With 12yrs of the Portage Potato festival behind us we thought this may be an ideal time to provide a bit of a history lesson on the festival, just so that everyone can see where the festival began and where it is at today. From what we know the idea of the festival came from a request that city council had made of the chamber of commerce. It seems that city council at the time felt that there was a need for a community festival to take place during the month of August as at that time the Strawberry Festival had ceased to exist. This is how the Potato Festival came to be, as for the name itself one can only assume that due to the Central Plains area being known for potatoes thing to do was name it the Portage Potato Festival.
In 2013 we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Portage Potato Festival which many didn’t think would happen as the organizing committee was getting a bit thin and needed a boost back in 2010. Three years later this group was able to not only keep the Festival going but put it in a financial position that would ensure that there was enough money in the bank to at least start up while sponsorship dollars came in. This took a lot of hard work and ferocious fundraising on their part.
Our 2014 organizing committee was named Citizen of the Year by the Portage & District Chamber of Commerce. Quite the proud moment for all of us. It was incredible to get that kind of recognition from our own Corporate Sponsors whose dollars we so rely on every year to make this Festival happen. It was validation that they recognized how hard we work to ensure that every dollar goes back into this community to provide an outstanding event for the citizens and visitors to Portage.
In 2015 we made the big decision to move the Festival over to Island Park. The park seems to provide the right amount of shelter from the elements as well as a great green space to host all our family oriented activities. At the same time we consolidated all our musical acts onto our Main Stage and hosted the beer gardens at the Ukrainian Bandstand with an event tent erected to provide shelter if necessary. What better way to showcase our Island Park to those visitors from outside Portage.
Things have changed a little over the years, the organizing committee itself has now evolved into 12-14 members, all who participate on a volunteer basis. There is not one paid position on this organizing committee and everyone does it as they are all community oriented people. To put it simply, these are people who live in this community and have a passion for it. We gain nothing out of this, other than the pride of knowing that we are able to keep this event alive for the citizens of Portage la Prairie and its surrounding communities.
If your interested in joining this organizing committee feel free to drop us a line via email at firstname.lastname@example.org