The Idaho Potato Commission can thank the New York City Police Department for drawing attention to a grandiose publicity stunt orchestrated on August 24th in the Big Apple.
The department issued a tongue-in-cheek all-points bulletin over the police radio advising officers to “be on the lookout for a big potato floating down the Hudson River.”
From that moment, IPC officials’ phones began ringing incessantly with the coveted national media inquiries they hoped to generate by floating their Idaho icon – the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck – past the Statue of Liberty on a barge pulled by a tugboat.
The 6 Ton replica Russet Burbank on a flat-bed truck has toured the country for the past five years to raise awareness of Idaho potatoes and drawing attention to IPC charitable donations in communities along its route.
The truck was on the water for several hours, photographed by onlookers from tour busses and ferry boats during its cruise. There were TV crews filming it from helicopters. “We’ve been picked up by all of the major media here, including the most popular radio station as well as the TV station here,” said IPC President and CEO, Frank Muir.
IPC began planning the event and securing the necessary permits about a year ago, moving the stunt to the water because of restrictions against semi-trucks on many Manhattan streets.
In conjunction with the spectacle on the Hudson, IPC also gave a New York City soup kitchen a voucher for 12,000 pounds of Idaho potatoes – roughly the equivalent to the serving size of the replica spud. Muir and his cohorts volunteered at the kitchen on August 25th, to help serve baked Idaho potatoes.
John-Harvard Reid, associate director of Holy Apostle Soup Kitchen said his kitchen serves 1,000 homeless guests every Monday through Friday, and hasn’t missed a meal, including during Hurricane Sandy.
“Getting a baked potato is like something you remember from home,” Reid said. “A lot of times when you’re homeless, you don’t get those comfort meals that make you feel like you’re home again.”
Way to go, Idaho Potato Commission! Eat more potatoes! Thank a farmer for this bounty!
If you’d like to read a related article in the New York Daily News, click HERE.
–Capital Press, Aug. 26, 2016