A year ago, Dylan Cline hosted a dinner party. On the TV was a documentary about New York's famous New Year's Eve ball drop. It gave Cline an idea: What about lowering a giant potato over Boise’s downtown next New Year's?
His guests laughed at him.
“They were like, 'that’s a fun idea but if it could be done, it would have been done.' So, I took that as a challenge.”
Cline, who is a fourth generation Idahoan, worked to make tonight’s Idaho Potato Drop happen. The city of Boise got on board, and Cline called the most qualified giant potato makers in Idaho - Sharolyn and Chris Schofield, of Weiser.
They made the 12,000-pound potato that travels the country on a semi for the Idaho Potato Commission. Now they’ve finished their second potato, one bigger than a Subaru Outback.
The potato is made of high-density foam. The Schofields then sculpted and scratched the foam until it looks like a potato straight out of the dirt. The potato is so big the Schofields had to paint it in an auto body shop. They said they’ve worked 18-hour days to get the potato done in time for New Year's.
Sharolyn said “We didn’t plan on building produce, but it’s kind of fun.”
Cline said the potato cost $10,000. Then there’s the cost for the bands, heated tents, light show, confetti canons, fire dancers, and a magician.
“To level with you and be honest, I’ve put most of this on my shoulders and I’ve financed this free community event all myself,” Cline said.
He is getting some help though through donations. So far, the crowd-funding site Grotato has raised more than $21,000 with a goal of $30,000. The money will go toward downtown Boise’s New Year's Eve celebration.
Cline said the Potato Drop is about giving Boise a free event and celebrating the potato, too. Tonight’s event starts at 7:30 in downtown Boise. The potato will be lowered from a crane off the U.S. Bank building at 11:59 p.m.
Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio