Ontario, Oregon—Birthplace of the Tater Tot—Is Hosting a Tot Fest

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bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images / bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

The simple tater tot is so ubiquitous that it's hard to imagine a time when it wasn't a diner menu staple. But the seemingly divine existence of crunchy, golden-brown nuggets of grated potato was actually the invention of two men from Ontario, Oregon. Now, the Malheur Enterprise reports that the birthplace of the tater tot will host a festival in the starchy side dish's honor.

Brothers Nephi and Golden Grigg invented the tater tot shortly after founding the frozen food processing company Ore-Ida in 1952. The idea was born out of resourcefulness: Making French fries left them with a lot of leftover potato scraps, and instead of throwing them out, they decided to chop them up, season them, and mold them into bite-sized pieces. After consulting a thesaurus, they dubbed their creation the tater tot.

Four years after going public in 1961, Ore-Ida was purchased by Heinz, and today tater tots rank right up there with potato chips and French fries on the list of beloved fried potato products. In celebration of the tiny snack's huge impact, the organization Revitalize Ontario is putting together a tater tot festival for 2020.

The event will feature games, food vendors, and a Ferris wheel, plus a few special carnival attractions that are specific to the starring foodstuff. Guests will get to watch a tater tot-eating contest and a tater tot-themed play written by local children. Before the fair ends, a tater tot festival king and queen will be crowned.

The festival will be officially announced at the Malheur County Fair in August. The city of Ontario recently awarded a $3800 grant to the event to be used for marketing materials, including T-shirts and 10,000 pencils with the tater tot festival logo.

[h/t Malheur Enterprise]