Spuds will be in the spotlight on the March Labour Day long weekend when thousands are expected to gather for the Thorpdale Potato Festival. More than 8000 people flocked to the last festival which is held every two years in honour of the humble staple of the Aussie dinner table. This year all activities will be covered by the gate entry so visitors won’t have to keep putting their hands into their pockets to enjoy the entertainment. Festival treasurer and third-generation Thorpdale spud farmer Matt Steendam said local spuds should be in fine form in March for mid-potato season. “Potatoes are the basis for the town, as well as sheep and cattle. This generates jobs and there are lots of economic benefits that come out of the potato industry for Thorpdale,” Mr Steendan said. “The festival is an education about the industry, what we are doing, how we grow them. We are focussing on having an agricultural basis so people can learn.” Mr Steendam said the festival will be an affordable and quality day out for families with a laid back country feel. All manner of spud-themed activities will be on offer, including cooking demonstrations, the spud run challenge, spud throwing and mashed potato eating competitions, and heritage spud varieties. There will also be helicopter rides, animal nursery, TC Trickz motor cross shows, wood chopping displays and the Victorian Yard Utility Farm Dog Association sheep dog trials. Mr Steendam said the festival has been a mainstay for the town and a major fundraiser for community organisations, such as the local hall, schools, sports clubs and the CFA. “It brings the town together and it’s a main generator for community groups, and it’s something to help celebrate Thorpdale’s main industry,” he said. The Thorpdale Potato Festival will be held at the Thorpdale Recreation Reserve on March 10. Gates will open at 9.30am. or more information, visit thorpdalepotatofestival.com.au.