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The tractor pull is always a favorite at the North Branford Potato & Corn Festival, which returns Friday to Sunday, Aug. 3 to 5. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound | Buy This Photo)
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For 2018, the 17th annual North Branford Potato & Corn Festival (PoCo) promises some new and some favorite activities when it returns Friday to Sunday, Aug. 3 to 5.
What started in 2002 as a small one-day event designed to celebrate the agricultural communities of Northford and North Branford has developed into a full-fledged, three-day festival that draws thousands of visitors each year according to Coordinator Jennifer McCulloch.
“Over the past 17 years, it has grown to a three-day event—with a brief foray into adding Thursday night—that draws 25,000 people over the weekend,” she said. “We now have more than two dozen food vendors and a craft and business expo that features locally handmade items, local businesses, and non-profits promoting their causes. We’ve got quite a few returning vendors in both areas, but new vendors have also joined in, adding new tastes and new products.”
Traditional favorites are returning this year including the cornhole tournament, the car & motorcycle show, rides, games, live entertainment, tractor pulls, and a fireworks show. McCulloch said there are also several new additions to the festival this year for people to come and enjoy including a photography exhibit, a talent showcase, and a beer and wine garden with tastings to highlight some of the local wineries and breweries in the area.
“There are lots of new additions this year that we’re very excited about and they mainly focus on showcasing local talent on many levels,” she said. “In addition, we are also bringing in Nature Nick’s Animal Adventures, which will put on three animal shows on Sunday, Aug. 5; donkey rides by Tripledale Farm on Saturday and Sunday; and an RC [radio-controlled] aerial show by East Coast Swamp Flyers RC Club.”
With everything that has been added to the festival over the years, one thing still stays the same: free admission.
“One thing everyone loves about PoCo—besides the food—is that it’s always free admission and we offer free shuttles from the high school and community center lots,” McCulloch said. “There is entertainment throughout the weekend for people to enjoy as well as free contests and games. We celebrate our residents on Sunday with free parking and $20 ride wristbands with their town IDs. We really try to keep it a fun, affordable, family-friendly event. I love walking around and seeing friends and family getting together, catching up, and taking time out of crazy schedules to enjoy a fun community atmosphere.”
McCulloch said the festival is always a lot of fun and there is lots to see, but the concept of the festival itself is special, too.
“There are so many people that make the festival possible, from the town employees to sponsors to vendors to our amazing volunteers,” she said. “I couldn’t do my job without all of their support. It’s truly special to see how hard everyone works to make this a success and the pride they take not only in the PoCo Fest but in the community as a whole. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
The North Branford Potato & Corn Festival is Friday to Sunday, Aug. 3 to 5. For information, visit www.nbpotatofest.com or like “North Branford Potato & Corn Festival” on Facebook.
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