Being called a potato head is not exactly something people generally take kindly to.
But a decorated potato resembling Costa Georgiadis’ head delighted the ABC gardening celebrity at Crookwell’s eighth potato festival on Saturday.
Costa was on hand to take part in cooking demonstrations at the annual event in the NSW Southern Tablelands, facilitate a kid’s workshop, open a community garden, and gear up the crowd during a potato auction.
A potato resembling the cheeky gardener was on display in the main pavilion at Crookwell Oval. Dressed by primary school student Owen Moorby, it included a pointy orange hat, wool for Costa’s trademark beard, and coffee beans for his eyes.
Happily holding the item while posing for photos, Costa darted around looking at other potatoes various Crookwell school children had entered into a competition run by the local Country Women’s Association.
“These are unreal,” he said.
The Association’s Lilian Marshall said a best-dressed potato competition was held each year, with a special category introduced in 2018 to acknowledge Costa’s presence. Irish Ambassador to Australia, Brendan O Caollai, had the honour of judging it.
Meanwhile, an auction to raise funds for the Upper Lachlan Foundation and the festival’s committee saw a top bid of $2100 for four kilograms of Andean Sunrise potatoes.
The potatoes were ‘the first hand dug of the season’, fourth generation farmer Garry Kadwell pointed out. Asked how he preferred his potatoes to be cooked, he took a little while to decide before declaring, ‘good chips in clean oil’ were the best.
Third generation farmer Kim Weir, who grows Sebago and Almera varieties of potatoes, is one of a handful of farmers who produce a tonne of spuds for the festival each year. Within two hours of opening on Saturday, the large wooden crate in which they were stored was nearly empty.
“We ask for a gold coin donation,” Kim said in between handing people blue plastic bags full of the vegetable.
Aside from potatoes, the festival also gives local producers an opportunity to showcase Crookwell’s wool, beef, lamb, honey, olive oil, alpacas and fine wines. Live music, around 100 market stalls and hot jacket potatoes with fillings including sour cream, cheese, bacon and pineapple, were perfect winter warmers.
Also, check out this video of Andrew Warren, Event Manager for Crookwell’s annual potato festival, who took time out from the event to discuss a brief history of potato farming in the Southern Tablelands region, why his town holds an annual festival dedicated to the humble spud, and what the festival involves.
*This article first appeared on RiotACT