Holy potato! GIANT spud shows up at Portland Fred Meyer

Holy potato! GIANT spud shows up at Portland Fred Meyer
A giant potato showed up at the Johnson Creek Fred Meyer store on Southeast 82nd Avenue on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Photo by Shannon L. Cheesman, KATU.com Producer/Reporter.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Heads were turning when a giant potato rolled into town on Wednesday and stopped at a local Fred Meyer store.

The spud, which made a stop at the Johnson Creek Fred Meyer store on Southeast 82nd Avenue, has been touring the United States since April as part of the Idaho Potato Commission's 75th anniversary, and to raise funds and awareness for Meals on Wheels.

At 28 feet long, 12 feet wide and 11.5 feet tall, the potato draws a lot of attention and folks couldn't help but stop to see it close up, touch it and snap photos.

Of course, the big question is whether it's real or not. Some are convinced it is and others not so much.

So what's the answer?

Well we hate to ruin it for you, but it's not a real potato. That would just be crazy, right?

Spectator Ron Ellis admitted he was kind of hoping it was real. He saw a mention of it on the news Wednesday morning and made a trip to the store to see it in person.

"When they described it on TV, I thought it was real but I can tell it's not now," he said with a smile.

If the potato were real...

  • It would have had to have grown for 10,000 years.
  • It would be 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, which weighed 11 pounds.
  • It would take 2 years and 9 months to bake.
  • You would be able to make 30,325 servings of mashed potatoes with it.
  • Or you could make 1.4 million french fries!

(Fun facts courtesy of the Idaho Potato Commission)

Even though it's not a real spud, that doesn't stop the folks who travel with it from having a little fun with people.

"Sometimes I tell them it has a heartbeat and I make them go put their ear up to it," said Ellis Nanney, one of the guys in the truck that we talked to.

And of course the kids' reactions to the giant potato are priceless.

"Vegetables have never been so exciting," Nanney said with a laugh.

The potato also gets a whole lot of attention when it's on the road traveling from place to place.

"People are honking, waving and yelling questions to us because they're so confused," Nanney said. "And they're taking pictures with their cell phones."

The potato was only at the Fred Meyer store for a few hours and will be heading back to Idaho for a two-week break. Then it's off to California for the next leg of the tour.

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