Tater Tots nestled in a basket are a popular part of a meal – and one of the inspirations for a new local festival. (The Enterprise/File) 

ONTARIO - The folks in charge of the 2020 Tater Tot Festival are anticipating the town to swell with Tater Tot enthusiasm, and are seeking volunteers.

Revitalize Ontario will be enrolling volunteers at the Four Rivers Cultural Center on Saturday, Feb. 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The festival will take place in Ontario on Friday, Sept. 18, and Saturday, Sept. 19, and will honor the Grigg brothers, Nephi and Golden, the founders of the frozen food processing company Ore-Ida and the inventors of the internationally famous crunchy potato snack, the Tater Tot.

On Saturday, prospective volunteers will have the chance to browse the various jobs available, and to choose what they want to participate in.

Volunteers will receive a free Tater Tot shirt on the day of the festival.

Charlotte Fugate, president of Revitalize Ontario, said that the organization is anticipating around 6,000 people to come to the festival, which means they will need a lot of volunteers.

Fugate said there will be a need to help set up, and get the town ready for the influx of festival goers.

There will also be a need to help pick up garbage and to run the various booths.

There are 150 vendors expected to set up shop at the festival, Fugate said.

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Fugate said that the festival is still in the planning stage, and in addition to lining up all of the entertainment, organizers are designing a map so people perusing the booths at the festival don’t get lost. 

There will be a headliner performer each day, Fugate said, and there will be lots of local talent.

A play is currently being written, and will be performed by local children, depicting the story behind the invention of the Tater Tot.

Fugate said the organizers are also working on a Tater Tot cooking competition, which will include two divisions for amateur and professional cooks.

Judges will select finalists from each group, and fairgoers will have the opportunity to sample and vote on the best dishes.

A Tater Tot eating contest is also slated, and anybody can sign up for a chance to gobble Tots on stage, but only one will emerge victorious.

There will also be a beer garden to help wash down the Tater Tots, as well as a special zone where children can play while their parents engage in Tater Tot revelry. Fugate said that the Tater Tot themed art competition is on, but the organization is still deciding what it will entail.

“We want everybody to have a good time and a lot of fun, and we want to honor the Grigg brothers,” Fugate said.

Fugate added the festival will also serve as a tribute to entrepreneurship, and as a reminder that anybody can come up with good ideas and become successful.

News tip? Contact reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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