The State That Hosts An Annual French Fry Festival

Obviously, the state that hosts an annual French fry festival is Idaho, right? Turns out it is not! It is actually North Dakota. According to In Your State, the J.R. Simplot Company hosts the "world's largest French fry feed" annually in Grand Forks during Potato Bowl USA. Simplot is a food and agribusiness that makes over 100 types of French fries (Buffalo Battered Julienne, Krunchie Battered Wedges, Sour Cream and Chive Wedges, and the like) for commercial kitchens (via Simplot Foods).

Potato Bowl USA started in 1966 when a football game between the University of North Dakota and Idaho State University (We knew Idaho was involved somehow!) was billed as a "battle between two of the largest potato-growing regions in the United States" (via Potatobowl). Now the event is commemorated with a week-long celebration with family-friendly events focusing on the University of North Dakota and the Red River Valley Potato growing industry (via Facebook). Sounds like a tailgate made in tuber heaven! The festival was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, but let's hope it makes a hot and tasty comeback.

What to expect at Potato Bowl USA

First and foremost, there are free French fries at this festival. (How much does it cost to fly to North Dakota in September?) In order to make enough fries to feed the masses, Simplot brings in a machine that "produces fries by the ton." In the past, they have "served over 8,000 pounds of French fries" at this shindig (via In Your State). Of course, there are also free condiments. And, if freebie fries and complimentary ketchup don't work you up into a FOMO frenzy, there are plenty of other goings-on at this tater fest.

In years past, Potato Bowl USA has provided a lot of fun activities to get involved in; there's usually a parade, a concert, a golf scramble, a kids' run, and even fireworks. But for those who want to take their love of spuds to the next level, they host a French fry-eating contest. (We've been working our whole lives up to this!) The benchmarks for this contest are pretty intimidating, though. In 2017, Benny Irvine ate over a pound of French fries in three minutes (via Facebook). So, maybe we're not cut out for French fry-eating royalty (just yet).