watched someone kick a board in half…while blindfolded. Sometimes, you just know you’re going to have fun.

When the demonstration concluded, the wrestling began. A local announcer introduced the referee (a local well-known wrestler of the non-potato kind).

What happened next was giddy summer joy covered in mashed potatoes. Children and adults (never in the same match, of course) wrestled friends or family members while what seemed like most of the town cheered. Some matches were tame, but others featured aerial maneuvers and takedowns that would make fans of any style of wrestling clap their hands while wearing very large grins. Whether or not you want to wear potatoes is up to you.

WHY SHOULD I GO?: There’s a complete list of annual events listed here, but didn’t I already have you at “potato wrestling”?

WHEN IS NEXT YEAR’S EVENT: A 2015 date hasn’t been determined, but the above link will be updated once a date is set.

WHERE IS IT?: Dickinson Park is just north of Highway 212 on Kansas Street in Clark. Again, just look for all the cars.

WHAT DO I DO AFTER I POTATO WRESTLE?: You find a friendly fireman to wash you off.

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