In the community

Tater Tots Festival kicks off Friday

ONTARIO – Ontario will celebrate the birth of Tater Tots at the third annual Tater Tots Festival on Friday, Sept. 15, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 16, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The event, hosted by Revitalize Ontario and other sponsors, will be in historic downtown Ontario on Depot Lane and Southwest Second Avenue.

According to Terry Dols, president of Revitalize Ontario, the festival will feature a car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The car show will feature custom-built classic cars and hot rods the first day and motorcycles the second day, said Dols.

Also, he said, organizers tapped the Latino community to showcase custom lowrider vehicles and got enough people involved to have those cars on display. 

He said there will be trophies for the top three best-in-show and special awards for the top 20 “cool rides.”

Dols said the festival would feature half a dozen musical acts throughout the two days, covering musical genres, from jazz to reggae to Latino-influenced bands.

“We’re trying to address all segments of the community,” Dols said.

In addition to the live music, the organizers will have a full-time deejay throughout both days of the event to “fill the void” between sets, according to Dols.

Dols said the festival would have around a dozen food trucks that the organizers have encouraged to modify their menus to include Tater Tot recipes so that there are plenty of variations of the potato morsels for festivalgoers to sample.

Along with the food trucks, the festival will have pop-up vendors, including for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

Additionally, Dols said the festival will feature a beer and wine garden both days, and organizers will check identification cards and issue wristbands for those 21 and over.

The Tater Tot, invented in Ontario by brothers Nephi and Golden Grigg, who founded Ore-Ida in 1952, continue to be made in Ontario as part of the JR Simplot Company, according to Dols.

This year, Dols said, one of the members of the Grigg family will have a booth set up at the event to help preserve the legacy of the invention of the Tater Tot.

Dols said that preserving the legacy of the Tater Tot is the festival’s purpose. The event reflects how meaningful the dish is to Ontario, he said.

“The Tater Tots Festival,” Dols said, “helps reinforce the legacy and the origin of tater tots in this community and how valuable the invention was.”

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