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Giant spud makes it to U.S. capital

WASHINGTON – The Idaho Potato Commission is celebrating its 75th anniversary in a big way, traveling the country with a six-ton spud made of steel and foam on a 48-foot-long flatbed trailer.

Kaiti Frickey, one of four tour ambassadors on the seven-month journey, called the giant potato a chance to remind the public of “just how amazing Idaho potatoes are.”

On Tuesday, it arrived in Washington, D.C., to serve as a backdrop as Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, along with Frank Muir, president of the Idaho Potato Commission, presented a check for $100,000 to the Meals On Wheels Association of America.

“We are rolling the largest ‘meal on wheels’ across America to raise the awareness and funds for Meals On Wheels, which provides over 1 million meals daily to home-bound seniors,” Muir said.

Enid Borden, president of Meals On Wheels, thanked the commission and two senators on behalf of millions of seniors helped by the program: “This money helps to feed seniors who’d otherwise go hungry.”

Despite the rain, this big tater still attracted crowds on the National Mall, where Monique Johns, visiting from Meridian, Idaho, was surprised to come across the huge potato again, two months after seeing it in her hometown.

“The potato is really symbolic of Idaho; I think it’s really cool that they send it around,” Johns said.

Potatoes are important to Idaho, Risch said. In Idaho they generate more than $4 billion in revenue annually and employ more than 30,000 people, and, he added, “there’s no better potato anywhere in America.”